For many hotels, resorts, restaurants, spas, and special events venues, seasonal marketing can be a challenge. Here are some smart ways to win over your private and corporate customers this year and next.
Start marketing early! Be prepared to hit the ground running in October-November. Now’s a great time to send e-blasts to your client base, use every social marketing tool you have, run local print ads, and make sure your website has a clear call to action right on the home page. Put table toppers in your restaurants, posters in your elevator and flat sheets in-room. Host weekly wine tastings with samplers of your Christmas menu selections.
Offer early booking incentives. Incentives can be as simple as percentage discounts, but it’s smarter and more distinctive to package value-added items such as free meal courses, DJ services, karaoke, room night discounts, or even a free spa treatment or room night for the party coordinator.
Integrate your marketing to get the most from your promotional investment. Be realistic about your venue and your target market, and find a message that fits. Make sure that your promotions stay on-message with your unique selling proposition front and centre, and that your tone and look is consistent across all media.
Use a shortcut URL in all of your promotions (i.e., yourhotel.com/holidays), and create a festive landing page for your seasonal offers. This works particularly well for radio spots. Hint: post this page as early as possible, optimize it for search engines, and use it in promoted posts on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Add value to your party offer with packaging that sets you apart from your competition. Even if you only have a group event venue, hotel rooms and a restaurant, there are still countless possibilities. Package a “morning after” breakfast or brunch, late check-out, or even better—vouchers for discounted stays in the new year, preferably during your slowest days of the week. Do you have an on-site spa or can you partner with local ski resorts or adventure companies? Then you’re all set to create a unique offer, or even extend the event more than one day.
Sell peace of mind. The last thing people want to worry about after a party is getting home safely. The obvious solution is to package room nights with your group events, but you might also offer free shuttle bus services or incentives to designated drivers.
Plan and confirm staffing levels well ahead of time. Being caught short-staffed will hurt your customer experience. You want your customers to have a great time and come back next year.
For Next Year…
Photograph and video record everything! Were you short of photos and video clips this year to promote your property in print, e-mail marketing and on the web? Plan ahead to showcase your party venues for the next Holiday Season. This year, hire a professional photographer to capture a party in progress and show people having fun. A good photographer is worth her or his weight in gold, and you will be able to re-use the images for years to come. The best shots are early in the festivities while the decorations and food service still look their best. Showcase your staff party or a guest’s, but be sure to get written permission beforehand—an incentive should seal the deal.
In your photographs, be sure to showcase the whole experience including the arrival experience in your decorated lobby, party venue and guest rooms. Also highlight details, such as food presentation, beverage service, and options that distinguish and add value to your venue, such as ski runs or spa treatments for early arrivals.
Take video of your chef preparing the items on the Christmas menu, and talking through ingredients and wine pairings. Host it on your YouTube page and link to it from social media, e-mail marketing and your website.
Survey your customers to ask what they liked and disliked about their experience, and how they heard about your venue. Analyze your return on investment, and implement changes to your plans for completion by October of the following year.
Offer a Very Early Booking incentive for next year’s party at this year’s party, ideally packaging a value-added product or amenity.
Put out ballot boxes at your events for a free draw to get opt-in email addresses on the entry slips. Most hotel party guests will probably be in your hotel or restaurant for this first time, and this is a great way to stay in touch throughout the year.
Smoove is an idea factory for small business. We can help your business during the holidays, and all year round. Contact us to learn more!
11 Smoove tips to market your hospitality business over the Christmas/Holiday Season.
11 Smoove tips to market your hospitality business over the Christmas/