As hoteliers, we all know that the Christmas period is a sure fire money maker. It is always our job to increase the sales over Christmas to maximise revenue. I am sure you have your ideas, but it is easy to get stuck in the same old programs every year. I am writing this in the hope that I may inspire you with some fresh ideas to promote business over the holiday season.
A Christmas market of your own
We all know that visiting a Christmas market is something magical and festive and almost all families love to go to at least one. The reason for holding your own is two fold. Of course, it is a good way to increase your own revenue, but also you can strengthen relationships with other local businesses and to form new business contacts.
This gives you plenty of room to make money. You can set up stalls of your own that could include things such as mulled wine, hot beer, a BBQ with roasted chestnuts and burgers/hot dogs, to name a few. All of these things are cheap to set up and the revenue margins are high on food as we all know.
It also presents you with the perfect opportunity to advertise your hotel. You can increase the local awareness of your business by involving other local businesses and inviting them to put a stall together to selling their own products or services. You can also get in touch with the local press and get them to do a feature ahead of the opening of your market.
When we watch some famous Christmas ads, it shows a time of year that is not always happy and special. For some people it can mean loneliness and isolation and reminders of what we are missing in our lives. This is a perfect opportunity to give back and make someone’s season holiday a little less isolated. This suggestion breaks down into three categories:
At Christmas we don’t always want to have everyone around at our house and spend hours and hours cooking for everyone. As a way to combat this, you can offer a special family deal in your hotel. Put together a deal that offers a discount on bulk bookings. It should also include a meal deal of some sort. Include in the package a cooked Christmas dinner (and of course get Santa to come and visit the kids and give them a free gift) or perhaps develop a celebration for NYE .
If you are single, Christmas can be a devastating time of year that reminds you of everything that others have that you do not. One way to remedy this for the singles out there is to offer a singles special. Include a Christmas party with, perhaps, a speed dating event.
You should also include a Christmas dinner, with a party at night. Of course, include a NYE party, maybe even with a small fireworks show to see in the new year. This should be a half-board or full-board stay that makes the whole of Christmas a little more special.
As life expectancy increases around the world, there are more people that are in retirement. Not everyone has family to go and see, and this is an advantage to you as a hotelier.
When I was running hotels in Torquay, this is one thing they had nailed down. We would have coach loads of older generations coming to the hotel for a week to celebrate together and not have the worry or the hassle of having to prepare anything. Or worse, not prepare anything at all.
Again, like the singles idea, this should be a half-board or full-board package deal that includes everything they need for a perfect Christmas celebration.
All of these deals go a long way to making Christmas that extra bit special for those who come and stay with you. So, although it may seem like you are making a profit from other people’s misery, look at it in another way. You are in fact giving them a present of happiness at Christmas.
A month long Christmas
Another idea that came from working in Torquay is to have a Christmas week every week from the end of November. This can in fact work, and did in Torquay, right the way to the end of January.
The idea is this. You sell a package deal that includes a Christmas Eve party, Christmas Day dinner and party, Boxing day lunch and, of course, a NYE party. It runs from Monday to Friday every week for as long as you decide.
- Monday: Day of arrival and settle in and Christmas Eve party
- Tuesday: Christmas Day with meal, crackers, party etc
- Wednesday: Boxing Day with meal at night and special on drinks
- Thursday is NYE with a party and everything it should include
- Friday is recovery breakfast and head home
This kind of deal is a great deal for anyone. Even if they have plans for Christmas, this can give them the chance to relax and have a wonderful Christmas experience before they have to do it all again for themselves and loved ones.
Remember that for all these ideas, you need to advertise well. Get the local press involved. Do plenty of social media posts across all of your preferred social media platforms. Get your staff to share it on their own social media pages. This is an opportunity to make Christmas as profitable as possible.
Hopefully this has inspired you to make Christmas a little more special for some people and something to remember for those who book a stay with you. Make sure you get feedback from your guests and offer them some sort of discount if they share the events they attend on their social media pages. Social media is the new television in advertising terms and thankfully for us all, it is a cheaper and more reliable source of advertising.
Merry Christmas everyone. Happy holidays and have a very Happy New Year.