Transactional email consists of Confirmation, Modification, and Cancelation emails. They are triggered based on guest events such as a new reservation being made in your property management system (PMS) or a change to an existing reservation (i.e. a check-in date changing) or a reservation being cancelled.
Revinate has the ability to send transactional emails depending on your hotel's PMS, in this article we aim to explain the process of setting up transactional emails and advise on things to be aware of/discuss when working with your Implementation Manager.
Transactional emails are an add on feature available to Marketing users and need to be contracted with our Sales Team. During the Sales process the Sales Manager will request a copy of your current confirmation email so our technical teams can give feedback on which fields can be supported in Revinate confirmation emails. If you have specific requirements (i.e. varying cancellation policies based on rate codes, or if you would like group reservations to receive a confirmation, etc.) you should raise this in the sales process so we provide complete feedback on all of your requirements. It is also important to note that the ability to display certain data points are PMS dependent, this is why we vett your existing confirmation before providing a contract.
Once the contract is signed and the Implementation fee is paid, the hotel will be assigned an Implementation Manager to work with you. The implementation time for transactional emails is two weeks. If you are including them in your initial Revinate Marketing setup, this will increase your implementation time from 45 days to 60 days. You will work with your Implementation Manager during this time to set up, test and launch the transactional campaigns; this timeline requires that the hotel stays on track and is responsive to the Implementation Manager’s instructions.
When you have an idea of what is required for your hotel, you can start building transactional email templates. You can start creating these campaigns before your PMS integration is complete, but testing will begin once the live connection is established. We recommend creating and testing your confirmation email first in a single language, then once ready you can use this to create modification and cancellation emails and implement in other language versions easily. This article explains how to create confirmation emails.
Once your integration is completed, you will need to ‘translate’ all of your room type codes (required) and rate codes (optional) into ‘guest friendly’ names (i.e. DK should be translated to Deluxe King Room). In this article we explain how to do this.
As soon as Revinate is receiving data from your PMS, you can send a few recent confirmation numbers to your Implementation Manager. They will use these confirmation numbers to send you an email with the data fields (i.e. guest name, check-in and out date, room type, rate, etc.) we are getting from your PMS that can be pulled into transactional emails as merge tags. Provide your Implementation Manager with a few different types of reservations (different rate codes, room types and varying length of stay) so you can check that what we are receiving from the PMS is accurate. Here is an article with best practice information on merge tags, but note that some merge tags are PMS specific. Pay special attention to Rate, Tax, and Fees lines to ensure you select the right merge tags in your email templates. If Revinate is not receiving the correct tax and fee information we can set up overarching taxes and fees to be added to all confirmations from within your account settings. Please see the last section of this article for basic information on taxes within account settings.
Now you can test your transactional emails. Build a test segment with the condition “email address domain = @hoteldomain.com (i.e. avertinehotel.com). You will then enable your confirmation email using that test segment and make a few test reservations in the future using your email address. The campaign will be live, but will only send confirmations to newly created reservations made with the hotel domain. Alternatively, you can test using your Arrivals Report as follows:
- Click into your Arrivals Report
- Select any stay that has not been checked in
- Click “Send Confirmation Email” under “Next Stay”
- Choose appropriate confirmation email
- Enter your email address and click ‘+’ icon and hit “send”
*You will receive a copy of this email but the guest will not receive an email. Please ensure the values listed in this email are consistent with the values listed in your PMS for this stay.
Once you have built your emails, translated the room types, and tested the merge tags you can enable your campaigns. There are few steps to this process.
- Build a segment for your Confirmation emails. Create a new segment using the condition of “Email address is not blank.” If you need certain rate or market codes to receive different confirmation emails (i.e. with different policies noted) you will need to build separate segments and be sure to exclude guests from the default transactional segment. This will ensure that a guest does not receive duplicate emails. If you have seasonal confirmations or specific policies for a particular room type, please highlight this to your Implementation Manager and they will suggest ways to segment appropriately for the hotel's needs. The Modification emails will go to the same segments as the Confirmation emails.
TIP 1: Do not use the “All Reachable People” segment as this is filtering out guests that have unsubscribed and transactional emails should, by definition, go to guests regardless of their subscription status.
TIP 2: Guests who have booked via an OTA will receive an email confirmation from the OTA. We suggest that you exclude OTA rate codes, market codes, and source codes from your transactional email segment.
- Select triggers for the Modification emails. We suggest using the following triggers: check-in date, check-out date, and Room Type Charge Code.
- Build a segment for your Cancelation emails. Create a new segment using the condition of “Email address is not blank.”
- Turn your transactional emails on. Please coordinate this with your Implementation Manager, so a “cutover date” is added to ensure we only send confirmation emails to guests moving forward. To turn the campaign on follow these steps:
- Click "Edit" on each campaign which takes you to the "Review" page.
- Be sure that the correct segment is attached to the corresponding campaign.
- Click "Schedule now" to allow it to begin sending based on the segmentation and scheduling parameters.
Now that your transactional emails are set up, you can relax knowing that your guests are receiving the information they need regarding their upcoming stay.
Here are a few resources and things to keep in mind once you have finalized and turned on your transactional emails.
- Resend Confirmation Emails - How to resend a transactional email to a guest or a third-party booker. Be sure to give your Reservations and Front Desk team at least staff level access to the Revinate platform so they can resend emails as needed.
- Viewing Transactional Emails - You can view the exact email a guest received, but we only store this information for 45 days post send. If you are concerned about a guest disputing what was confirmed, you can have a hotel email address (alias is recommended to avoid inundating your email address) Bcc’ed (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) please have an address ready and ask your Implementation Manager or our Support Team (email@example.com) about adding a Bcc email.
- Data droughts will affect transactional emails, all Admin Users will receive a notice of any data droughts (when a hotel has transactional emails we notify you once we have not received data for 12 hours). Our Support Team will work with you and our Integrations Team to resolve the issue, usually caused by a PMS outage or upgrade.
- Please keep in mind that changing your PMS will affect your transactional emails. If you are planning on making a change in your PMS provider Revinate needs eight weeks notice to plan the work. Here is an article that walks you through the PMS Switch process. Please also note that there is a re-integration fee associated with a PMS Switch.
- Dynamic Content for Transactional Campaigns - Please note that since we have changed our email composer, new customers do not currently have access to Dynamic Content . We are expecting to release Dynamic Content for the New Composer and will keep interested customers apprised of our progress on this front.
- Check out our Best Practices & Common Mistakes Around Confirmation Emails for more information.