It’s not going to be a typical winter, by any means.
With the virus continuing to surge its way throughout Europe, the US, Mexico and India, governments are grappling with current measures in place, and how much farther they will need to go in order to get a better handle of Covid-19.
Back home in Ireland, the 2021 budget was announced this week, resulting in some welcome news for the ravaged hospitality industry – VAT for tourism/hospitality will be reduced from 13.5% to 9% in November for one year. Although this might not be the answer to the prayers of hoteliers everywhere, it’s still a start.
Not all is lost! None of us know how the situation will develop over the coming weeks (the lockdown in the North of Ireland, announced this week, came quick and fast) but let’s continue to do all we can for the winter months to maximise your bookings.
First up – launch a dedicated winter campaign
As is to be expected with the yo-yoing of levels and impending fear of temporary lockdowns, pick up for the winter months is still slow so far.
Still, it’s important to be top of mind while future guests are still in the ‘will I, won’t I’ frame of mind, and also for guests who are happy to go right ahead with booking their winter staycation now. To attract as many guests as possible, make sure you launch your winter campaign no later than the end of October.
Open for Christmas? Get going on your Christmas residential campaign
If you’re going to be open for Christmas, now’s the time to get your Christmas residential content and offers in order. Make sure all the information your guests need is easily found on a dedicated landing page on your website.
People have already begun searching and planning their Christmas residential trips so don’t waste time on this one – get your campaign live ASAP. If you’re worried your Christmas residential packages won’t have the same pick up as in previous years, a paid search campaign can be really effective.
It probably won’t earn me a degree in rocket science to predict that more Christmas shopping will be done online this year. With people wanting to stay safe while also supporting Irish businesses, it’s a good idea to start promoting vouchers for your hotel as Christmas gifts.
We recommend launching a soft promotion from November 1st, increasing your spend from circa November 14th onwards. Hopefully, this strategy should help your voucher sales pick up from circa November 24th. Run your campaign all the way up to Christmas morning (previous years of voucher sales performance stats have demonstrated that Christmas Eve is when almost 10% of voucher sales happen).
If you need help on getting some suitably sparkly artwork designed for your campaign, check out our marketplace sale on Christmas items – 30% off for the month of October.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Black Friday falls on November 27th this year.
In previous years, we’ve noted the best performance for hotels who ran very simple offers at a large discount and with very few restrictions. Historically, costs for ads increase 2 – 3x over this particular weekend, and guests expect an impressive deal. If you think you won’t be in a position to offer a discount of 25% or more, we’d recommend not spending on a campaign.
If you are planning on running a decent offer, this is a great opportunity to increase your email marketing database and reward your existing subscribers’ loyalty. Send your database an email and give them access to your offer a day before releasing it publicly!
Make sure you have a dedicated landing page and an action bar designed for this campaign – it will help to attract more bookers on your site.
A winter / January sale
Traditionally, January is one of the strongest booking months of the year, so don’t let this fall by the wayside – start planning now.
Try and launch this campaign right after Christmas rather than waiting until January begins. When it comes to the campaign duration and messaging, consider limiting the campaign to 2 – 3 weeks. This will help to create a sense of urgency and hopefully will result in more bookings! Try to dedicate a landing page and an action bar to this campaign, too.
Interested in getting more detailed marketing channel recommendations? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!