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Christmas sales

8 ways to boost your bookings this busy festive season

Christmas is just around the corner; you can almost smell the mince pies and sunblock. Along with decorating your tree and hanging the tinsel, you should be considering your marketing output for the Christmas period. It’s time to put your restaurant marketing plan into action and get ready to boost your bookings.

The holiday season is packed with reasons to book a table at a restaurant: office parties, festive family dinners, catch-up with friends, and taking clients to dinner, to name a few. It’s the perfect time to invite back those who dined with you last year, and entice new diners who are willing to try somewhere new.

Consumer sentiment may be down but over the Christmas period, Australians spend over $900 million on entertaining friends and family, and over $1.6 billion extra on food and drink in and out of the home. That’s not to say they aren’t selective about where they spend it; there’s a lot of competition out there, so you need to take every opportunity to attract people with fresh and attention-grabbing ideas.

With Christmas starting earlier and getting bigger each year, here are eight of the very best marketing tips to bring the festive season to your business:

1. Make their mouths water: Pictures of food are going to make people hungry – it’s science. Seeing pictures of your Christmas menu is only going to help draw a hungry crowd. Promote your new Christmas menu and activities on social media, particularly image based platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This is the perfect time to harness the power of word of mouth on social media and spread your festive offers far and wide.

2. Entice Christmas shoppers: Christmas shopping is laborious, thirsty work. If your restaurant is located close to a shopping area, why not try attract weary shoppers with the lure of a Christmas shopping dinner deal? This will help fill your tables in the quieter early evening timeslot, but better yet, it gives you an ideal opportunity to tell your new converts all about your upcoming Christmas and New Year’s menus and any other special events.

3. Something for the elves: Workplaces are always on the lookout for great places to celebrate during the festive period. While they had their corporate party venue booked back in January, they still need a list of smaller venues to entertain clients and for more intimate team celebrations. Make sure they know that your restaurant is the place to be. Create a special corporate package and send leaflets to local businesses to promote your restaurant deal.

4. Sweeten the deal: The festive season gets expensive very quickly and many businesses and people will be looking for restaurants they can enjoy on a tight budget. Send a local letterbox distribution offering a discount when they book a table before a certain date, or for a certain number of people, or you can even sweeten the deal with a free drink or sweet.

5. Remember us? Now is the time to check the list of reservations from last year and get in touch with previous guests, offer a special deal when they book a table. The trick here is to make them feel exclusive and to let them know about the fantastic menu you have planned for this year. Of course, take the time to check your reservations first just in case they’ve already booked!

6. Send festive greetings: Everyone loves getting snail mail and Christmas cards are no exception – especially now that it’s becoming a rare treat. That’s why it’s worth sending cards to your regular customers, thanking them for their loyalty through the year, and reminding them why they love dining with you. Remember it may end up on display –so be sure to include your branding!

7. Beat the January blues: The festive season doesn’t have to end on New Year’s Eve. Give people a reason to come back in January and fill your tables during the slower weeks. Offer your December guests a special gift voucher or incentive for January, or undertake a broader local letterbox campaign with exclusive January offers. Food fatigue after Christmas doesn’t last long, but the cheer does, it is an ideal time to make the most of the residual festive season spending.

8. Make it memorable: Remember, this is the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ – so be sure to do everything possible to make it a fantastic memorable experience for every one of your guests. A glass of bubbles on arrival, Christmas bon-bons, live music… get this right and you’ll be taking bookings for next Christmas before they leave!

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About the Author:

Ryan Christie is the Marketing Manager for Local Direct Network, the small business marketing division of customer engagement specialist Salmat.

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