Some of my favourite and most dangerous emails are from Hotels.com.

Favourite for reasons I will explain. Dangerous because the offers are too tempting!

I’m usually not a fan of companies that send as many emails as Hotels.com – because some travel companies send a LOT – but Hotels.com has well and truly sucked me in with its email strategy.

Read on to find out more, but you might also be interested in Econsultancy's email marketing training courses.

Email subject lines

Hotels.com does a lot right when it comes to email subject lines. They’re short, snappy and tempting.

I’d say I open about 90% of these emails, even when I can’t afford or am not planning a trip away.

They’re often in the form of questions, or directly mention a huge discount or holiday destination.

hotels.com subject line

Special offers

We all know by now that there are certain sites that always have some kind of sale.

Sites like Hotels.com and Booking.com thrive because of their offers, and because of the deals they can provide.

10% hotels.com coupon

I feel like I’ve become ‘immune’ to the offers emailed to me by a lot of retailers, simply because I know that any time I want something, there will be a deal or an offer on it somewhere. 

So what is it about the Hotels.com offers and vouchers that get me?

They feel relevant. They feel timely. They’re just the right amount of pushy.

10% hotels.com happy new year

Calls to action

Every email has a clear purpose. There aren’t four or five different options crammed into each email. 

Call-to-action buttons are always simple, often like the one below in one block colour with clear typography. 

50% hotels.com sale

Customer service (phone and email)

Booking confirmation emails are clear and informative. I like this banner at the top of the email confirming that it has been booked and all payments have been processed.

It gives peace of mind that everything is sorted. 

There are then the three very clear calls to action below it: ‘manage booking’ (which is very easy to do), ‘print receipt’, or ‘book again’, and I like the simple icons beside each option.

hotels.com booking guaranteed

What I then haven’t screenshotted - as it contained a lot of personal information on a future booking – is the huge amount of other information included.

There’s a picture, address details and contact details of where I’m going, a map of how to get there, my booking type, room type and exactly what’s included in said booking, and all of the facilities available at the hotel.

A few days before the booking, you’re then sent an email reminding you of all of this, wishing you a pleasant stay, and including weather forecasts and links out to other things you could do in the area.

It’s a service that makes me feel very ‘looked after’, and the few times I’ve rung either hotels.com or the hotel directly, everything has been very smooth and sorted quickly.

Rewards scheme and subscriber-only special prices

When a company’s promise revolves around low prices, it’s tempting to have those prices dropped even lower to encourage customer loyalty.

I’m regularly reminded by Hotels.com that as a member I get access to even more deals and offers.

The ‘your secret price’ badge, as pictured below, is very clear on the site and stands out when scrolling through hotel options.

Again, the red call-to-action button is clear and bold against the white background, with the red creating a sense of urgency.

hotels.com members secret prices

And who doesn’t love a reward? I wanted to include this screenshot because I’m excited about the fact I’ve almost earned my free night away!

After you’ve had your hotel stay, your account is credited with a reward night, and after 10 stays, your next hotel night is free.

It’s satisfying watching these little boxes switch to dark purple and knowing you can pick your night away. The choice of hotels you can claim as your reward is huge, and it really can be a luxurious stay. 

hotels.com rewards nights

Round-up

So to conclude, what is it about emails from Hotels.com that keep me booking and returning for more? 

  • Its email subject lines are short and clear.
  • Emails have a clearly defined purpose.
  • The offers within the emails are tempting.
  • They’re personalised, and relevant to trips I have browsed and taken in the past.
  • Once a booking has been made, the process is clear and simple.
  • Call-to-action buttons are clear, tempting, and always lead to the page you’d expect them to.
  • Members are reminded that they’re being treated and earning rewards for their loyalty.
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Published 13 January, 2016 by Sophie Hawker

Sophie is a Research Analyst at Econsultancy.

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