Email marketers, especially those in the hospitality, travel, and entertainment industries, can revel in Gmail’s latest product enhancement—Gmail Events. This new feature allows event details like a flight, concert, hotel reservation or restaurant reservation to automatically display on the calendar of any device that is synced with Gmail and Google Calendar. The arduous task of Gmail users having to copy event details to a calendar has largely been solved through this new feature.
Here are four important details that email marketers should consider in regard to this new capability:
1. Event Details Displayed Automatically in Calendar Events
Not only will the calendar capture the event, but the details on that event such as location, flight information, reservation numbers, etc. will show up within the event. Now, it will be easier for users to look up the details closer to the event, especially those using a mobile device.
2. Event Details Are Updated Automatically
Not only does the initial email with details of the event show up on the calendar, but when an email is sent showing revisions to the original event, the calendar is automatically updated. Users, who have experienced a flight change or have updated a reservation to a restaurant or hotel, will find this feature incredibly useful.
3. Notifications Will Work as They Normally Do, With One Exception
Calendar notifications for events added through Gmail will work with the default calendar settings. The exception is for flight notifications—those will not trigger notifications from the calendar automatically. Users will need to add these notifications to individual calendar events, so it will be important to inform your Gmail users that may not be aware of this exception.
4. QA Will be Important
While this new capability is very useful for users, don’t assume it will always work. QA your campaigns using Gmail accounts that are tied to Google calendars to see what the experience looks like for a recipient of your event-type campaigns. Make sure that if the feature doesn’t work that the user experience still remains relevant and useful for your Gmail recipients. You want to make sure that there are no jarring gaps in the user experience that you weren’t anticipating due to this release.
Lastly, hospitality, entertainment, and travel marketers should consider any new opportunities they may have as a result of this enhanced functionality. Does your brand only confirm events via SMS or phone call? Perhaps consider adding an email to the mix to allow for Gmail Events. Maybe your emails don’t contain event information in the confirmation email, but only behind a secure portal? Now is the time to consider updating confirmations with the detailed event information. As the inbox becomes more crowded and competition stiffens, I highly recommend email marketers consider how this new feature will enhance the overall user experience.
How do you plan to leverage Gmail Events? Let me know in the comments.
For more details on Gmail Events, visit the Apps Updates Blog.
This article originally appeared in MediaPost on September 10, 2015.