Files, Lists and Interests - what's the difference?

The way we store your guest and recipient information within Guestfolio is flexible and powerful. This article will walk you through the best practices for managing your recipients. Let's understand our terminology first.

Subscribers - A unique email address that is stored within your account that you have permission to communicate with. Guests become subscribers automatically when they are imported through your PMS integration.

Files - The digital spreadsheet that contains the data you wish to upload to your account (First name, last name, email)

Interests - How you group your recipients. Defining interests for your subscribers provides a way to identify groups of people who are relevant to a particular campaign. These are typically things such as "Spa", "Dining", "Sales Event A", "Media", "PR", etc. Subscribers can have more than one interest. The interests you define can be either private for your own use, or public so it can be selected on your web signup form.

Conditions - Let you define which guests to target based on criteria from reservation details such as rate code, market segment, family, source etc.

Lists - Where we collect all of the above selections together for targeting email marketing campaigns. Lists gather up recipients from your entire set of subscribers by looking at their Interests, which Files they were uploaded in, or other criteria defined by Conditions.

With the definitions out of the way, let's take a look at the best way to work with recipients within Guestfolio for the purposes of email marketing.

An ideal way of organizing your recipients is to create lots of unique Interests and group them into a set of 5-8 lists. For example I might have a list called "Media" but within it I will have tagged people with interests such as "FAM Tour", "Travel Symposium", "Event Name", "Conde Nast", "Technology", or "Trade". I would have another list called "Restaurant" and have tagged people with interests such as "Wine Event A", "Patrons", "Critics", or "Brunch".

This scheme lets you easily re-purpose smaller target groups into larger lists. You can quickly gather up new lists of recipients by conditions, file imports and the unique interests you have created. It's more dynamic than thinking about recipients as just static file lists that you have uploaded.

If you are managing recipients that were uploaded by you in a file

A very important thing to note that is once you upload a recipient (first, last, email) to Guestfolio they will remain in your account in order to track their subscription preferences, even if you replace the list or add to the list. The Manage your Lists page just keeps track of the targeted recipients you've uploaded within a file, or matched by any other conditions.

To add new recipients for email marketing you need to upload the list of names to your account. Under 'Newsletters' click ' Import subscribers'. You will need your file saved as a CSV first, we'll assume you know how to do that.

When you are uploading that list file we ask if you would like to make this a new list, update an existing list or replace an existing list. All you are doing is adding more recipients to your account and these options allow you to easily access or sort them. You can also click to add these new names to an interest. (You need to define new interests before you upload a list.) The new list can be named anything you want, or let it use the file name for the list name.

If you are managing recipients that are past guests of your hotel

The beauty of Guestfolio is that your guests are seamlessly being added and updated to your account every day. Each new reservation profile will be available to you for email marketing purposes if you wish to engage those guests.

To sort these guests into email marketing lists you click 'Subscriber lists' from the Newsletters tab.  Click on "Create new subscriber list" in the top right corner of the screen and use the conditions to target those guests specifically. You can add as many conditions as you wish, including interests. In the example below we are isolating only reservations with family. Add your own conditions and click "Refresh" at the bottom of the page to see how big your list will be.


You want to have only a handful of regular lists to keep things manageable. These can be updated in real-time based on the conditions that define them. After you upload a file you can always delete that list but the names you added will remain in your account so it's best if you also tag them with interests when uploading a csv file, to say what that file represents. A list is the ongoing target profiles that you are marketing your property to. Remember that you can merge multiple interests into lists so if you have an interest for 'Wine Media' you can add that interest to a list you're sending to your restaurant or media group.

Lists are your target audience types. Interests are how you break them down or sort for multiple uses.