As the Christmas season is already here, experienced hoteliers are working hard to increase the number of bookings by matching the guests’ festive spirit with their own marketing strategies.
Christmas and New Year constitute one of the busiest and most lucrative periods of the year. For instance, last year approximately 12 million people in the UK alone travelled during the festive season and even more are expected to travel this year. If your marketing strategy is well thought out, then you have a sure-fire chance of filling all your rooms and improving overall experience of your brand.
However, at this time of the year, your responsibility goes beyond normal customer service due to the guests’ high expectations, and it will be up to you whether to live up to these expectations. Here we outline a few reliable ways to boost your customer service.
The social engagement of your festive spirit
First things first: nothing conveys the festive spirit better than a Christmas tree and Christmas-themed decorations throughout your hotel. The same festive attitude should stretch to your website, social channels and the staff as well.
Travellers are booking rooms with joy and excitement, hoping to find the best guest experience possible. Thus, fun and festive additions to your online platforms show that you’re ready to provide the merry atmosphere customers look for.
While in the holiday spirit, travellers will enjoy seeing holiday-related material. Post relevant, seasonal content about how your hotel is getting ready for Christmas and New Year, such as pictures of decorations and wreaths and of your staff in their Christmas outfits. Thus, you’ll create an unforgettable atmosphere in your hotel which guests will be able to enjoy when they check in.
The more decorative work you do in your hotel, the more content you will have available to keep your audience engaged for longer. Regular social posts will generate interest and followers.
Another great way to attract people and increase bookings is to launch a Christmas-themed email campaign. You don’t have to be pushy here; instead, come up with a creative idea to make your audience want to open your emails. For instance, create games and offer discounts on accommodation, spa vouchers, romantic meals in your restaurant, etc.
Also, don’t forget about personalizing your guests’ experience. All guests anticipate that their stay will be personal and unforgettable. You don’t have to spend a fortune to offer them a truly unique experience. For instance, placing stockings in guests’ rooms, marked with their names and filled with sweets or a selection of holiday DVDs, is just one of several ideas that never cease to surprise.
So, when to kick-off your Christmas marketing strategy? Many hoteliers opt for the first week of December. However, by December many people have already booked a hotel. You should do better than that. The real Christmas buzz kicks-off in November. This is when people go on a bargain hunt and retailers begin to warm up their cash registers by introducing discounts. Thus, this is the best time to begin creating online engagement, building up excitement and increasing bookings.
Provide outstanding customer service
The majority of people who will be abroad this Christmas already know where to go and what to see. However, there will be plenty of travellers who need guidance on the best places to visit. This will be your next step in forging the relationship between your brand and the guests.
What attractions are most popular over the Christmas and New Year period? Visiting craftsmanship markets is one of the favourite leisure activities for travellers looking to experience a new culture. Other popular tourist attractions are ice exhibitions, winter shows and ice-skating rinks.
Ensure that the display stand next to the reception desk contains relevant information leaflets and promotions and is regularly updated. In addition, your staff should be well informed about the hottest deals and current events. By engaging with guests and recommending the best local destinations, they sell your brand and create a loyal clientele.
Hopefully Christmas and New Year fireworks are taking place in your city, which is another great attraction for tourists. Use your local knowledge to advise visitors on the best location and the best way to get there and see the display.
Once you have sent your guests to admire the local culture, your restaurant should be prepared to serve them all in a timely manner and with high quality food and service when they return. Long walks always create an appetite. Thus, begin discussing Christmas and New Year cooking and menus with your chefs in advance, to ensure that the seasonal stock is available in sufficient quantities and all unexpected scenarios are rehearsed.
Organize a Christmas/New Year party for your guests
As mentioned above, many of your guests will go visiting local restaurants and bars to embrace the Christmas spirit; others, however, will be constrained by employment duties and will rarely have a chance to leave the hotel. However, both groups would appreciate a Christmas and New Year get-together at which they can mix and mingle and maybe even find a soulmate or a new business partner. This will leave them with good memories and bolster customer loyalty to your brand.
Pick the most decorated and spacious area for the party, preferably the place where the Christmas tree will be set up. Your guests will have a nostalgic moment when they finally see it live after viewing so many social posts during your marketing campaign.
What time is best to launch a party? It is up to you and your inner organization, but the best times are either several hours before the New Year or with just an hour to go.
In the first case, your guests will be able to enjoy the party and return to their rooms to celebrate the New Year privately if they wish to. In the second scenario, guests will meet the New Year together, thus creating an unforgettable sense of community.
Adding complementary welcome drinks and snacks is the right way to ensure superb customer service during that special hour. For instance, nothing screams Christmas more than the sweet scent of mulled wine, which will be appreciated by your guests. Also, if the region or city where your hotel is located is famous for a traditional drink or food, then it is an excellent idea to give the guests a taste of it to increase local awareness and sales.
In addition to the drinks and food, it is a good idea to organize a historic guest tour of the city to demonstrate the uniqueness of local history. Hiring an entertainer such as a magician or a comedian is also a great way to boost your customer service. Families travelling with kids would really appreciate a personal visit from Santa to their room, because for the kids Christmas is always associated with magic.
Of course, a good entertainer or tour guide may cost more money than you are willing to spend, but one sure-fire way of reducing the cost is to ask your staff about their hobbies. Your staff can do much more than what is written in their contracts. You will be stunned to discover their true passions and abilities, which may fit in perfectly with your guest entertainment program. In addition, this solution will make them feel more valued and bolster their pride in your brand.
Indeed, if your guests are pleasantly surprised by their well-organized reception, they will help you to promote your exceptional customer service beyond the borders of your country by posting pictures of their stay, relevant hashtags, and shares.