Once a classic American holiday tradition, Black Friday - the mega shopping day just after Thanksgiving - has firmly established itself on this side of the Atlantic as well.
Forget the 8th of December! Black Friday is rapidly gaining popularity and now signals the start of the Christmas shopping season for Irish and British customers too. Mark Friday, 23 November 2018 on your calendar and make the most of this chance to boost online revenues for your hotel.
1. Build Up Excitement Well In Advance
The festive season is all about anticipation. Tease your customers with intriguing deals in the lead up to Black Friday. Use every opportunity online to set your guests’ expectations. Customise your Facebook cover image or create a Black Friday Facebook event; set up banners on your homepage or on top of your booking engine; post daily reminders on social media or feature information on your ezines. To create a sense of urgency, display a countdown clock on your website. You can also amend your Google Ads to promote your flash sale to browsers.
2. Ditch Discounts And Think Added Value
Black Friday is synonymous with extravagant discounts. But as much as hoteliers want to boost sales, the bottom line is already under tremendous pressure. If you can justify offering a percentage off your packages or gift vouchers - great, go for it!
Otherwise, consider creating exclusive deals that provide additional benefits to your customers. Think complimentary upgrade, inclusive breakfast, welcome amenities, a free leisure activity, extra loyalty points, no supplement for children.
A ‘Stay longer, save more’ type of offer can also work in your favour as guests are more likely to generate incremental revenue over a number of days.
3. Be Open To Doorbusters
On the other hand, outrageous discounts do work. Consider promoting an eye-catching deal - such as 50% off the price of your top suite - but limit inventory to a minimum. Once it’s gone, it’s gone but you have generate plenty of buzz in advance. These ‘doorbusters’ serve to attract people to your site so you can showcase all your other tempting offers - even if the main attraction has already sold out.
4. Remarket To Website Visitors
Remarketing is an incredibly effective way of reaching visitors who searched your booking engine but did not complete their purchase. Getting a second chance to make an impression, you can approach these specific people on Facebook and Google display network with an irresistible offer.
You can take advantage of Black Friday twice over. Remarket to people with your Black Friday offer who abandoned your website earlier in the month of November or go after visitors who viewed your packages on Black Friday but have not yet booked.
5. Keep Your Subscribers Posted
Email campaigns are still one of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal. Make your subscribers feel special and issue an ezine with a unique offer. Be sure to underline the exclusive nature of the deal. Link it directly to your booking engine to make to booking process seamless.
Select images and design elements carefully to attract attention. Spend some time finding a catchy subject line. ‘Offers That Make Us Proud’ or ‘Grab The Deal of The Year’ could work like a charm.
6. Let’s Make It A Game
If you would like to generate online engagement, gamification is the way to go. Theme a social media competition around Black Friday in the run up to the big day. Generate awareness by picking an attractive prize. Reveal some exclusive content: offer a sneak peak of your upcoming offers. Ask your followers to share the contest or tag friends.
7. Embrace The Spirit Of Christmas
Traditionally hotel gift voucher sales peaks during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. Keep in mind though that many Black Friday buyers will set out to get their festive shopping done early.
Use specific call-to-action buttons like ‘Find the perfect Christmas present’, display festive imagery, theme gift certificates around the holidays such as a festive afternoon tea. Offer free postage to close the deal.
8. Get Ready To Rock
This maybe an obvious point, but once you raised expectations and devoted weeks to launch this campaign, you must be ready to receive your customers. Run through your checklist: click on every link leading to your Black Friday deals, test call-to-action buttons, upload plenty of inventory, double check prices.
If you offer several different packages or gift vouchers, feature all options on one dedicated landing page. Make sales as easy as possible so your customers are only one click away from a purchase.
9. Extend Your Deals Until Cyber Monday
That’s right! Black Friday doesn’t have to last just one day. Savvy online retailers in the US came up with the idea of Cyber Monday - the Monday after Thanksgiving - about a decade ago to stretch out the (shop)window of opportunity.
Most retailers will not limit their offers to 24 hours, but continue to provide discounts until at least Cyber Monday, if not beyond. While your deals may lose some of of their urgency, it makes sense to maximise potential sales - especially if you invested a lot of money and energy into a campaign.
Now is the time to get started. Reach out to your account manager today to put a plan in place.