SALT has curated some of the best practice guidelines to get all your marketing activities covered through to Christmas and to ensure the busiest time of the year is stress free for you and your team.
- Start early. Aim for a September/October release of menus and awareness on your website. Include clear calls to action and dates when Christmas menus start.
- Drive small covers online to free up your reservation teams to take those larger booking enquires. Use the technology available to help drive sales.
- Be prepared. Ensure you have information immediately on hand to provide the guest with the details they are looking for. Build a Christmas information pack including all your festive activity as well as individual menu packs for key dates. This provides an upsell opportunity for someone looking who isn’t fully familiar with your venue and it also provides focus and clarity on those looking and comparing venues for key dates such as Christmas Day or NYE.
- Include your web address with a book online call to action, telephone number and email address. Give organisers every opportunity to get in touch.
- Review all availability settings on your booking system:
- reduce time slots to drive bookings to alternate times if you’re looking to fill bookings at a particular time.
- Close out any key dates not available to avoid having to cancel any bookings.
- Optimise your system settings to ensure there are no barriers to prevent any bookings:
- Check group bookings are set correctly to ensure you maximise your booking potential
- Request a deposit on Christmas bookings and provide an explanation to the booker what they receive by doing this – is it purely a guarantee or an offset against welcome drinks or part payment for the food.
- 72% of restaurants searches are made via mobile. Ensure you leave availability open during service to sweep up those very last-minute bookings.
- Set up your bookable Christmas packages now:
- Have the ability to take deposits
- Highlight your special food & drinks menu
- Brand emails with a festive feel
- What else can customers expect? Crackers, small gifts, music etc.
- Show real time availability
- Allow groups to order & pay in advance
- Be clear on your website: carry clear communications as to what you have available. Each section should feature a short description, a click through to the menu and a book online link. Organisers will not want to hunt for the information – for example populate clear sections for general enquires or corporate parties:
- Festive menu for diners in December lunch and dinner
- Festive afternoon tea menu
- Festive menu for parties 20+
- Festive menu for parties 100+
- Drinks reception package
- Christmas Eve/Day menus
- New Year’s Eve/Day packages
- Diners need to be able to view the menu online immediately however it would be beneficial to include the facility to insert their email address so it’s automatically emailed to them as an information pack. This would secure data capture of your enquires which can be followed up. This can be easily set up using programs such as Mail Chimp.
- Ensure staff training is up to date:
- Ensure sales training is widespread amongst your team so anyone answering the phone knows key information relating to Christmas.
- Ask for the name and email address of anyone calling and send an information pack or offer to keep them updated with seasonal plans – This person has made the first step to choosing a venue and selected you from the thousands in London. This person is valuable.
- Ask your booking provider to come in and provide training
- Are staff trained fully – are new temps and starters comfortable with all functionality?
- Never miss a booking:
- Telephone bookings are a common booking method for Christmas – what fall back option are in place if your staff can’t answer the phone (during busy periods)?
- Don’t give customers an excuse to go elsewhere.
- Encourage feedback:
- Small modifications can help to perfect your offering through continuous improvement
- Offers i.e. ‘come back in January for 50% off’.
- Gather this priceless data that you can use to make improvements and tempt them to come back in the new year.
- Be social. Schedule engaging posts with images giving a hint Christmas is on its way. A great photo speaks 1000 words so make sure you invest time in your photography.
- Schedule engaging festive editorial with key website partners. Organise a Christmas Showcase. Organise a festive competition. Make noise to stand out from the crowd.
- Last but not least, make sure that your digital profiles are spotless and up to date. A fresh pair of eyes will help you highlighting all those areas that you and your marketing team are used to look at time after time. A mini SALT audit will offer just that type of support and will ensure that your digital profiles are all sparkling and ready for the festive season!
A SALT Mini Audit is a compact version of our popular SALT Audit.
It is a valuable tool ideal to get your venue ready for Christmas. The powerful report provides a snapshot of your restaurant’s digital presence, together with unexplored marketing opportunities offering an ample overview on how your venue is currently performing online (nobody likes broken links, dated menus and old editorials right?).
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Gaby and Alison
Photo credit: The Rubens at The Palace