Start planning for Christmas

Wednesday 12th August 2009 14:27

Guy Holmes, marketing consultant at Captivate Restaurants, warns that now is the time to start planning in order to achieve a profitable Christmas.

It may seem very early to start thinking about Christmas but it's going to be more competitive than ever this year.

December is the most profitable time of the year for all hospitality businesses but this year will be bleak for many. With redundancies on the rise and tighter budgets than ever, attracting those profitable office parties is going to be tough and key to many's survival.

By starting now, restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels are giving themselves the best possible chance to have a great end to what has been, for most, a tough year.

Marketing budgets are, of course, also tighter for most operations, so every pound counts. Many restaurants won't be spending any money on expensive advertising in local papers and magazines this year. Instead, other marketing strategies will come to the fore.

It's crucial that the most is made out of your database but there are five other things restaurateurs should do to help attract office parties:

  •  Website: Make sure your Christmas menu is live on your website as well as other important information such as costs, capacity, deposits etc.
  •  Design: Get your Christmas menu and/or promotional leaflet professionally designed and written for best possible image.
  •  Pay per click: Set up a pay per click campaign on Google and other search engines to target Christmas office parties in your area.
  •  Contact local businesses: Phone or visit them in person. If phoning, try and get an e‑mail address and send them menus and other promotional material. You could also include a 2 for 1 voucher for food or, alternatively, a free drink to encourage the party organiser to check out your establishment before booking. Also think about incentives for early bookings and deposits.
  •  Database: Send out regular newsletters to your database focusing on different aspects of your Christmas offering.

It really is crucial to start the process now and, don't forget, deposits paid now are a useful and sometimes much needed addition to cash flow.


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