It's that time of year when literally every hotel in the world is planning its festive season promotions and if you haven't already started then you need to seriously ignite those discussions internally, as most are well under way.

It's the same thing year on year. Big expectations fill the air in boardrooms and managers are anticipating higher yielding bookings and incremental revenue. This is the hotel's swansong, the last quarter of the year, bursting with optimism, but often threatened by the lack of creativity and operational limitations.

However, true hoteliers love a challenge and those infused with passion always find a way to transform something plain into pleasurable, with imaginative thinking and human ingenuity.

This is also a stormy season as waves of predictability crash onto the shores, from room packages identical to the comp set and F&B extravaganzas that give hedonism a new definition.

Black-out dates, inclusions, exclusions and minimum spend become the vernacular of the spectacular.

Beaches, ballrooms and guestrooms become amplified symbols of status and glamour, but there's also a backlash when the market is inundated with identical offers as people get paralyzed by choice. It's important to be brave and imaginative as the genius lies in curating truly enchanting experiences that don't come with golden handcuffs.

10 Key Insights for Hotels and Restaurants to Prepare for the Festive Season.

Those imaginative, invested and inclined should consider:

  1. Lead times matter. Getting the message out in key feeder markets in a timely manner dictates the conversion ratio on any room offer, so do make sure your campaigns are activated with sufficient time for people to plan and book.
  2. “A bird in the hand…” Activate that early bird incentive and secure bookings; it’s proven to work but mostly if you offer value for money, not discounts.
  3. Talk to your tribe first and get your brand loyalists onboard. Engage with personalized propositions that are relevant and meaningful.
  4. Be brave. Not everything happens on New Year’s Eve.
  5. Keep it clear. There’s no good news in small print, so keep the terms and conditions simple.
  6. Don’t make promises that are easily broken. Think about the guest and whether they will leave as enchanted as they arrived. Nothing’s worse than waiting an hour after a night of celebrations for your car to turn up.
  7. Give something back. Generosity is seductive even to the frugal, so make your festive promise a big-hearted one.
  8. Be original. Reject clichés and embrace originality – there are only so many people in town with starchy collars and stiff upper lips and you could easily create joy with a casual event.
  9. Would they share it? Create a currency of celebration that’s easy for potential guests to share with others, surprise them with delightful offers and create marketing assets that are easy to distribute on social media.
  10. Make it easy for your guest. There’s elegance in simplicity and it’s critical to think ‘end-to-end’, making it easy for guests to book an experience or a room. Decision fatigue is a critical factor in abandoned transactions so avoid complicated processes.

The festive season is the time to celebrate life, but at the heart of it all, it’s a tribute to the dreams and desires of guests.

If you need insights, ideas and inspiration then please email rjd@insigniaworldwide.com and let’s get your party started.