People don’t have to spend Black Friday in a tent outside Best Buy, huddling for warmth and wondering if that new Smart TV is worth it. There are alternative items and experiences they can purchase, i.e., a stay at your hotel.
Customers are ready for special offers this time of year—we’ve all seen the bright red “sale” signs. The trick is getting them ready for your special offer.
Talk to Your Team
No campaign works in a silo. Involve your revenue management department, marketing team, and your frontline staff to come up with a winning game plan.
Your revenue management and marketing departments are clued in to local and industry trends, while marketing and frontline staff will have a deep understanding of your guests’ needs and attitudes. Armed with this knowledge, your property can determine the best price point and launch a successful campaign.
Your frontline staff will be the ones dealing with the increased volume, so they definitely need to know what’s happening. Make sure packages and/or discounts are set up correctly in your reservation system and that front desk and housekeeping staff know about any special prep for package bookings. Offer plenty of positive reinforcement in recognition of everybody’s hard work!
Make It Unique
Not only does your campaign need to stand out from all your competitors’ campaigns, it also needs to stand out from your own previous campaigns. You can’t just recycle your summer splurge deals and call it a day.
For one thing, your Black Friday rate needs to be the absolute best you offer because that’s what customers have been conditioned to expect. Guests who bought on Black Friday will feel cheated if there’s a better deal later in the year, and they won’t buy again. However, it doesn’t only have to be about discounts. If your hotel discounts too deeply, people will start to wonder what’s wrong with it. Use amenities and extras to give your guests the best value for their money.
Making your Black Friday offer unique also means personalizing it for different guest segments. You could advertise a hot chocolate story hour for children and a complimentary box of specialty chocolates for honeymooning couples. (While everyone loves chocolate, little kids may be more into little marshmallows than a malt whiskey filling.)
Privilege repeat guests and loyalty members. If you let someone know an offer or special extra is only for them, they’ll appreciate the exclusivity. Repeat guests are the business you can most rely on and extras don’t have to be expensive. Consider offering exclusive early access or the opportunity to hand select a room.
Make It Urgent
Your Black Friday prices won’t always be there, so make that clear to customers. People don’t always buy because they’ve researched every option, narrowed down their favorites, and made a pros and cons list for each. People buy because they’re scared of missing out. Put a countdown timer on your website to create a sense of urgency.
Make It Work
Holiday shopping can be stressful. You know what makes it even more stressful? Tech snafus. Check that your website and booking engine both run smoothly. Test out everything that you want your customers to use and make sure the links all work. Don’t let your site crash because of the increased volume. Reach out to your booking engine and website providers in advance if you have any questions.
Train your staff so that they know how to answer if a customer calls for help.
Let People Know
You need to tell people about your campaign well before Black Friday actually rolls around. Market it across all your channels: website, social media, email, newsletter, printed reminders, lobby signage, etc. Splash a promotional banner across your homepage and explore paid online advertising options.
Consider your audience. If you’re a family-focused resort complete with multiple waterslides, it won’t do much good to get your ad in front of honeymooners. Use both keywords and specific audiences to narrow down who sees your paid advertising.
If you don’t know who usually stays at your hotel, that’s where your property management system can help. Use it to maintain a searchable guest database and run detailed reservation reports that can help you identify your most profitable guest segments.
Analyze the Results
Set goals before you begin your campaign and measure how well it did afterwards. Whether these goals are related to driving bookings or awareness, you should have specific numbers in mind. This prevents you from scratching your head and going, “Huh, I think we did well?” and better prepares you for next year.
Black Friday isn’t only about fancy electronics. Plenty of customers would rather have an experience than a shiny new toy (particularly if that experience comes with a spa). So let them know why they should choose you!