An unprecedented year means an unprecedented Christmas. With the rule of six, localised lockdowns, and new rules coming into play almost daily, the trends we’d normally see during this time of year simply aren’t there.
However, there are a few things you can do during this period of uncertainty to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for the upcoming festive season. Here are our five top tips for tackling Christmas 2020.
1. Think about how to deliver the feel-good factor
Christmas is all about crafting treasured memories with loved ones, and given the year that we’ve all had, this couldn’t be more important this festive season.
Think about the experiences you can offer your guests. Doing something innovative like serving up seasonal sweet treats alongside an ice skating session in your grounds, creating cosy private dining pods for festive feasting, or even ensuring your customer service is second-to-none will go a long way in making your guests’ Christmas that little bit more special.
Plus, good news travels fast, so the more stand-out the experience, the more likely your guests will share it on social media or mention it to their friends and family. If you’ve made their Christmas this year, there’s a high chance they’ll return and experience other aspects of your hotel in the future.
2. Capture as much data as possible
If there was ever a time to build your database, it’s now. With rules and restrictions changing all the time, if you do find that people are willing to book a last-minute Christmas getaway in a few weeks’ time, it’s important that you’re able to be as reactive as possible with your communications.
But it’s also important to look further ahead than the festive season. Domestic travel will still be the main option for the leisure market for the next 12 months, so it’s vital to gather guest data over the coming months by conducting social media competitions, partnering with like-minded brands, or capturing sign-ups from those staying at your hotel so you can promote future offers or even encourage them to book a festive break next year. Because remember, a guest is for life – not just for Christmas.
3. Shift from paid search to paid social
Google searches for Christmas stays are usually looking pretty healthy at this point in the year and will tend to really ramp up after Halloween. However, this year, the search volume simply isn’t there.
There’s a lot of uncertainty around what this year’s festive season will look like for families, and there’s undoubtedly more to come. But one thing you can take control of is your spending.
Shifting any spend that you’ve put behind paid search activity to paid social advertising will help stimulate demand and help you target audiences more effectively. With localised lockdowns on the rise, location-based targeting will be vital for getting your message in front of the right people at the right time.
4. Discover what’s blocking people from booking
One way to tackle the widespread uncertainties surrounding Christmas is to face them head-on. Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with your guests, and with circumstances changing every day, it’s important that you become part of these conversations as much as possible.
Use organic social media to listen to your audiences and their concerns. It’s likely that a lot of guests will feel like they can’t commit to anything right now, but digging a little deeper and finding out more through polls (or simply by asking questions) will help ensure that your content is tailored to put their minds at ease.
5. Get your guests involved in your Christmas plans
With 2020 bringing plenty of doom and gloom, Christmas offers an opportunity for escapism. It may not be business as usual, but there’s still no reason why you can’t try and make it as special as ever. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all.
Use your social channels to get your followers involved in decision-making. What decorations will you be hanging on the tree? Which festive tipples should you serve in the bar? It may sound simple, but little things like this can provide some light relief as well as increase engagement and brand awareness.