Understanding Your ROI, Nineteen Agency

Email remains a fundamental channel for engaging with guests. The database is a treasure trove of individuals who have already enjoyed positive interactions with your brand, actively expressing interest by signaling, “Yes, I want to know more.” It’s arguably one of the easiest marketing avenues to leverage. Yet, the challenge lies in translating email communication into tangible results, specifically, getting people through the door, a goal that most operators relentlessly pursue.

After nearly two decades of experience in marketing within the hospitality industry, a persistent question has loomed large: What is the Return on Investment (ROI)? Over the past five years, while operating as a marketing agency, the pressure to demonstrate the value of email marketing to clients has intensified. Fortunately, in our current digital marketing era, showcasing this value has become significantly more manageable.

My approach is relatively straightforward:

We send an email to a specified number of recipients.

A certain percentage of recipients open the email.

A subset of those individuals clicks on the call-to-action link, typically urging them to “BOOK NOW.”

A further subset converts this interest into an actual table booking.

Multiply this by the average spending per person, and voila, the email has generated a quantifiable amount of business. Simple, well, mostly.


The intricacy arises in determining the exact number of bookings. At Nineteen, our preferred method for tracking conversion and ROI through Airship involves combining either Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager with specific Urchin Tracking Modules (UTM). Each email dispatched through Airship is assigned a UTM, detailing campaign source, medium, content, and name, with the name varying for each campaign. These UTMs automatically attach to the end of every clickable link within the email, enabling comprehensive tracking of traffic sources, provided the links direct to a website with a Google Analytics tag. Within Google Analytics, a search by campaign name reveals the traffic each campaign has brought to the website, facilitating the creation of different event tracking metrics—from successful bookings to identifying user drop-off points during their online journey.


Alternatively, while most reservation systems permit the creation of unique links for specific marketing campaigns, these often link directly to the booking provider, offering data solely on successful bookings.


Once the initial groundwork is complete, every email communication can be meticulously tracked and measured. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that while tangible measurements are excellent indicators of success, fully quantifying the value of the database remains elusive. Not every click on a call-to-action leads to an immediate booking; factors like calling friends, arranging babysitters, or booking a table a few days later come into play. This is where Airship PoP proves invaluable, bridging the gaps and connecting the dots in the customer journey.

While setting up and reviewing data might not always be the top priority, investing the time to establish a solid foundation and dedicating a few hours each month to scrutinise the data can yield valuable insights. I can assure you that within the data, there are bound to be hidden gems of tangible information that undeniably showcase the value of your database. This process not only highlights the significance of meticulous data collection but also reinforces the importance of having a robust communications plan in place.



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