8 Ways to up Your Hotel's Game This Holiday Season
It’s that time of year again – one of the busiest around for hoteliers. But don’t panic. We’re here to show you how to make the most of the holiday season for your guests and staff. Happy Holidays from Ameniti!
Get in the Spirit
Guests will expect some form of decoration at your hotel, whether it’s a menorah, a christmas tree, or glittering snowflakes. Invest the resources to create something special that guests will want to photograph – or even a special place for them to take social-ready selfies. All aspects of your hotel should reflect the holiday spirit. This can mean playing carols in the lobby, adjusting your signage, creating a signature seasonal cocktail, or instructing employees at reception to wish guests a happy holiday. You can even encourage festive dress for staff if it fits with your hotel’s brand – even something as small as a piece of greenery pinned to a lapel can spark holiday cheer.
Christmas dominates holiday culture, but many guests are sure to celebrate other holidays. Practice inclusivity by remembering to devote attention to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well. Strive for decorations and music that represent all three holidays. Whether you’re in a warm or cold climate, winter is a fun, non-denominational aspect of this time of year. Carols such as “Winter Wonderland” and decorations that highlight snow and ice will have a universal appeal. New Years is another universal part of the holiday season, and another excellent opportunity to wow all of your guests.
Utilize Social Media
Storytelling opportunities are plentiful during the holidays. Harness them to highlight the way your hotel is celebrating this year. Change your profile pictures and cover photos to reflect the holiday spirit and your hotel’s offerings. Social media allows you to reach those who may not be staying with you this year so that you can inspire them to book in the future. Successful content could include photos of decorations, special food, or simply your guests having a good time (try sourcing these from guests’ own social posts – most are happy to be featured). People love to share opinions, so a seasonal online poll (favorite holiday cookie, for example) is the perfect way to get them involved. Don’t forget to develop a strategy and schedule posts in advance, as many staff may be busy or unavailable.
Holiday Promotions and Specials
We’re hoping most of your holiday promotions have already been planned, but it’s not too late to start! A strong email campaign leading up to Christmas can get current and past guests excited and ready to book again. Holiday themedcontests are a great idea and often get guests excited. Some great examples are sweepstakes contests, social media and in-person contests, and even special contests for kids. Guests love to share their own content, so photo contests may work especially well. This is also a great time of year to push upgrades, so encourage your staff to continue to upsell and cross-sell those holiday-themed packages.
Become an Authority on Holiday Fun
It’s important for your hotel to be on the cutting edge of things to do in your city or neighborhood for guests visiting during the holiday. This goes for all staff, not just the concierge. Encourage any employees who interact with guests to stay up to date on top things to do, or even better, create a list for them to reference. Common guest questions in New York, for example, include the best places to ice skate, the most interesting decorations to check out, and where to hear mass on Christmas Day. Your guests will appreciate this insider knowledge, which makes their visit even better. And don’t forget to use your hotel’s social channels to highlight events and destinations around the community.
Improve Staff Experience
The wonderful thing about hotels is that they never stop providing service to guests. Of course, the flip side of the business is that many staff members must work over the holidays. There are a few things hoteliers can do to minimize this impact. First of all, the right scheduling techniques can make all the difference, and minimize the time that workers spend away from their families. Hotels should do their best to learn staff needs and preferences to make this possible. Getting staff in the holiday spirit can improve things as well, whether with special snacks, an employee christmas party, or the option to participate in a secret santa. One of the most tried-and-true ways to motivate hard-working staff members is a personal thank you note, which will remind them of your gratitude and keep them working hard during this busy period.
Put Together a Holiday Event
Guests will likely arrive ready to celebrate, and your hotel should help them make that happen. Arrange events in the weeks leading up to the holidays, as well as on the holidays themselves, to improve guest experience. Try a holiday cocktail hour or a special New Years Eve dinner. Families with children will especially appreciate these efforts. If your hotel sees a lot of younger guests, hold a cookie decorating hour, or provide complimentary hot chocolate upon arrival for families with kids. After all, the more special you make guests’ holiday experiences, the more likely they are to re-book at other times of year.
The holiday season is stressful for everyone, and hoteliers are no exception. In addition to personal commitments and celebrations, those in hospitality also have to ensure that their guests have an unforgettable experience. This can create a great deal of pressure, but there many ways to combat it. First of all, preparation is key. With so many staff and guests coming and going during this period, it’s important to have systems (and contingency plans) in place. As always, check in with your staff to ensure they are looking after themselves, and educate them on stress reduction techniques and self care for this busy time. In all the chaos, it can also be helpful to step back and focus on what matters, such as giving back to the community. Consider scheduling a toy drive for staff (or even guests) to participate in.