Retail stores have had their Halloween merchandise out for several weeks, but for most people, the first cool days of Autumn start them thinking about pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns and fall getaways. We touched on highlighting Fall festivals in a previous post, so let’s look specifically at Halloween.
Obviously, if you’re not fully booked for Halloween weekend, you can run a themed promotion to incent guests to make a reservation. I’m a fan of adding ‘extras’ as opposed to always giving discounts. Halloween is perfect for offering guests a free ‘treat bag’ if they book during your promotion. It can be filled with whatever you determine is a treat from a local specialty food, to a coupon for a spa treatment, to a free dessert at a local restaurant.
If you are fully booked, here are some ways that you can create some buzz now that can pay off in future bookings at your bed and breakfast. It’s good business planning to allow those guests who may only vacation in the summer to hear from you on a regular basis. Surprisingly, planting the seeds on a regular basis starting now re-enforces the good feelings they have about your inn and ensures that you and your inn are top of mind when they get ready to make future travel plans.
Let’s look at three marketing platforms that lend themselves nicely to Halloween posts:
Email – Below, you’ll see some ideas on how to increase fan and follower interaction on Facebook and Pinterest, however, any of the ideas listed can also be implemented via a combination of email and blogging. You may even get more interaction on your blog due to the limited reach of organic posts on Facebook.
In the examples below, simply post to your inn’s blog rather than social media. If you’re running a contest, have fans respond in the comments section of your post or email their entry depending on the type of engagement you plan. If you think you’ll have a large number of responses, I recommend creating a separate email such as firstname.lastname@example.org so that you don’t clutter up your primary email account.
There are literally millions of Halloween pins and boards on Pinterest. Pins range from Halloween treats to costume ideas to decorations. You can view my Halloween board here: http://www.pinterest.com/lindagva/ Even if you don’t decorate or have a special booking promotion for the holiday, it could still be advantageous to curate a board. My business isn’t related to Halloween but creating a Halloween board gives exposure to all of my boards and may attract new followers.
You can create a new board and populate it in less than an hour. Simply create a new board and name it based on the kinds of pins you plan to curate then search for Halloween using the Pinterest search tool and get busy re-pinning. My board is called Halloween with Style. It’s oriented towards how adults might entertain for the holiday as opposed to being kid oriented. You board might be about scary Halloween movies or homemade Halloween candy.
Halloween provides an opportunity to increase fan interaction which increases the number of people who will see your other posts. As mentioned above, it has become more difficult for your posts to be seen organically by your fans. The current Facebook algorithms seem to limit the number of fans who see a given post to less than five percent. One way to increase the number of people who see your post is to ‘boost’ it. You will have to pay for this but it may be worth it for selected posts.
Host a Halloween contest on your page and tie it to something at your inn. If you decorate for the holiday, post a photo of your decorations and invite fans to post their best Halloween decoration. If you host an annual Trick or Treat event, post photos from last year’s event and invite fans to post their own photos from last year and tell you how they plan to top themselves this year. A tip from social media experts Pagemodo: The prize can be as simple as posting the winner’s photo on your Facebook page cover the week.
Note: To change your Facebook Cover photo Go to your profile. Click Add a Cover, or hover over your current cover photo and click Change Cover. Choose whether you want to upload a new photo or pick a photo from one of your existing photo albums. Once you choose a photo, you can reposition it by clicking the image and dragging it up or down.
An even simpler way to increase interaction on your Facebook page is to ask a question. Something like ‘Do you plan to dress your pet for Halloween?” and invite followers to post a photo. These types of question posts seem to rank higher in Facebook’s algorithm and consequently be seen by more fans.
Try one of these ideas and share your experiences in the comments.