Mailchimp is the gold standard tool for email marketing. It has recently released some free capabilities for marketing automation that could be used to communicate with your guests.
Our messaging provides a native integration with Airbnb. This means we inherit some of the limitations of the Airbnb messaging experience. At the current date, there is no way to add an attachment or to build a beautiful email with inline images for example.
Mailchimp extends Smartbnb's capabilities beautifully by automating any email marketing you may want outside of Airbnb's platform.
The end game
Here is how Smartbnb and MailChimp will be able to do once the configuration is completed.
- In a Smartbnb automated message, for example in a booking confirmation, you can ask for the guest's real email address, as you probably already do.
- Later, the guest will reply and provide their email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Smartbnb can shortly after extract the email address from the message, and we will then subscribe that user to your MailChimp mailing list.
- From there MailChimp can operate. You can, for example, create an automated marketing campaign, based on a date such as a check-in date. You will also be able to segment guests based on their listings or languages.
- Any off-platform communication will only be possible once an Airbnb reservation has been accepted. Airbnb will filter all emails prior to that stage.
- This integration will only work with the guest's actual email address. You need to ask this email address from your guests.
- We cannot recommend strongly enough that email-based communication should only come in addition to a minimal message sent on Airbnb.
- Guests will be automatically subscribed (opted-in) but will have the possibility to opt-out, and will not receive any further email from you.
- By design, guests are added but never removed, not updated. This means if the guest cancels, or if the reservation dates change, your guest will remain subscribed to your list and will receive your emails.
Your Mailchimp configuration
- You need to have a functioning Mailchimp account.
It is free to signup.
- You need to have at least one mailing-list on Mailchimp.
If you haven't, you should create a list on Mailchimp before integrating with Smartbnb.
- This list should include some Merge Fields.
Smartbnb will automatically populate those fields for your new guests' contacts so that you can adapt your messages.
The Merge Fields that Smartbnb will populate are:
- FNAME, text field, first name of the guest
- LNAME, text field, last name of the guest
- PHONE, text field, phone number of the guest, if provided.
- LISTING, text field, listing name on Airbnb
- ADDRESS, text field, the full address of the Airbnb listing
- CHECKIN, date field, formatted MM/DD/YYY, the check-in date.
- CHECKOUT, date field, formatted MM/DD/YYY, the check-out date.
Those merge fields have to be registered on your list. Only created merge fields will be populated.
Smartbnb will also populate metadata (such as location and timezone of your guests, and preferred language).
Your Smartbnb configuration
Once you have completed the steps above, you can integrate your list with Smartbnb and have it populated on the fly for new messages containing email addresses.
- Go to the Integrations tab.
- Click on the Connect to Mailchimp button. Please note that you need to have a payment method associated with Smartbnb to activate this button. If you are still a trialling user, this means you will need to subscribe, even though you wouldn't be charged until the end of your trial period.
- Log in on Mailchimp. We automatically process the details to get access to your Mailchimp account.
- Then select the Mailchimp list that will be populated with your guests' details.
That is it!
Your Marketing automation with Mailchimp
From here, you need to create your marketing campaign with Mailchimp.
Once on Mailchimp, click on "Create campaign" and select "Create an email".
Then select the tab "Automated". Look for "Date based" options, and select the scenario you would want.
In most situations though, you would want to at least have a campaign depending on the check-in or check-out date. If that is your case, you can create a campaign based on a "Specific Date".
You can set up your campaign from there, design your emails, and schedule them depending on the date you have selected.