A few weeks ago I spoke about releasing a Brand Equity Index that would attempt to measure the overall impression that a customer might have of a company based on its total email marketing efforts. By total efforts, I mean the effect that not only a company's in-house lists generate -- but also the effect that third-party sponsorships, newsletters, and affiliate networks have on that brand. Multiple considerations went into developing the index, including the percentage lift in Web traffic after an email is sent, frequency, and list quality. We tried to provide a level playing field so that small brands could compete with their larger brethren with larger marketing dollars to spend.
I've focused on the hotel and resort industry for the first of these Email Brand Equity Index scores. I'm happy to announce our top 10 brands with the highest score. They are:
1 Ritz Carlton (ritzcarlton.com)
2 Hampton Inn (hamptoninn.com)
3 Wyndham (wyndham.com)
4 Marriott (marriott.com)
5 Starwood Hotels (starwoodhotels.com)
6 Choice Hotels (choicehotels.com)
7 Hilton HHonors (hiltonhhonors.com)
8 Best Western (bestwestern.com)
9 Hyatt (hyatt.com)
10 Accor Hotels (accorhotels.com)
All of these brands have powerful email programs in place that are highly effective. For instance, the Hilton HHonors rewards program gave members the opportunity to redeem their points as a donation to the Red Cross to aid the families devastated by the recent Southern California fires in a recent email promoting Doubletree hotels.
Ritz Carlton not only sends out a series of beautifully designed emails to its inhouse lists, but the company brings the same sense of design to emails sent out by its partners, including a recent piece sent by the Cayman Islands tourism department.
Hilton's Hampton Inn has a unique promotion for college football fans, giving them special sweepstakes offers and rewards if they book their rooms online for 6 away games. Accor Hotels promotes special "book at the last minute" deals as well as providing links to a rewards program, hotel finder, and travel ideas.
Wyndham uses Cheetah Mail to send both its weekly specials emails as well as its "ByRequest" rewards promotions. Like many other hotel chains, the company also uses promotional messaging within various airline mileage points emails.
Best Western has a very robust email program sending highly interactive, smartly designed pieces promoting everything from its rewards programs to finding the perfect spot for a fall foliage getaway vacation.
Hyatt not only sends out internal rewards emails but has a large presence on business publications and B2B publications such as the "Financial & Insurance Meetings" email newsletter. In fact Hyatt's presence on third-party lists and newsletters was one of the highest of the top 10 hotel chains we looked at.
All of these brands illustrate how to run a well-thought-out, successful email marketing program, and represent the highest standard for email marketers.