My daughter started her holiday shopping before the Jack-o-Lanterns had been put away after Halloween, while a good friend of mine waits until Christmas eve to start. He says he likes the adrenaline rush of knowing that he only has a few hours to complete his list. According to the social marketing firm, Offerpop, 43% of holiday shoppers start before November.
Even with so many people starting early, approximately only 10% of shoppers have finished by mid-December. It’s no surprise that the last full week before Christmas sees the biggest bump in spending, but you probably didn’t know that a full 5% of holiday shopping happens after December 25! The influence of social media and mobile shopping continue to rise. Shoppers will use them for getting gift ideas, and looking for deals.
Here’s how Bed and Breakfast owners can help both the early bird shoppers as well as the procrastinators:
- Send a promotional offer via email to your guest list. You could include it in the monthly newsletter that you send to guests or as a standalone offer. Constant Contact has put together 15 winning subject lines based on a survey they conducted. They’re also offering a free Holiday Promotions Planning webinar on November 20, 2013.
- Over 30% of consumers say that Facebook will play a role in their purchasing decisions. Run a holiday shopping contest on your Facebook business page. Facebook has eliminated the requirement to use a third party app to run contests. This makes it very easy for you to administer a contest on your page. Visit the Facebook for Business page for more details.
- Start a Pinterest Board that showcases your inn during the time period you want to encourage guests to book. For example, if you’re not fully booked for the holiday season, now is the perfect time to create a holiday themed board. Posting photos of your B&B decorated for the holidays, guests enjoying wine and cheese by the fireplace, or pictures of your winter breakfast specialties are visual invitations to make a booking. Don’t forget to edit each pin so that it links back to the promotions page on your web site, not your home page.
- If you’re not on social media yet, utilize your B&B web site. Add a holiday countdown timer to your holiday promotions page, reminding visitors that time is moving quickly.
You may already be fully booked for the holiday season but don’t ignore this opportunity to capture the excitement of holiday shopping. You can set your promotions to be redeemed after the holidays. Many guests will be looking for a getaway after the holidays. Some may want to lock in a Valentine’s Day stay. Others might want a mid-winter break. Gift certificates are perfect for guests who won’t be booking right away. You’re limited only by your imagination!
A monthly newsletter is one of the best ways to stay top of mind with your guests. If you’re looking for a user-friendly list manager and email system, I recommend Constant Contact. We are a business partner for the service and will receive partner credits if you sign up with the following link: Sign up here for Constant Contact
UPDATE January 2015. I’m now recommending MailChimp.com for sending your monthly newsletters. The system is free for the first 2000 contacts and has a robust set of features.