Revinate's Support team wanted to share some common mistakes and tricks to take into account when setting up and testing your confirmation emails.
1) Using the prebuilt "All Reachable People" Segment
Revinate has a pre-built "All reachable people" segment and we often see our customers using this as their target segment for confirmation and other transactional emails. It makes sense to think that this is the segment to use if you want everybody to get a confirmation email. This segment has the criteria of "Email Subscription Status is not Unsubscribed" which means that anybody who is unsubscribed, will not get this email. Even though confirmation emails are transactional and will go out regardless of subscription status, the use of this segment filters out anybody who is unsubscribed from being considered in the campaign send. If you want to use a wide reaching segment, Revinate suggests you create a segment that simply has "Email Address is not blank."
2) Using "Rate Code is" and "Rate Code is not" improperly
A very common scenario for hotels when they have multiple confirmation emails is that they want one version to go to a certain rate code and another to go to the rest of the rate codes. Unfortunately many hotels end up using the "Rate Code Is" segment for both versions (in this example). They set up Campaign A to go to Rate Code AAA. They then set up Campaign B to go to Rate Code BBB, CCC, DDD, and EEE.
What can be problematic with this setup is that when they eventually add new rate codes, they have to go into Campaign B's segmentation and manually add these rate codes. A better segment to use for Campaign B is to say "Rate Code is NOT AAA." This way, as new rate codes are added, they will still fall into the segmentation rules for Campaign B.
3) Using [ACTUAL CHECKIN DATE] & [ACTUAL CHECKOUT DATE] merge tags
We strongly suggest using [CHECKIN DATE] & [CHECKOUT DATE] as your merge tags in confirmation emails. The "actual guest checkin date" is the date that the guest actually checked in, which doesn't happen until the day of check in. Unfortunately, if you use the [ACTUAL CHECKIN DATE] merge tag before the guest has actually checked in, it will display the day before the checkin date.
4) Not Utilizing Dynamic Content to display different content
A very common scenario that hotels run into when setting up their confirmation emails is the issue of different cancellation policies depending on the rate that the guest booked. Instead of creating multiple versions of the confirmation email to account for different cancellation policies in the disclaimer, we encourage our customers to utilize dynamic content modules so that you can display different text for different rate codes. Not only does this keep your campaign list more organized, but it will also result in much less work when you have to make changes to the campaign. Here's a link to our detailed help desk guide on how to use Revinate's A/B Testing feature.
5) Not Testing with real reservations to validate data
Hotels should test their confirmation emails to make sure that the right data (especially when it comes to room rate/revenue) displays in their emails. You can test this on your own by turning on your confirmation emails (but segmenting so that you only target email addresses from your hotel domain) and making real reservations. You should examine your emails in your inbox for accuracy and to make sure the right version is sent (if you're using dynamic content modules).