Your guests’ email address is a prized asset.
It gives you control of the guest experience enabling you to put your brand at the forefront of your communication. Whilst that’s simple for direct bookings (and Google bookings) it’s not so simple for OTA bookings.
All OTAs now mask or hide guest emails. This creates a barrier often forcing hotels to communicate with their guests via the OTA, as well diluting your brand it can also be frustrating. You have lost control of what your guest sees. It is probably one of the key factors in the higher cancellation rates we see on OTA bookings (some OTA bookings are 2 times as likely to cancel when compared to direct bookings). Additional impacts are reduced loyalty and lower review completion rates.
Capturing your guests’ direct emails isn’t easy, you want to do it in a friendly, unintrusive way that engenders trust and is easy for guests to understand and do.
Here are some of your options for email capture (on OTA bookings) :
|When||How||Level of difficulty|
|Before arrival||Ask guests directly for email||Difficult – some guests will ask why?|
|Before arrival||Digital registration||Easy – all guests know they need to register|
|Before arrival||In a Guest App||Easy – guests complete as part of App access|
|On arrival||Paper registration||Difficult – manual double entry, possible errors|
|During Stay||In a Guest App||Easy – guests use auto complete on mobile|
|After Stay||–||Not possible – OTAs can stop messages after stay|
It’s clear here that in certain places (in App), and at certain points, it’s quite natural for the guest to provide their email. There are tools available that facilitate email capture, things like Guest Messaging and Guest Apps. The best tools actively collect direct emails and then switch over subsequent communication to use direct emails. That’s not surprising because these tools are focused on the whole guest experience of which communication is a core part.
Summed up in one line (a bit of a long line!):
Communicating directly with all your guests, including OTA bookings, using your own messaging system is good for your direct bookings because it promotes you, rather than the OTA, and gives you full control of the message.