Start Planning Your Hotel’s Holiday Promotions Now
Halloween decorations haven’t been up for very long, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning your hotel’s holiday promotions.
The hospitality industry, just like many other industries, needs to capitalize as much as possible on the holiday shopping period around Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
No matter your property size, every hotel, resort and property type should consider putting together a comprehensive strategy for the holiday season. If you leave it to the last minute, you’re leaving money on the table.
This important stretch of frenzied holiday shopping will be here before you know it, so let’s look at some of the most effective strategies you can start planning now.
A Holiday Campaign Can Deliver Dollars at a Critical Time
Think of this holiday sprint like you’re developing a mini marketing plan. Plan for it like a subset of your overall annual or even monthly marketing plan.
Online shoppers in the United States spend an estimated $150 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday together. Add in Small Business Saturday, and that number is even higher.
Most hotel holiday promotions are room-related offers such as “book now and save” or “buy three nights and get the fourth night free.” Others focus their efforts on driving gift card sales. Gift cards always make a good stocking stuffer, and for hotels with restaurants, they are a strong way to bring local customers in the door.
Determining your hotel’s special offers and developing a digital marketing strategy now will help you take advantage of this narrow window when people are already online and spending money.
Tee Up Your Property’s Website to Go Live With Special Offers
Since you can use it to capture direct bookings, your website should serve as the primary vehicle for promoting your holiday specials.
Start creating some special homepage messaging now to highlight your offers, including pop-up messaging. Feature imagery with a holiday theme to set it apart from your regular site.
You can also create a unique landing page to feature your promotions and include that link in your social, paid media and email pushes. If you have a special rate offer, include a “book now” button that takes customers directly to your booking engine.
All of these elements should be set up in draft mode so they can be pushed live at the appropriate time. Your CMS might even allow you to schedule it to publish precisely at midnight when Black Friday begins.
Get an Email Campaign Ready to Reach Out to Your Customers
Email marketing is one of the most reliable methods to reach your most loyal customers. Make sure you have a campaign that makes the most out of this special connection.
Consider sending a series of emails to your customers that hit their inboxes in a steady drip in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and the days that follow. Perhaps schedule one to send two weeks out, then another a week out and finally one on the morning of.
It’s also OK to ditch the conventional thinking about email frequency. Consumers are prepared to see multiple emails from a single company during this period, so don’t be afraid to send more than one a day.
It’s not unreasonable to send two, three or even four emails on the day of your promotional kickoff. And then schedule followup emails to arrive over the weekend and through Cyber Monday.
To save time and reinforce your campaign, use the imagery and messaging you created for your website and campaign landing pages for your emails.
Outline a Paid Media Campaign to Boost and Steer Traffic
Maximize the investment you’ve made in building a well-designed home page and landing pages on your website by deploying a paid media campaign to draw visitors to your site.
Update any or all of your paid advertising to reflect your special holiday offers, and run ads on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Make your ad spend specific to your property and market, but also consider setting aside additional funds so you don’t run out of budget.
On the pay-per-click side you can update your messaging, and include a site link that says “Black Friday” or “Holiday Deals.”
And don’t forget to update any of your social media ads with new imagery and content to reflect your seasonal offerings.
Start Getting Your Social Media Channels Ready
Gearing up for a holiday promotion campaign isn’t complete without priming the pump on your social media channels.
Have a series of organic social posts touting your special offer ready to go in “draft” mode for Facebook and Instagram.
Update your imagery to show that this isn’t one of your regular posts. Make sure viewers know something is different, and they should pay attention.
When your campaign gets underway, be ready to engage. Have someone designated to answer questions and address any problems.
Put Tracking in Place to Measure Your Campaign’s Effectiveness
Finally, make sure all your links and posts have the correct tracking in place so you can measure the effectiveness of the campaign. That might mean using Google Analytics or UTM variables to tell you where any leads came from.
You will want to know your return on investment and see how you can make adjustments for next year.
Additionally, consider implementing a booking abandonment tool. This technology automatically captures important information from a potential customer who started making a reservation and then left the session.
Booking abandonment campaigns reach out to those prospects with additional information or a special offer through pop-up windows, emails or even text messages. And they have an average conversion rate of more than 22 percent.
Your Hotel’s Holiday Season Can Sparkle With a Smart Campaign
The holidays are a busy and stressful time for everyone. They can also be extremely profitable for a hotel property with a strategic holiday promotion plan in place.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to make the most of this time of year, you might not have the right marketing partner.
If you’d like to talk about how to put together the most effective holiday marketing campaign for your hotel, we’d love to hear from you.