Hectic, exciting, challenging: That’s the holiday season. It’s also a good time to discover what will make your online options most efficient for customers looking to book parties, eat something especially enjoyable or expand their culinary horizons. When the partying is over – hone your strategy!
“Can I book a…?”
Many people today like to do it all online. Does your website have a place to book reservations? A contact button to reach someone specific who can help them arrange a large gathering? A simple, emailable questionnaire that allows them to state preferences – and even sign a contract that could include extras like centerpieces and a holiday punch bowl? Or perhaps you’re using OpenTable or one of the other reservation services. The goal is to be sure it’s easy to schedule get-togethers at your operation.
See the menu
Weekly food and drink specials, holiday menus – if you’re not putting them online, you’re missing out on sales. Again, your website is likely the place to promote the entire list of specifics you plan to offer. But any social media platform can be used to tout enticements, along with reminders and updates. Email is another great way to announce specials, introduce menus, and help get the reservation process in motion. Compile good email lists (and permissions), maintain those lists, and use clear subject lines, for example, “Introducing our party planning guide.”
If you specialize in particular types of celebrations, be sure to “show and tell” with your online platforms. Spell out the advantages you offer, like accommodations for kids, from menus to high chairs to table-side games. Are you looking to attract corporate gatherings? Outline the available levels of service, from hors d’oeuvres and buffets to sit-down meals and liquor (open bar or seated). Also mention whether you can meet audiovisual equipment needs.
The New Year prompts “fresh starts” for customers – for operators, too. But today’s diners are often looking for the next culinary experience, especially Millennials. Let your online presence reflect a willingness to keep up with the trends in foods and beverages, everything from healthier options to global flavors to charred and smoked ingredients. Or, use your platforms of choice to simply introduce a new menu item or two from time to time, to show that you’re not stuck in a rut. Trumpeting a change in décor or a new, high-tech feature also makes your operation look like a place worth visiting again and again.
Raise the platform
Does your social media effort fail to get much response? Here, too, a few simple changes can make all the difference. A fun photo of a holiday or birthday dessert on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp or Snapchat could show your venue in a new, more interesting light. Another strategy: Think of a series of tweets – for example, holiday-party tips for hostess moms, or food- related gifts and gift certificates available from your venue.
Re: Online details – the more info, the better
- Hours you accept reservations
- Max number in party and capacity of rooms, if applicable
- Advance notice requirements
- Parking, family-friendly, holidays open/closed
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