Attracting Guests For The Holiday Season – DO’s And DONT’s
‘Tis the season once more! For hoteliers, though, silent nights are usually not an option. The holidays might be the busiest time of the year. Not that that’s a bad thing, on the contrary - it’s your time to shine! You probably already have a marketing strategy in place, specifically for this period, in order to get travelers to book your hotel and also “wow” them in the process. It’s important to acknowledge the huge opportunity that Christmas, Hanukkah and all of the other holidays pose for a hotel’s revenue, since not everyone is driving home for Christmas nowadays. Some people prefer to go on an adventure and get away from the overcrowded malls, the pressure that the holidays bring with them and overall, they just seek for something different.
There are many ways in which you can make sure that your hotel steals the spotlight during the holidays, but there are also some things that you should avoid doing. Here are some simple DOs and DONTs that we put together to help you make the most out of the holiday season and attract as many guests as possible.
Deck the halls - Both the website and the hotel: This might come as the most obvious thing, but it’s because of its importance. Unless you’re a Scrooge, you surely understand why the Christmas spirit is a huge part of the holidays. It’s a good idea to start by “decorating” your hotel’s website with winter specials, festive add-ons, blog post, a Christmas-special gallery, anything that can anticipate the holidays and the special offers that your hotel enables during that time. Also, make sure to decorate the hotel, especially the lobby, the front desk, the restaurant… and why not, include a little festive touch in each room. It will surely put travelers in the holiday mood and they will appreciate the extra effort.
Come up with special prices and promotions: If there’s a time to focus on offers, coupons, giveaways, promotions, then this is it. Most hoteliers have gotten on board with this strategy, so you can’t fall short, can you? Not offering guests a little extra something during their holiday stay can be a disappointment and it can end up by costing you bookings. Don’t forget that there is such a strong competition out there and travelers have a huge range of hotels to choose from. Implementing special offers doesn’t necessarily have to come as a huge investment from your part. Focus on something like a free spa access on Christmas day or a special holiday dinner, the chance to participate on a raffle and win a special gift - everyone looks for a discount in the holiday season and it’s the perfect occasion for hoteliers to get creative! Also, keep in mind that it might be a good idea to offer limited promotions, since studies have shown that “humans consider a scarce object more valuable than one which is abundant”. Therefore, the demand for a one-time offer will most likely beat your expectations.
Holiday specials - The more, the merrier: Once you have your decor set in place, it’s time to organize some holiday special. During the winter holidays, a day at your hotel can’t just be a day like any other. There are so many events that you can plan, that will attract more travelers and delight guests. Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve, thematic Christmas movie nights, you can do it all. Having options to choose from comes as a big plus in the eyes of the travelers especially this time of the year. In many places around the globe, the weather doesn’t allow a lot of outdoor activities, so you have to bring the entertainment inside. Also, don’t forget about the buffet. You can offer seasonal dishes and drinks: Christmas cookies and cakes, hot chocolate, mulled wine, special cocktails, ‘tis the season to go big! Also, if there are special events going on in your area, such a Christmas fair, a play, a concert, make recommendations to your guest - it can’t hurt.
Don’t be a Grinch: When the holidays arrive, the worst thing that you can do is ignore them. Even if you are not the biggest fan of the winter celebrations, that’s a personal preference that you shouldn’t let interfere with your hotel’s strategy. No one likes the Grinch and everyone expects a bit of holiday cheer, even if it’s away from home. Make sure to always take you guests’ opinions and expectations into consideration - you can use a visit from the ghost of Christmas past and actually review your last year’s performance, by checking out the guest feedback that you got after the holidays. What did you do right? What did you miss? You can find out all this from your own guests and adjust accordingly, to make sure that this year will the most successful one so far.
Don’t overdo it: As we said, the Grinch is not a desirable character, but you shouldn’t go to the other extreme either. For example, if you manage a rather modern, minimal hotel, with a high-end design, it might be better to opt for the more simple, classy Christmas decorations, instead of the super-colorful, cheery ones. It’s important to find the right balance and not overdo or overcrowd things. Little touches and details, maybe a Christmas tree in the lobby and that’s all you need to make an impression.
Don’t ignore social media: During the holidays and whenever you go the extra mile with your marketing efforts, it’s crucial to make it public and distribute it across the web. You might have the best-decorated hotel and the most amazing deals, but it’s all in vain if travelers don’t know about them. Make sure to properly advertise your plans, offers and promotions across the web and especially on your social media channels. You can update your profile pictures, post-festive photos, videos, and stories, maybe even go live when decorating the tree or the hallways - once again, this is where your imagination can take charge. Also, own content, such as blog posts, can bring more traffic to your website and encourage more direct bookings, and that’s something that you can also promote on social media. Bottom line is, be present, natural and cheerful and you certainly won’t go unnoticed.