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Email Campaign Management: Learn From Macau Luxury Hotels

  |  September 23, 2011   |  Comments   |  

Tips to improve open rates for your newsletters and promotional campaigns.

The tourism industry in Macau has sprouted dramatically in the past 10 years. Over six major international groups have opened the highest standards of luxurious facilities such as giant entertainment complex, casinos, and gaming resorts throughout Macau. With rising competition and challenges, local and global hotel groups in the city attempt to win consumer loyalty, keep them engaged, and ultimately gain money from them.

We share with you our experience working with some of the luxurious hotel chains in Macau on winning tactics and best practices to improve open rates for electronic direct mail (eDM) campaign management and optimisation.

Feed your VIPs the most relevant offers in newsletter and promotional eDMs.

Despite having a robust customer lifecycle management system, marketers may still find it challenging to maintain overseas and local consumers' loyalty or seek upsell and cross-sell opportunities to win against competitors because most of them lack comprehensive analysis in customer behaviour and preferences through observing clicks in eDMs. Clicks do not lie.

Here's how to improve your eDM performance:

1. Develop detailed classification toward customers' preferences.

Better research on recipients' preferences and understanding different target audiences who actively respond could effectively boost open and click-through rates.

From our observation in the first few rounds of campaigns, targeting attractive seasonal and festival offers are generally more popular and drive significantly higher open rates. Mainland male visitors are more eager to read brand descriptions of selected high-end products. Gaming-related eDMs have risen dramatically in popularity among them as well. However, they show little interest in spa and concert shows of Western singers. Comparatively, Mainland female visitors and frequent hotel stayers are relatively interested in the latest F&B services and special accommodation packages.

For local Macau residents, open rates are remarkably high in eDMs that include entertainment, food and beverage offers. For Hong Kong visitors, clicks will be relatively high in eDM promotions with exclusive rates and holiday planners welcome early bird offers.

Some readers are only interested in F&B offers and they will sometimes ignore eDMs that introduce hotel accommodation promotions. However, it doesn't mean they will never read them. Marketers have to come up with some tactics to create readers' anticipation such as tailor-made newsletters to facilitate readability. Various sets of eDM template designs and customising content in banners and messages are highly suggested for specific clusters of customers. Delivery time: For special accommodation offers, we highly suggest the most appropriate delivery time is from Monday to Wednesday morning and afternoon since customers usually plan their holidays and reserve bookings early in the week.

2. Work smart to solve language barriers by observing the 'clicks'. Marketers are often frustrated by the continuous low open and click-through rates in monthly newsletter campaigns. However, they frequently ignore the preferred languages of recipients. Consequently, readers will naturally skip eDMs in foreign languages from time to time.

The option for language preference (traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese and English) is sometimes missing in the customer database. The language was normally defaulted to the local language and open rates were dissatisfactory in the first few rounds of enewsletter campaigns.

Setting up a language conversion button in the eDM might solve the issue. Once recipients click another version, it will represent their various first languages. Mostly importantly, we found over 30 percent increase in open rates after shifting to the correct target language and providing targeted eDMs to customers.

Language button

3. A/B test step by step: optimise performance According to a 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report from MarketingSherpa, only 39 percent of organisations or corporations routinely test their email campaigns to optimise performance. We highly suggest marketers who have not established this best practice to prepare long-standing A/B tests to improve their email marketing strategy. This could be done by examining the impact of different subject lines (phrasing and length), content in greeting messages, time and day of rolling out eDM, personalisation, segmentation by gender, salary groups, age, and customer types.

In fact, there is no model answer but we have taught you the skills and now you have to figure out by yourself. Targeted communications is always critical to the success of close customer relationship. Wish you all luck!


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Francis Kwok

Francis Kwok is the founder and CEO of Radica Systems. Radica has become a leading e-marketing solution provider in six markets in Asia Pacific under his leadership. He has worked closely with Chanel, Mercedes-Benz, Global Sources, CTrip, BenQ China, Li Ning Company, and others, and works to enable enterprises to develop highly effective e-marketing campaigns with advanced personalisation technology.

With numerous experiences in the domain, Francis is also a regular author and guest speaker in Asia. Currently, Francis holds an executive position at the Hong Kong Association of Interactive Marketing. He is also a council member of iProA (Internet Professional Association) and a business adviser of SUCCESS of Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department.

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