'Tis the season of COVID holiday prep!
By this time in years gone by, the hospitality industry would be busily preparing for Christmas. Now, things are slightly different (to say the least!) and everyone is uncertain about whether or not new guidelines will be introduced to wreak havoc with festive planning. Nevertheless we must all persevere.
Facebook recently released a marketing guide detailing what to expect for the 2020 holiday season and have reestablished the importance of personal connections and sentimentality this year. “This Christmas shopping season will look different compared to years gone by. However, it's going to be more important than ever for people to come together and share gifts with their loved ones.” When preparing your marketing campaigns for the festive season - we suggest keeping this at the top of your mind. Think about how you can make your service more personal and more valuable during the next few months. We at Socio Local have put together a few recommendations to help you navigate the tricky task of planning the Christmas season over the coming weeks and months.
Step inside your customer's shoes
It is completely understandable to be hesitant of your tone of voice during all of this uncertainty when discussing a holiday season that is 6 months away. Matt Lawrence, Marketing Manager from Bespoke4Business sums this up perfectly in a recent article preparing for Christmas saying, “In the middle of a global pandemic, consumers' priorities have shifted and immediate focus is quite rightly on getting people safely about their daily lives, never mind the frivolity of Christmas time. Yes, planning will be tricky with the threat of a second wave of the virus, and layering in seasonal flu and other germs in the Winter months compounds the threat of disruption. The counter-argument to that would be that a little bit of frivolity and unabashed fun is just what we all need. ”
Be mindful of the ever-changing times that we are in and adapt your brand’s voice accordingly. We are all uncertain about whether or not Christmas will be the same this year, so why not mention that? Being as open and honest as possible online personalises your brand and makes it more approachable.
The key to success this Christmas is to step inside your customers’ shoes and reassess how your brand can be of value to them. Covid-19 has created change but equally it could be providing you with an opportunity. “Try breaking tradition and exploring new territories. It’s a less conventional time, which creates the opportunity to refresh and design your own festive moment.”
Let’s take a look at some options for the hospitality sector this Christmas...
Consider all scenarios
“According to recent data from Pinterest, people are indeed already looking forward to the holidays. ” With this knowledge, we think it is important to treat Christmas with as much respect as we would any other year. With so much potential to bring in the revenue that we have lost over the last few months, planning for the unexpected and having some contingency plans is important. Take a pen and paper and jot down some possibilities and potential changes to your business that could occur over the next few weeks and months. Now, let’s see what we can do to adapt and evolve for each scenario.
There are a few options that we know we should plan for.
- A virus-conscious Christmas - one where seats are limited and Christmas celebrations and parties must be confined.
- Lockdown - expect lots of food deliveries and digital efforts being kicked up a notch or two to increase online sales.
- Some sense of controlled normality - Christmas marketing full steam ahead!
Add services that will be of value at the moment
In the past, restaurants, bars, cafes and retailers may have relied on their increased bookings and footfall over Christmas to boost revenue for the entire year. This year, however, we may be looking at decreased capacities and a major drop in footfall due to Covid-19. “When the HSE social distancing guidelines are applied, the standing capacity per 100 square metres drops from 200 people to 25 people (12.5%), while the seated capacity in a bar or restaurant goes from 100 people to 34 (34%)” Therefore, it’s time to think outside the box!
Think of the families who have spent more time apart than ever before when you are thinking about what to offer this Christmas. What can you provide in your restaurant that can be taken away and shared as a sentimental gift? Personalised Christmas sweet treats are presents that you will remember in years to come. I received a festive hot chocolate box with my name written on it from my brother when I was a kid. It was 2 chocolates, marshmallows, hot chocolate and a cup. Small, simple, yet memorable. Think of what you can wrap up and sell as festive gifting (chocolates, biscuits, cakes, festive drinks, oils, dressings, cured meats, etc.). Add it to your online ordering system for some extra revenue.
Another thing to think about is providing takeaway boxes for people who cannot visit your restaurant. If a family who has always dined in your restaurant at previous Christmas’ can no longer get a booking due to decreased availability - give them an option to share those memories and your food from their homes. And why not go the extra mile to make it more memorable? Adding something special to the takeaway such as Christmas crackers, decorated napkins or a festive treat will make them remember your restaurant and want to order again!
There are many other ideas that will set your business apart such as festive cookery classes, Christmas hampers and online events. Not only do these ideas make a mark but they will also help make up for the loss in revenue that all restaurants will face this festive period. “Restaurant operators who think strategically now about how they can update and improve their offerings for consumers, and implement those solutions thoughtfully, will reap the benefits in a post-COVID world.”
If you are having trouble thinking of ideas, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or talk to your designated Community Manager.
Branding is like a beautifully decorated tree, unnegotiable! 🎄
Christmas is a competitive season. In order to stand out and be remembered, branding is key! Use your brand’s visual identity to stand out and be consistent: consistency builds trust, drives recognition and differentiates you from your competition. Think of the famous John Lewis ads or the Coca Cola advertisement each December. In fact, “consistent presentation of a brand has seen to increase revenue by 33 percent (Lucidpress,2019).” When designing your Christmas campaign, we recommend deviating from your usual branding colours to more holiday-appropriate colours while keeping your visual identity and logo close at hand in all online messaging.
Over the next few weeks, we will be working closely with our clients to build strong, festive campaigns that will represent them suitably online while making sure that every graphic is recognisably them.
Though this Christmas is set to be very different, we would recommend focusing even more of your marketing efforts on making people aware of your brand so that they support you no matter what the situation is in 6 months time.
- Adapt your messaging to reflect what’s happening at the moment and reassess how you can be of value to your customers on a weekly basis.
- Plan for every situation that may occur now rather than later - don’t get caught off guard!
- Add services and products to your business that will be of value this holiday season, given the circumstances. Plan how you will make your money back if the virus flares up again.
- A strong campaign is a well-branded one - make your business recognisable during the busiest online time of them all.
Would you like to chat to one of our team to get some advice on your social media presence? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas planning everyone! Socio Local x