5 tips to become the venue of choice for the festive season
As summer starts to fade it’s natural that consumers’ thoughts start to shift towards making plans for the festive season ahead, maybe even more so this year because of the missed moments last year.
A very small amount of consumers have already started making plans but its September when bookings are likely to ramp up, so it’s now that you need to have your festive plans in place and start to communicate what you have to offer.
And it’s not just about the big day itself, it’s about the festive lead up too. With nearly a third of consumers saying they intend to go out for food or drinks more compared to what they would typically do in the run up to Christmas*. This really highlights the footfall and revenue opportunities that you can maximise from November to December.
But it’s also important to highlight there are still consumers that are hesitant and cautious about planning to far in advance, with 15% of consumers not looking to make plans until December*, but this highlights an opportunity to sell last minutes bookings and reservations and fill your venues.
Here are our top 5 tips to becoming the venue of choice this festive season…
Make it easy to book
Have an online booking system. There is still a need for in person or over the phone bookings but having an online reservation system is seen by many, especially those who use online and social media to look up venues as an easier more convenient way to book. Also offering clear cancellation and flexible booking policies may help encourage earlier bookings and commitments, especially from those consumers who are still hesitant.
Consumers are more eager than ever to support local, with 59% saying they will stay as local as they can to support local businesses when asked about their plans to travel in the UK this festive season*. Providing a great opportunity this year to get new customers who would of usually of gone further afield into your venue. So it’s really key to be promoting your Christmas events, special menus and takeaway offering around your local areas to make your venue front of mind. Social media is a great way to promote your business locally and connect with existing and potential customers.
Another great thing to emphasis is any way your business supports the local community, as this can be a real pull for those consumers wanting there money to go to a business that gives back.
Don’t forget the human element with customer service
The social distancing restrictions put in place during the pandemic pushed businesses to adapt; we saw a huge increase in table app ordering to help make customers and staff feel safer when eating out. Some businesses have kept these ordering systems in place to increase efficiencies but it’s key to remember that the human element of customers service can be the last impression of your business to your customers and can be the thing that makes or breaks their decision to come back again as well as recommend to their friends and family. Great customer service really does go a long way especially during busy periods like the festive season.
Create an atmosphere
An inviting atmosphere is important to customers all year round, but Christmas gives you the added opportunity to create an atmosphere that can make your venue stand out from the rest. It also encourages customers to share on their social media which is the new word of mouth…
Think about all the senses, and see how you can bring the spirit of Christmas alive. Decorations are an obvious way to create a festive atmosphere but sometimes it can be the smaller touches to the table and how the food is served to the names of the dishes on your menu.
Music is also a quick and easy way to add some atmosphere and why not even think about adding the aroma of Christmas spices to really heighten the senses.
Sometimes it can just be the buzz of a busy venue that customers love, but remember it can also be as simple as your staff being cheery and spreading the festivities from when your customers are greeted, the interactions throughout to the experience when they leave.
Make sure your menu is balanced
Having a good balance between traditional festive foods and something exciting and different is key to becoming a destination of choice especially for larger groups who could all be looking for dissimilar dishes. When we asked consumers what kind of food they would be looking for this Christmas apart from the traditional festive food, dishes they wouldn’t normally cook at home was the second most popular answer. This could be something a little more premium or requiring some skillset or even global cuisines you can really appeal to the quarter of people who took less holidays this year by creating special occasions, premium menus and global themes to recreate what they might have had on holiday and encourage a higher spend.
Explore our festive range and even more insights on consumer’s intentions and plans for the festive season at bidfood.co.uk/Christmas
*Source Bidfood Festive Consumer Research 2021