The 2021 festive season is just around the corner. It’s predicted that many shoppers will be turning to online shopping this year as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Hoteliers have an opportunity to tap into this increased digital holiday shopping. The holiday season focus is multifaceted for hoteliers. People are shopping for gifts, either for themself or others, and people are also looking to book for the holiday season. In this blog, we look at how you can appeal to both of these groups and plan to make the most of the festive season.
Here are our tips to make the most of the upcoming festive season:
Start promoting your festive offers early
People start shopping for gifts in September, with stores (both online and offline) starting to promote the festive season. The first major events of the festive season kick-off in October. Start highlighting your offers as early as you can. Make the most of the gift-givers, the deal hunters and the holiday travellers before they spend their money elsewhere.
Special offers for loyalty members and email subscribers
We’re all familiar with the holiday season discount emails. By using captivating email subject lines, entice these consumers to open your email and see what you have to offer. Position your holiday deals as perfect gifts for loved ones or treats for themselves in 2022. Use Hotelchamp targeting to show the same offer messaging to these people when they click through to your website. Reducing the path to purchase and reaffirming your messaging. If they’ve already shown interest by clicking through from the email, make sure to keep them interested once they get to your website.
Target the gift-givers
75% of holiday shoppers in the US and 71% in the UK who are shopping for holiday gifts, said they will shop online more this year than previously. This is a massive opportunity for hotels to be considered in the holiday gift-giving season this year. Use geo-targeting and interest targeting to identify potential gift shoppers and create messaging specific to these website visitors. Utilise vouchers for dining offers, for example, afternoon tea, dinner and bubbles, cocktails and dessert, to tempt these gift shoppers. And also short stays, such as a 1-night stay with a bottle of bubbles in your room.
Inspire potential guests to treat themselves
Use your digital channels to appeal to potential guests by inspiring them to stay. Many people are dreaming of a 2022 holiday—can you make the emotional connection for them? Depending on your brand positioning, consider offers to make up for missing out on travel in recent years. Create offers that encourage this by including discounts for local businesses that you’ve partnered with or popular nearby attractions. Not only have these people’s shopping destinations have changed, but potentially also their holiday plans. Tie this into your offers—promote 2022 family holidays or bringing people together who can’t be together this year. Traditions might be changing again this holiday season, so it’s a great time to start new traditions.
Make it easy
More people shopping online, means more people visiting your website and booking engine. Streamline the purchase process and highlight relevant offers when people land on your website. Provide additional support through LiveChat or use ‘contact us’ CTAs especially during these busy periods when people might have more questions.
Be generous with your festive offers
Around holidays such as Black Friday, deal hunters are out and people are looking for the best deals they can. Around Black Friday, some hotels offer discounts as high as 55%, with around 10-20% being the standard seen by Hotelchamp. If you know your target guests are very price-sensitive, these generous discounts will appeal to them. Remember that you can add terms into these offers that can restrict high demand dates so that you aren’t losing revenue by selling out at heavily discounted rates.
Don’t miss out on Black Friday offers
Black Friday is becoming one of the biggest days of the year for hotel bookings. In 2020, Hotelchamp customers participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers on average saw direct revenue increase by 91%. This is a great time to appeal to bargain hunters and get extra revenue before the end of 2021. Hotelchamp CEO, Kristian Valk said, “With so many people browsing multiple websites looking for bargains, it provides hotels with the chance to offer the best deal when booking direct via the hotel.”
Use urgency and scarcity tactics
Put the pressure on by highlighting limited stock numbers or a limited time—other businesses also do this when they are running a promotion. For hoteliers, utilise flash sale offers, valid for periods over Black Friday & Cyber Monday, Christmas & Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve & New Years Day. Tie in local holidays to your limited-time holiday offers too. Use geo-targeting to show relevant holiday offers to your website visitors.
Target the holiday season travellers
Not only are people searching for gifts for the holiday season, but consumers are also planning their own holiday getaways. Many European consumers are already enjoying domestic holidays or trips to nearby countries. With travellers starting to plan for the holiday season already, expect that more so than ever, they will choose to either travel domestically or stay in their home city. Create attractive offers for these key public holidays, such as over Christmas or New Year’s, and employ urgency tactics for these high-demand dates. Think about geo-targeting offers. For example, food and beverage packages, early check-in and late check-out, or exclusive offers on suites for groups of adults. For these high-demand periods, discounting should be less of a focus. Focus instead on bundling and offering value and experiences.
Don’t forget the mobile shoppers
Holiday season deal hunters do a lot of research before they purchase. They rely heavily on mobile while doing this research. Capitalise on this and identify key periods to promote your festive offers on mobile. Offer a promo code or email voucher for mobile visitors that they can send to their inbox and redeem on desktop later.
Offer flexibility with your gift vouchers
Instead of discounting your gift vouchers or hotel credit, consider extending the validity of your vouchers. Offer 18-24 month vouchers instead of 6-12 month vouchers, and position this as a unique selling point. During a time of uncertainty, this can make a big difference, especially if someone is purchasing a voucher as a gift for someone close to them.
Remember the late or last-minute gift shoppers
Whether shopping for themselves or a forgotten gift for someone else, there will be people browsing right up until the last minute and even after. Consider creating some messaging around these last-minute shoppers. If your holiday season wasn’t as strong as expected, experiment with different offers for these visitors—bigger discount codes, simpler but cheaper bundled packages. Expect that these people have tighter budgets and account for that in your offers.
Using Hotelchamp, you can implement strong festive campaigns that tie into your hotel’s strategy. Our team of Strategists are more than happy to help you create a holiday campaign that suits your hotel. We can help you to implement some of the strategies highlighted in this blog. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help start planning your hotel’s holiday campaigns now.
Editors note: This post was originally published in August 2020 and has been refreshed and updated for accuracy and new best practices.