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Six Ways to Win the Hospitality Marketing Battle During the Holidays

We wrote this article in 2010 when social media and digital marketing didn’t get a seat at the table with marketing budgets. Times have changed considerably, but it’s still a good reminder of how to manage your hospitality digital presence through the Christmas and New Year period.

Traditionally for hospitality businesses, the lead up to Christmas and the whole holiday period is the most significant revenue generating time of the year.

It also breeds a higher than usual spike in online activity as social commitments go into overdrive.

And we all know what people who enjoy food and wine love to do…. share!

Sharing is Caring

They share information about their favourite bottle of wine, and their latest restaurant experience, take photos of meals and talk with other passionate people on the subject. And they do this via social media.

That’s why this is the time to capitalise on all this traffic and build loyal brand ambassadors. The festive season is the time to get creative, communicate and go Viral!

So, how can you win your hospitality marketing battle during the holidays?

1. Plan Ahead

By planning, you’ll avoid stress by preparing everything in advance. A common rule of thumb is to start planning in your low season. Not only will this alleviate the stress of being unprepared. But, it also frees up resources such as team members who will be needed for the influx of customer traffic on your premises.

Understand the objectives of your holiday marketing, as this will direct your strategy. What do you want to achieve this holiday season…

  • Generate awareness?
  • Promote a special holiday offer?
  • Engage your audience?
  • Grow loyal audience numbers?
  • Boost sales?

Develop goal-driven, viable strategies, and once you have built this framework, you can create a posting calendar in line with these goals.

2. Allocate Resources

The Holiday Season is an opportune time to boost your sales, customer loyalty and overall brand perception. So, allocate a budget, personnel and time wisely.

3. Keep a Human at the Helm

Put someone in charge of monitoring your business presence online – don’t just leave it on autopilot. It’s OK to schedule posts, but ensure that someone is monitoring and replying promptly. With all this extra traffic through your doors, the urgency of the moment, and harried and tired staff, things may go awry.

Good customer service does not end once your customer has left the building.
Good customer service quote

Your online channels are a perfect opportunity to offer customer assistance. And we all realise social media and review sites will be one of the first places a complaint is made – very publicly.

A responsible person to monitor, manage, answer customer queries, or alleviate a looming crisis makes for a solid strategy.

4. Decorate

Just as your premises have been decorated with Christmas baubles and cheer, bring that across to your online premises.

Updating your social media cover images is always a good idea, no matter the season. It keeps content relevant and offers another way to engage with your customers.

5. Update Your NAPs

A NAP is your business name, address and phone number. These three elements, plus opening hours (especially over the holiday season), must be up to date and consistent across all marketing channels.

Update your website, Google Business, social channels and any other relevant industry listings, such as ATDW (for those in Australia), with your opening dates and time.

The more consistently your information is presented online, the more weight it will receive from Google (higher rankings). More importantly, this will keep your customers happy.

6. Spread Some Cheer!

You are in hospitality, so make it fun, get creative, and spread cheer!

Wrapping It Up

December is by far the busiest month for most hospitality businesses, so seize the opportunity to grow customer engagement, numbers and sales.

To recap:

  • Develop a plan of action (your marketing strategy) – remember the SMART goals
  • Set budgets and allocate resources
  • No autopilot or going dark – keep a human at the helm
  • Decorate your social channels with relevant & brand festive cheer 
  • Have some fun by spreading cheer
Tania Shirgwin

Tania Shirgwin

Founder + Head Consultant

Tania is a marketing strategist specialising in tourism, wine and hospitality marketing. As founder of Decant Digital (formerly bizeez communications), Tania’s unique role over the past 14 years has enabled her to follow her passions of travel and her marketing obsessions of strategic marketing planning, consumer-focused web development, search optimisation, and training. With over 80 customised websites built to date, successful event marketing campaigns and new business branding, Tania’s wealth of experience ensures businesses continually increase website traffic, direct bookings, and sales via proven marketing tactics.

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