Apple’s iOS 15 has officially been announced at this year’s Apple event, and it has been confirmed that it will be available for users to upgrade to from 20 September 2021.

Apple ramped up their push for privacy of user data in 2020 with the launch of iOS 14, with iOS 15 taking things one step further.

This article focuses on the privacy changes in iOS 15 relating to email marketing, and why this isn’t necessarily a negative change for email marketing, but rather represents an opportunity for the hospitality industry to focus on delivering personalised communications, that offer real value, driven by first party data.

We also look at some changes you can make to help mitigate the impact of these changes on your ongoing marketing activities.

So what’s new in iOS 15?

Privacy features in iOS 15


  • Mail Privacy Protection (Free): According to reports from Litmus, those with early access to iOS 15, and other tech journalists, Apple Mail will allow users to opt in to mail privacy features that mask IP addresses and block third parties from tracking email opens or other IP data.
  • iCloud+ (Subscription): An iCloud subscription with additional privacy features including a VPN-like Private Relay feature, which prevents sites from tracking Safari users who opt-in and allows users to see which websites they’re sending information to.
  • Hide My Email (within iCloud+): An email address-cloaking feature that enables users to give sites a “fake” email address. While promotional emails sent from the brand to the fake address will still go to someone’s inbox and shouldn’t impact important communication, brands will not be able to see the person’s real address unless the contact shares it.


While pickup of the paid features is an unknown at this stage (due to associated costs) Mail Privacy Protection will be available to all, free.

So far, all Apple has said about this feature is, “In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.”

Beta tests have shown that despite no confirmation from Apple that it will be opt-in, or opt-out that opening the Mail app after the iOS 15 update will show the below prompt;



Impact on Email Marketing


While Apple hasn’t elaborated too much on the feature the consensus from Marketing professionals is that it could impact the tracking of open rates and email-based A/B testing.

Although this move seems drastic, it follows a trend – iOS 14.5 introduced the ability to limit app tracking by requiring an opt-in and Google has been building out its Privacy Sandbox in preparation for phase out of third party cookies in 2022.

For the consumer

  • Consumers get to be in charge of the data they share.
  • Limits the market for tracking and selling of personal data by large corporations, which delivered them an advantage over smaller businesses and (potentially) limited consumer choice.

For businesses

  • Each brand will need to get better at building trusted relationships with their audiences.
  • Consumers want both privacy and personalisation. They still want content that is targeted and relevant messaging.
  • Given these changes, email marketers will likely need to focus even more on creating relevant content that drives action, instead of experimenting with headline focus.

Personalisation isn’t going away, conversion optimisation isn’t going away, A/B testing isn’t going away. They all, however, will need to be focused on building deeper relationships and more meaningful action.

Potential activities impacted

  • Retention and re-engagement automation that depends on open rates as an engagement metric – consider updating this to a different engagement metric
  • Segmentation based on engagement, including conditional splits by opens will need to adjust – click rate likely to be a better metric
  • IP-based geo-segmentation will also be useless if users aren’t showing true IP addresses

General points for negating impact of the changes for email marketing


The change won’t impact all email readers

  • Apple Mail on Apple devices make up 38.9% of the market share (Q1 2021 Litmus). Google, Outlook and others have (yet) to announce similar privacy measures.
  • You can still get good data for the time being on open rates due to this.

Adjust open-rate goals

  • Open rate goals will likely need to lower, or pivot, to determine what new low, average and high open rates are.
  • Tracking for a month or so after iOS 15 launch will help determine new averages

Build a first-party data structure

  • Build a first-party data structure to create customer profiles through their entire lifecycle.
    • Create website and email engagements that encourage users to take actions that build your first party data
    • Leverage that data through profiles, for better personalisation and targeting and increased engagement
  • Provide value in exchange for handover of first party data (incentives to consumer etc.)
  • Leverage expertise with content marketing initiatives (gated content can provide additional first party data collection)
  • Refocus your KPI / metrics
  • Focus on clicks and click-through rates; High clicks or click-throughs can hint that your content was very engaging while lower clicks or click-throughs could hint that readers were less interested or skimming through your email.
  • Expand engagement-based marketing segments to include clicks and purchase activity
  • Unsubscribe rates:While these usually don’t vary much, a spiked unsubscribe rate could indicate that an aspect of your email strategy (such as the content you sent or the frequency of emails) caused you to lose more audience members than usual. Meanwhile, a consistently low unsubscribe rate hints that you’re continuing to retain or even gain subscribers.

CRM platforms powered by first party data hold the key


CRM platforms, such as For-Sight, collect, store and manage all first party guest data (online and offline) – cleansed and de-duped to provide a single source of truth. They allow you to see first party data ‘gaps’ so you can attempt to correct these / fill in the blanks (converting those OTA masked email addresses to actionable addresses, for example). They also can let you undertake geo-targeting based on first party address data, rather than relying on geo-targeting tracking which is more likely to be impacted by privacy changes. 

Your CRM’s actionable first party data can be used in operations, as well as email marketing personalisation, to enhance the guest experience. A better experience is likely to increase engagement with brand content in the future.

For-Sight offers the ability to see Recency, Frequency and Monetary (RFM) values for your guests, along with their preferences and previous engagement and activity data which can add real depth to personalisation of pre, during and post stay marketing & email marketing.

Leverage the first party data in your CRM to create offers, promotions, and content for specific target segments (at scale) to increase engagement and conversion rates.

Don’t have a CRM system in place, or would like to learn more about how For-Sight can help you deliver a first party data driven approach to guest engagement and marketing? Get in touch with one of our experts today.



For-Sight’s Inbound Marketing Executive Maud Bruyere look at how data can help hospitality businesses convert venue attendees to future accommodation guests. 

In 2021, spending priorities have shifted in favour of the hospitality industry. The ‘net spending intention’, forecasting the next 12 months, in comparison to the last 12 months, shows a remarkable increase in interest for leisure. The winning categories of March 2021 Pwc’s survey are: eating out (+32%) and holidays (+27%). Simultaneously, consumer confidence is progressively strengthened with vaccines rolling out. Hospitality accommodation businesses that welcome visitors in their beer gardens, restaurants, afternoon tea… could be sitting on an untapped gold mine, if they don’t already use this opportunity to convert those visitors into guests! 

In this article, we share ways on how to own your visitor’s relationship and increase your revenue, thanks to data management and effective communication techniques.  

The value you bring to your visitors is key. 

The visitor experience will be the first influence that makes your visitors come back. The higher, the better! It is no secret that building loyalty, strongly depends on the combo: wonderful visitor experience and highly personalised communication. Ultimately, the effort you put in delighting your visitors will not only make them come back for a stay, but also work as one of the most cost-effective acquisition techniques: the word of mouth. To get this right, the data you hold in your PMS and other transactional systems – restaurant booking for instance, can provide insights to help you build guest profiles of the visitor you wish to convert. Which brings us to… 

How can Data help you? 

The data on its own is dormant until activated thanks to processing and analysis. Properly used, data can have a significant role in helping hospitality businesses to understand their visitors and guests, and adjust their strategy accordingly.  

“The use of innovative ethical data management is an effective strategy to increase sales revenue by providing the tourism and hospitality organisation with valuable business insights for ongoing marketing activity and competitive advantage” (Yallop & Seraphin, 2020). 

Data has the potential to unleash valuable insights to back up your marketing decisions, as you will know your guests’ unique preferences and purchasing behaviour.  

Collect your visitor’s information  

Maximise your chance to collect your visitors’ data by exploring the various touchpoints that could help you interact with your beer garden visitors. Here are some ways to reach out to your visitors and build your email list: 

  • The first contact – When making a reservation, encourage sign up and opt-in, while ensuring the highest standards in data security and compliance. 
  • All the contacts – utilise the points that are visible to attendees to encourage or facilitate sign up: your tables, your glasses, the waiting area, less glamourous but nonetheless with high traffic: the bathrooms…  
  • Your venue introspection – Analyse what you offer to your visitors by experiencing your venue through your visitors’ prism. This exercise can enlighten areas you had no idea could exist. 
  • Inspire yourself – other venues could help you think about new ways to connect with your visitors that you could adapt to your property.  

 Guests’ relationship management 

A GWI report (May 2021) found that U.S and UK consumers consider email, as a channel, to be informative and helpful, while expecting email campaigns to be relevant and personalised. To fulfil your visitors’ expectations, there is an absolute necessity to capture their needs and preferences. The information that you collect can help you build accurate visitors’ profile that you can use to create your message and speak your attendees’ language!  

Have your visitors enjoyed happy hours and were responsive to promotional offers? Why not offer a happy hour stay to any guests booking before a specific date?  

Cross-comparison with your attendees and similar guest profile – demographic, spending behaviour, specific requests, booking frequency… can also help you predict needs and preferences. In conclusion, it is never too late to awaken your data! 

Email marketing campaign – Ready, steady, go!  

Don’t make your attendees wait! Now that you have your lists and you know whom to address your messages to, it is time to invite your beer garden visitors to something new, the guest journey. It is crucial to start nurturing your leads soon after their visit, so they don’t move on to something else. Plan the journey you want your visitor to experience as future guests, keeping in mind the current situation that still requires reassurance and flexibility from your property. 

Easy mistake – Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole 

A common pitfall when building email marketing campaigns is to try to make your guests fit an offer, rather than tailoring it for them. The other side of GWI’s report indicated that email campaigns can also be perceived as Excessive (32%) and Intrusive (18%) – the red zone that could lead to poor results. There is a delicate balance between bringing value to your attendees and spamming them or being creepy. 


Select the right tools 

  1. To Plan and Measure When it comes to choosing the right tools for your hospitality marketing, the market has plenty to offer. CRM technology brings analytics to your door using the multiple data sources across your systems, such as your PMS. Conversion campaigns can be strategised, designed, measured and adjusted using your Business Intelligence: clean and actionable data from your CRM.  The use of data can be perceived as a disruptive innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry; however, it allows hospitality businesses to ease personalisation, offer convenience, save costs and overall enhance their competitive advantage (Evans, 2020). 
  2. To Design and Adjust
    Driving effective hospitality marketing, capturing unique opportunities and generating revenue… When choosing to either use a generic email marketing solution or a Hotel and hospitality specific emailing marketing solution, there are few points you should consider!
    On the top of the functionalities of a Generic solution, solutions designed specifically for the hospitality industry, such as For-Sight’s hotel crm and email marketing solution, helps you to: 
  • Connect your PMS data with data from other transactional systems, so you can create highly personalised campaigns, 
  • Segment and customise data for targeted and impactful campaigns, 
  • Access detailed reporting and insights on your performance and results, so you follow your trends and adjust your strategy.The knowledge and support from the industry experts in our professional service team can help you create unique and effective tactics, to convert your visitors into accommodation guests. 

Encore! To hit the nail on the head – test what you do.

Analyse what is working and what isn’t, using the reporting feature of your For-Sight emailing solution. That way you can see which emails are more popular for conversion and pinpoint where the most contacts drop out, in order to optimise your campaigns accordingly. 



Evans, N. (2020), Strategic Management for Tourism, Hospitality and Events, 3rd ed., Routledge,Abingdon. 

GWI (2021) Vaccines Are Changing Consumer Behavior: What We Know So Far – GWI 

Yallop, A., & Seraphin, H. (2020). Big data and analytics in tourism and hospitality: opportunities and risks. Journal Of Tourism Futures, 6(3), 257-262.

PWC (2021) 

Step-by-Step action plan to engage with your Staycationers 



Additional insights: watch our ‘Email Marketing to Capture ​​​​​​​and Retain the Staycation Market’ Webinar.

Staycations are trending! There is no doubt that the COVID– 19 pandemic has influenced consumers’ behaviour. 2021 guest decisions on travel destinations are no exception. Today, the UK holiday market benefits from cautious and price-sensitive consumers planning to stay closer to home. This staycation market represents both, a short and long-term opportunity to generate revenue and drive loyalty with those guests. Focusing on this opportunity, how can email marketing, help you engage with your staycationers, today and into the future? 

Staycation market – an optimistic overview 

While the ‘travel abroad’ search term dropped down by more than half, the searches for UK travel have increased by 103%. Staycations represent an opportunity of 13.68 million trips within the UK for hospitality businesses (Parkdean Resorts, 2020). This summer, holidaymakers are set to spend approximately £7.1 billion in staycationing, which represents an exceptional 22% increase from 2019’s £5.8 billion (Mintel, 2021). In fact, when we step back and compare the forecast for the total value of the 2021 domestic holidays in the UK (£12.9 billion) to the pre-coronavirus 2019 period (£14.5 billion), there is an 11% drop – but keep in mind that the domestic tourism industry in the UK has been restricted since the start of the yearBy 2022, the domestic market is expected to fully recover with an estimated £15 billion. 


Why email marketing? 

Email marketing can help you communicate with your guest, but that’s not all. Here are some reasons on why we recommend email marketing for hospitality businesses: 

  • Engage. Build an authentic and human connection with your guest. 
  • Generate revenue. Use a recognised and successful tactic to increase your revenue – email marketing has an excellent ROI, research by HubSpot reported that for every $1 spent on email marketing, you could expect to generate $38 of revenue on average 
  • Enhance direct booking. Driving traffic on your website to reduce reliance on OTAs. 
  • Upsell. Help the decision making and promote your activities, amenities, events etc. 
  • Collect feedback and stats. Keeping track of your guest experience to help you continue to engage, improve your offering and increase your revenue. 


The 6-step action plan 

The following 6 steps will help you to maximise your email marketing efforts and build relationships with your staycation guests. Throughout this process leveraging technology will influence your effectiveness and your chances of getting better results. The State of Email Marketing Benchmark Report (Validity, 2021) highlights that to get better results with emails you “must continue to invest in best-of-breed technology.” 


 1. Get the basics right 

Set SMART Objectives for your emails 

Key indicator performance can help you set the right direction and stay on track. When you look at Analytics, you can assess the performance of your emails. 

Guest details – recipients 

The first step for a successful email marketing strategy is to make sure that you speak to the right audience. Collect quality email addresses to build your lists, including demographic information (name, age, nationality etc.) and keep updating it throughout to learn more about your guest profiles. 

Capturing data will help you understand your guest habits and preferences. Making sure to convert masked OTA email addresses will also allow you to engage directly with guests and increase the chances of them booking direct rather than returning to an OTA. 

Stand-out – subject  

One of the top challenges to increase open rates is to stand out from the competition in your guests’ inbox. The subject line of your email is your first contact with your guest. Make sure that the first impression you make is ‘WOW’. 

Conversion – Call to action 

While open rates are a crucial metric, it isn’t the end of the game, click rate is. It usually is a clickable button or a text hyperlink, “Book, check, subscribe, find out, learn more” … There are numerous call-to-action phrases that you can use to lead your guests to the next step of the journey. To give you an idea, the travel industry averages open rate is 17.7%, and click-through rate 2% (Campaign Monitor, 2021). 

Email deliverability 

This is crucial that your emails reach their destinations. Your reports offer important insights on how well you are performing. For deliverability you should monitor: 

  • Your spam reports – The percentage of your emails that has been labelled as spam 
  • Your bounces – The percentage of emails that have never reached the inbox (non-existent/incorrect email address or recipient’s full inbox) 


2. Understand your guest 

What is the purpose of their stay?  

To connect with your guest, you need to understand their intent and decision-making.  The more you know, the more effective your message will be. 

Pandemic fatigue has resulted in people seeking rejuvenating travel, where they can enjoy new scenery, see family or friends and participate in events. Rejuvenation is the reason for more than 75% of leisure trips for UK and U.S travellers (Expedia, 2021). 

What are the motivations and frustrations?  

When thinking about travelling in the next 12 months, 50% of travellers feel optimistic but the other half still need reassurance. Understanding your guest frustrations can help you craft the right message that answers your guest concerns. While uncertainty persists for international travel, staycations encompass many advantages that can ease the mind of your guests. 


3. Personalisation – the ultimate guest-centric approach 

Now that you know your guests, the next step is to use this data to create relevant communications, to tell a unique story that will help you increase guests’ engagement. Creating authentic and personalised content is one of the top benefits of Email Marketing (HubSpot).  

Your staycation market segment is an opportunity for you to promote your destination, advise them to make their stay an amazing experience. Create content that helps your guests visualise their stay. Your email could link to your newest blog article about the best walks at your destination area, the local activities or food business partners, for example. 


4. Map your guest journey  

Mapping your guest journey isn’t a one size fits all. Every single guest engages differently to the emails you send. That is why defining the various touch points at each stage of your guest journey is important to help you identify when email marketing can help to enhance the guest experience with your brand. 

Right timing – when is the best time? 

Keep it conversational. There is no perfect answer on the frequency of your email marketing. You want to keep it human and not be intrusive. The number of emails depends on your guest and hospitality brand. 

Regarding the pre-stay emails of your staycationers, a report from Expedia (2021) shows that since May 2020, travellers are mostly searching in a 0 to 21 day window prior to arrival. This relatively short time window can be explained as a guests’ response to overcome the travel barriers set by the coronavirus pandemic (STR, 2021):  

  • Barrier 1. Government legislation and restrictions, that the hospitality industry has little control over, 
  • Barrier 2. Personal health concerns 
  • Barrier 3. Financial barriers. 

Being aware of what barriers your guests are facing, you can answer their concerns and develop “barrier-free” messages for your guests. 

Right message – Don’t just say it, prove it. 

You care for your guests and there are numerous ways to prove it. Flexibility policies, re-opening offers, advice to enhance the stay… There is a variety of topics you can communicate to your guest. The message you deliver should always be consistent. You care about your guest safety and have social distancing policies in place, let them know about it.  

Our tip? Step into your guests’ shoes. 

Your email channel can ease the mind of your guest and can reassure them throughout the guest journeyLet’s take the mode of transportation. To limit close contact with others, using cars to travel appears to be a safer option. Furthermore, staycationers will more likely use their personal vehicle or rent a car. Advice about car rental company, free parking, access roadmap… are examples of topics you could include in your pre-stay emails. 


5. Technology 

Data-driven strategy 

Hospitality businesses that are not currently leveraging technology could risk getting left behind. CRM technology helps you leverage data sets that are available from an increasing number of other core-transactional systems. For-Sight email functionality is built to help you deliver a fully automated, mobile-optimised email marketing solution to develop a unique guest journey with your brand. 

Marketing automation 

If you don’t already, consider using marketing automation. The benefits: 

  • Time saver (e.g., create welcome and confirmation sequences when guest books) 
  • Personalisation and dynamic content at scale 
  • Create and maintain your guest relationship, using a relevant and scheduled email marketing guest journey  


6. The ripple effect – multiply the touch points 

The coronavirus outbreak has increased the worldwide usage of social media by 21% (Statista, 2021). Meanwhile, in the UK, 93% of the people aged between 25- and 34-years old own a social media network profile. When you look at social media usage and the great potential to reach a wider audience on a regular basis, it clearly could be your best friend to develop brand awareness. Email marketing can be used to promote your social media, add potential staycationers to your followers, and ultimately multiply the touch points between your guests and your brand. 


Maud Bruyere, For-Sight’s Inbound Marketing Executive.

For-Sight’s Inbound Marketing Executive Maud Bruyere looks at why Guest Communication is more essential than ever before as the industry re-opens. 

As Hospitality businesses prepare to reopen, now more than ever, it is crucial to connect with your guests. New concerns have also emerged from the coronavirus crisis. To maximise your reopening communication efforts and determine the adequate response strategy, your property needs to understand and examine the crisis (Coombs, 2007). From our perspective, we believe that it is crucial to use guest communication to: 

  • reassure your customers,  
  • enhance the trust for your brand, and  
  • fulfil the promise: to delight throughout the entire guest journey. 

In this article, we focus on 3 messaging topics for guest communication aiming to support the reopening marketing efforts of your property.   

  • Communication that ensures safety in the property (Health and safety measures, touchless options, online check-in/out…),  
  • Information about booking flexibility, and  
  • Re-opening offers.   

We also provide tips to maximise and assess your marketing efforts. 

Guest communication, connect with your guests’ preferences 

Safety – be consistent 

The Hospitality sector has demonstrated an incredible capacity to adapt to coronavirus safety measures. Reopening is the time to tell your guest all about it.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the ways guest are assessing properties based on new concerns. has seen an increase of 60 % for both words’ “hygiene” and “clean”. Safe interactions and hygiene measures are critically important to reassure guests.  Guest communication supports your efforts and makes your guests feel confident about their stay. Using direct email communication can help to: 

  • inform your guests about health and safety guidelines your property follows,  
  • ensure they are followed, 
  • as well as making your guest a promise: a clean and safe experience. 

Every hospitality business employs different measures, that is why your guest should know what you are doing at every step of your guest journey. For-Sight’s email solution allows you to deliver and fully automate communications with your own branded and personalised messages. 

Flexibility – be transparent 

Guest Communications about flexible booking policies can ease the guest decision process, as well as show great empathy and transparency from your brand. While there is a roadmap for re-opening of the industry, this period comes with real concerns for guests when booking a stay as there still remains a risk of cancellation/rescheduling. So today more than ever, hospitality businesses should consider flexibility as a way to attract new guests and drive loyalty. A recent study of GlobalWebIndex (January 2021) shows that 55% of U.S and 65% of U.K vacation planners desire to have the option to cancel and rearrange their trip easily.

Booking flexibility ensures a financially safe stay for your guests, but not only that! While flexibility benefits your potential guests, data reveals a great result of 3% more conversions for Risk-Free Reservations and 92% of all of those being completed without any cancellation. Furthermore, flexibility is also designed to prevent cancellation by actively emphasising on re-arrangement.  

Offers – be attractive 

Re-opening is great news for your property and your guestsHave you have thought about a ‘Welcome back’ offer, to celebrate and attract new or existing customers? That will certainly delight the 51% of U.S and 40% of UK vacation planners surveyed by GlobalWebIndex who would prefer to use brands that offer discounts during 2021. Promoting offers via email, as well as your other digital channels, will drive traffic to your website and create opportunity to increase your direct revenue. 

Offers are also an effective re-opening marketing strategy, make sure you take the time to craft an offer personalised to your individual guest personas, to distinguish your brand in the competitive re-opening market. 

Maximise and assess your marketing efforts 

Understand and Segment your audience 

Technology gives you the key to reach the right audience at the right time. Your property holds an extremely large and rich set of data about your guest interactions and behaviour. By identifying patterns and trends within your business, you can create groups of customers, or “segments”. These can then be used to maximise your marketing efforts and to tailor content to be relevant to your guests. 

Let’s take an example that illustrates our 3 points above. Your hotel has an amazing golf course that will soon re-open. You have analysed your guest data and created a list of contacts who have all played golf at your property. You have developed a personalised “Welcome Back to the Green” email for your local audience, that: 

  • celebrates this news with a promotional discount code of 15%, 
  • informs and reassures guests on how your property provides a safe environment (sanitisation of amenities or self-distancing with other groups of players for example) 
  • and provides flexible booking policies that ensure golf lovers they will play at your property. 

When planning your strategy, keep in mind all the restrictions that may still be in place and the current market trends. 2021 trends show that the travel priorities being focused on are: short, outdoor and local (GlobalWebIndex). According to the same study, 38% of UK and U.S vacationers are planning a long domestic weekend this year. 

Assess your Guest communication 

Happy with your guest-communication? Drop the mic – in your guests’ hands. Remember that communication is a 2-way process. Encourage guests to let you know about what they like and what they think about their experience, give them a voice and offer you key insights to improve your offer. Without being intrusive, guest communication can be used to collect feedback. Communication is about dialogue. You can ask open questions, such as “Do you think our flexibility policies are flexible enough?” Rating questions like “Please feel free to rate the cleanness of our amenities?” Ask them about the best thing they have experienced during their stay.   

You want to individualise and humanise your brand to create a unique experience for your (new) guests and drive loyalty. Guest communication is the right tool to help build these relationships, and despite the coronavirus pandemic keeping us physically distant – personalised digital communication can bring you closer to your guests. 

Analyse your reports and adjust 

Making sure you analyse the performance of your reopening marketing campaigns and guest communication allows you to understand how you have achieved your objectives. You can also make use of analytics and testing to improve your marketing activities. Using A/B testing for your content and messaging can help you to determine what works best for your audience and can support your decision-making process. 

Alongside performance analysis and A/B testing, Google Analytics is a well-known marketing tool (for a very good reason) that provides your property with in-depth insights. Using Google Analytics, you can find ways to achieve better targeting, optimise your campaigns and develop new activities. Check out some more tips on Google Analytics here. 

Chances are that you’ve always got a couple of ideas about how to approach a specific email campaign, and there is also a distinct possibility that on certain occasions you’ve decided to play it safe and stick to what you know has worked in the past. This is, obviously, a very sensible approach but it does lead to hesitation in trying something new.

What is A/B testing?

You’ve probably heard of A/B testing for your email marketing, you may have also heard it called ‘split testing’. If you haven’t put simply A/B testing is a way of working out which out of two versions of a campaign will be most effective for engagement – whether that is how many people open the email, or click on a call to action. A/B testing can allow you to both try new things while mitigating the risk and verify if what you think has been working effectively is actually working effectively.

How does A/B testing work?

When you A/B test an email campaign you send two variations of an email to a small percentage of your proposed campaign recipients. Half of this test group will get version A, the other half will receive version B – hence the rather on the nose name, A/B testing! Whichever variation performs the best with your test group is the version that the rest of your campaign list will receive, which should result in better performance while also giving you valuable insight to inform future campaigns.


What should you test?

The truth is you can test anything you want! Some of the most common variables tested using email campaign A/B testing are;

  • Subject lines
  • Call to action wording or positioning
  • The layout of your email (placing different elements in different positions)
  • Personalisation (using title and surname vs just forename, for example)
  • Testing one offer against another

At this point your mind is probably going into overdrive with the possibilities – and they are only limited by your creativity BUT, you should only pick one thing to test for each campaign.

Why only test one variable at a time? If you test multiple variables at one time, for example subject line and an offer in the same email, you won’t be able to say with any certainty which it was that was responsible for the change in performance.

How do you know which has performed better?

When you’re deciding which variable you want to test you should decide what success looks like, or what you’re trying to improve on. For example, if you’re wanting more guests to open your emails, you might decide to test subject lines on your next campaign. In this case whichever variation got a higher open rate would be the ‘winner’ and would be sent to the rest of your send list.

The same applies if you are testing variations in the wording of your call to action, perhaps in a pre-stay email encouraging guests to book dinner, whichever version resulted in the higher click through rate, or bookings, would be the winner.

It is important to make sure that you are clear in what metric you are measuring with your test before you send it. Measuring the success of variations in elements such as subject line, friendly from or preview text can be much easier to interpret as success will be an increase in the open rate, however, it can become much more difficult to interpret when testing different creative elements where clicks will be your metric of success.

Have a clear vision of what creative component you are going to test, whether it is the wording of a call to action, placement of your call to action or image placement.

When and how long should I let my test run?

When working with our hotel partners on AB testing of their campaigns, we would recommend that 20% of the available contact data is used as a starting point for your test, with a run time of 2 hours.

This means that 10% will get Version A, 10% will get version B and the remaining 80% will get the version of the campaign that ‘wins’ the test.

For email campaigns, the time of sending also needs to be taken into consideration. For example, if you regularly send email campaigns at 8am, because you obtain a good open rate in return, it wouldn’t be advisable to split test from 6am for 2 hours because although we know 80% have a high chance of opening at 8am, testing from 6am could be too early for worthwhile results.

Trial and error

No two campaigns or database are the same. For example, while a 20% test sample is a good rule of thumb, you may want to adjust this up or down depending on the size of your database.

The key to making the most of your AB tests is to just start testing, evaluate the results and adjust as you go.

Why not get in touch with us to see how we could help you take your email marketing campaigns to the next level.

Whether you’re a hopeless romantic, or a tad more cynical, we’re giving you a little gift this February 14th.  Feast your googly, heart-shaped eyes on our 5 great email marketing tips!! 😍

Make your first move irresistible with a strong subject line.

Be personal! Personalised subject lines have 22% more chance of being opened. Stand out from the crowd while being creative with emojis.

No, really, emojis!

Emojis can increase open rates by 56% when compared to plain subject lines. Ensure your subject line marries well with the pre-header text, use this as your chance to add more clarity to the email content while increasing your opens by 7.96%.

Show that special someone what they’re missing out on

Be tempting with your offer while ensuring you’re getting the relevant message to the relevant audience.

Whether its dynamic content within the email body or segmenting your data, be direct! To the point that it seems like you’re only speaking to one person.

Keep the email copy short, sweet and with a sense of urgency to encourage the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)!

Get those clicks

Entice and appeal to ensure that they click through to your website or landing page! Including a CTA button can achieve 28% higher CTR compared to plain underlined text.

Is it bold enough? Is your eye directed straight to it? Experiment, make it more exciting than ‘FIND OUT MORE >’

A mobile love story

66% of emails are opened on a smartphone or tablet – there is no excuse, your design must be mobile-friendly. Take the extra time to test send your email to your desktop and mobile. Check both previews and play about with the display options. The email experience should be seamless regardless of the device!

Nobody enjoys awkward first date chat

Last but by no means least, write like a human! Expressing your brand personality while being direct and friendly will make you appear more trustworthy while making recipients more likely to engage in your content.


We know we said five tips, but we’re feeling the love so much at For-Sight Towers, here’s an extra tip for you!

Make sure their heart skips a beat when they see you

Your featured image is key in highlighting your offer so this image must be of high quality. GIFs are a great replacement of a main image but please remember that not all email clients support GIFs. To ensure that you get your offer across seamlessly, it is crucial that your main message displays on the first frame of a GIF!

If you’d like to talk to the For-Sight team about how we can work with you to give your marketing some TLC, click here.


View PDF Here

Text Version:


Segmentation of your audience can be a spooky prospect. Though, you should imagine segmentation as scary a prospect as Slimer, while the real Gozer in your email marketing strategy is the potential saturation of your audience.

But how do you catch Slimer? How do you successfully segment your audience for the needs of your campaign? Well, where better to start than with the five little W’s? If they’re good enough for the rhetoricians of Ancient Greece, it’s good enough for your campaign.



What is the purpose of your email campaign? What are you promoting? One of the most pertinent reasons for large unsubscribe rates is that the content is of no interest to the recipient. Make sure you have worked out exactly what you are saying and what your success of the campaign rides on. A spooky, roller coaster ride.



Who is this campaign going to? What are the prerequisites for receiving this campaign? Picking your target audience is not just guessing work, it’s half of the battle in a successful campaign. Work out your demographic, ensure you can justify each and every recipient being sent this particular email.



Where is the hotel in question-based? And where is the campaign recipient based? Imagine living in Shetland, and receiving a half price code for a lovely boutique independent in central London for tomorrow night. Receiving that email serves absolutely no purpose for anyone and will inevitably lead to your recipient seeing your brand as a nuisance or cutting the marketing tie altogether. Now THAT’S scary.



When was the last time you heard from your recipient? And what was the nature of the exchange? Similarly to the location of a guest, when a guest last transacted with you is just as important as how far away they are. With GDPR being chucked into the cauldron of guest data regulations, it’s important to have engagement tiers and a clear point of exit for your (ex)guest from your databases.



Why should any person, in particular, be avoided? And why does this campaign not apply to them? This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself when deciding who receives a campaign. And it encapsulates the above 4 W’s. What in the message really applies to the person it’s going to? Are they the actually the correct person to receive this campaign? Are they even in the correct location to be enticed by your campaign? Have they shown any recent engagement or interest in your brand’s services? If you don’t have substantial evidence to lay to rest the above questions, then you have the answer to whether you should avoid this recipient.


And that’s it. Whoever you have left is, therefore, a fangtastic recipient for your campaign.

Oh, and Happy Halloween. Oooooooooh.

©Forth Communication Ltd 2021. Incorporated in Scotland (SC114093).
Registered office at 61 Dublin Street, Edinburgh, Scotland. EH3 3NL

Privacy Policy Use of Cookies

Built with by Verb Digital