Pubs are expected to welcome 10m guests while bars expect 4.1m and restaurants 8.6m in the period that £12bn is expected to be spent (source: VoucherCodes).
Planning is key to taking advantage says Access Hospitality managing director of leading sector technology specialists Champa Magesh, who has advice for on-trade venues.
Surge of bookings
She said: “Booking platform DesignMyNight has identified the most popular days for 2023 Christmas parties are December 1, 7, 8 and 14, and a surge of bookings should be expected by late November.
“As Thursday and Friday nights start to fill up, be prepared to encourage group bookers to switch to alternative evenings and consider providing a different offer, or incentives, for the quieter nights of the week.”
She said using some key Christmas trends for this year have been identified as a post-pandemic resurgence of private hire, corporate hire and large Christmas parties; a desire for an easy and frictionless customer experience; an inclination to go out less but spend more; and a tendency to make a repeat booking with a known venue rather than risking a new option.
Robust tech system
Tech can help and the first of these should be a robust booking and reservation system, according to Magesh.
“This provides the ability to streamline everything from small bookings through to larger enquiries in one system,” Magesh said. “The most effective platforms provide multiple booking types with individual settings that enable you to separate out different areas of the venue and will take deposits or card authentication at the point of booking to help reduce no-shows.”
She added the optimum time to start promoting an event is four to six weeks in advance of Christmas and new year, meaning a tech system can be used to collect customer data, view attendee lists and email ticket holders.
She concluded bookings taken this festive season yield data that can strengthen your trading potential in 2024.
Individual customer Information collected provides a detailed summary of preferences based on previous visits to create a profile and that can lead to bespoke communication opportunities featuring individually tailored promotions and incentives.