Old-Fashioned Hospitality, In a Very Modern Way

Laura McHenry | Marketing Director
Little-known fact: Travelodge opened its first hotel in Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire (population: 4,225).  If you’re planning a visit, we’d thoroughly recommend the National Forest Llama Treks. But that’s because we love a llama.

That was way back in 1985, when email marketing was, well, still waiting for email…

Since then, Travelodge has grown to more than 500 hotels across the nation, with enough bedrooms to accommodate the population of Barton-under-Needwood ten times over. Let that sink in for a moment.

Right, onward.

Once upon a time, that first Travelodge would take care of each customer in a personal way. The staff would suggest where to eat, what to see, and whether you had any special interests they could cater for (llamas, for instance) to make you feel welcome and pampered every step of the way. It’s something called ‘customer service’, and it matters a lot.

But when companies grow, maintaining the same level of care, attention and personal service can become a challenge. Other hotel groups might have shrugged and lowered standards in the pursuit of profit, but not Travelodge, which understands that customer loyalty is the path to long-term success.

To this end, Travelodge approached us with the challenge of enhancing the customer experience at scale in order to increase revenue without pestering customers.

Making your guests feel welcome (before they’ve even arrived)

After research into the customer journey, we identified an opportunity in the gap between booking and arriving. Seasoned travellers know to book hotel rooms as early as possible, in order to find the best rooms at the most competitive price. However, this can create a lengthy gap between booking the stay and arriving at the hotel.

This gap – the ‘Booking Excitement to Experience Chasm’ as we’ve (literally just) coined it – presented the chance for some tailored email communications that we felt could unlock some additional benefits. And so it turned out.

Forgive us for getting all highfalutin, but as Roman philosophers used to say, in medio stat virtus, or “the best is in the middle”. Too many emails? Bad. No communication at all? Equally bad, a lost opportunity to show how much a hotel cares about its guests. What about few emails, and making each of them count? What about filling them with useful and personalised content, like weather predictions and activity suggestions based on the guest’s profile?

Well, we did it and it’s working marvellously for Travelodge, as you can read in our case study. Without wishing to jump to the punchline but we just can’t help ourselves so we’re going to do it anyway, Travelodge saw a 370% uplift in revenue per email in a year.

Should’ve said, ‘spoiler alert!’ (Too late? Sorry.)


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