The countdown to the festive season is on. People are excited to shop—and have already started doing it. Google data shows that people are starting to research their holiday shopping months in advance. Plus, 84% of holiday shoppers plan to keep an eye on deals, discounts, or promotions throughout the holiday season. It’s the best time for hoteliers to tap into the holiday digital shopper segment. Like previous years, the holiday season is multifaceted for hoteliers. People are shopping for gifts, either for themselves or others, and people are also looking to book stays for during 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. And by the end of October, almost 30% of Americans have already finished their holiday shopping. It’s crucial to start highlighting your offers as early as possible to make sure you don’t miss out on the early bookers. 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 the coming year. 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
The beginning of the season is also a strong opportunity for acquiring new customers. The share of new customers starts to rise in early November and peaks on Black Friday—so this is a crucial time for hotels to be discovered and considered for holiday gift-giving. 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 and others
Use your digital channels to appeal to potential guests by inspiring them to stay. People are already dreaming of a holiday in the new year—can you make the emotional connection for them? Depending on your brand positioning, consider offers that take advantage of the new post-pandemic thirst to travel. With savings and big travel dreams, this year’s shoppers are looking for inspiration too. 47% of overall shoppers want gift ideas and inspiration—you need to make them long to stay at your hotel. Try creating guides with your surrounding areas, and encourage them to book for themselves or others. If you have a spa or restaurant, encourage them to offer a loved one a gift voucher.
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 to these offers that can restrict high-demand dates so that you aren’t losing revenue by selling out at heavily discounted rates.
People are looking for the best and most affordable option for them. Tie this into your offers—come up with smart ways to package offers while bringing attention to your F&B offer. Keeping in mind your audience, you can offer a complimentary drink or dinner voucher on top of a discount. This will increase the perceived value of your services while appealing to price-conscious consumers.
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 2022. 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 directly 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 running a promotion. Scarcity and urgency are very useful consumer psychology concepts which you can use all year round—but they’re even more useful during the festive season. For hoteliers, utilise flash sale offers, valid for periods over Black Friday & Cyber Monday, Christmas & Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve & New Year's 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 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 their desktop later.
Offer flexibility with your gift vouchers
Instead of discounting your gift vouchers or hotel credit, consider extending the validity of your vouchers and adapting your cancellation policies. 60% of consumers check return policies for the gifts they buy. For hotels, this can translate into a need for more lenient cancellation policies. On top of that, you can offer 18-24 month vouchers instead of 6-12 month vouchers, and position this as a unique selling point. This reduces uncertainty and 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. Consumers still have half of their holiday shopping left to do after the Cyber Weekend, with only 3 weeks to get it done. 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, and simpler but cheaper bundled packages. Expect that these people have tighter budgets and account for that in your offers. Also, consider employing urgency tactics to create a sense of immediacy that’s hard to ignore.
Using Hotelchamp, you can implement strong festive campaigns that tie into your hotel’s strategy. Our team of strategists is 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 email@example.com 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.