“Sell the right gift experience, to the right customer, at the right time and at the right price”
Since the concept of Black Friday was introduced to the UK back in 2010 followed by Cyber Monday a few years later, it would appear that it’s here to stay.
So, let us continue to embrace Cyber weekend wholeheartedly and with a few years of experience under our belts, it’s perhaps time to adopt a more strategic view over this peak sales weekend to ensure we maximise sales, whilst simultaneously ensuring we’re not displacing higher tariff business.
There are a few key things to consider here when planning your Cyber weekend offers:
- Your offer needs to be attractive to entice your customers in, but this doesn’t need to just be about discounting.
- The ideal offer is something that works for all stakeholders; the customer (and note this is both the customer buying the experience and the recipient who will be using the voucher at your venue) and last but very definitely not least, your business.
- Most people buying at this time of year will be purchasing gift experiences as Christmas gifts for friends and family, however some will also buy a treat for themselves if the offer is right.
Let’s look at these elements in closer detail and share some industry knowledge and insight that we’ve built up over the years.
What we’ve seen happening over the years is that whilst many of our hotel clients are offering great discounts on their vouchers, anything from “20% off everything” to “50% off selected experiences”, “buy 2 for the price of 1” etc. which undoubtedly increases sales but, are all of the stakeholders needs being met?
One of the key ingredients of creating an attractive offer to sell over this period is ensuring it genuinely is good value for money.
Customers are definitely looking to save upwards of 20% on the normal price, with many offerings discounting around the 50% mark.
Offering anything up to 20% discount alone probably isn’t going to hit the mark.
As we’ve said above though, it’s not all about the discount, you should also consider adding in some extra treats, like a glass of fizz, a bespoke (simple) cocktail, a room upgrade, a spa product etc. All of these things can be done in a cost-effective way whilst genuinely ‘upgrading’ the customer experience.
Understanding the buying behaviours of your customers around this time of year. Many customers will be waiting for your offers as they’ve seen and purchased great offers from you in the past.
How will they know about your offers?
Consider email campaigns (to the right audience*) and clearly the most effective way is via social media; build anticipation with your followers in the lead up to Black Friday (“we can’t wait to share our Black Friday / Cyber Monday offer with you…”) and you may consider using more traditional marketing such as in-house marketing, press etc.
*Our clients can see which customers who have purchased from them before and have opted in to receive offers by downloading a Buyers Report from the gift application.
Understanding that not all customers will be buying these as gifts is useful to know as you can use this in your marketing – “Buy two – a gift for them and a treat for you…”
If you’re applying restricted validity terms it’s also important that you’re not overselling, i.e. that you have availability to accommodate the bookings that will start coming in after Christmas.
And bear in mind that the recipient of the gift experience is not necessarily the person who has purchased it, so it’s important that any restrictions that do apply are clearly stated on the voucher and there’s an opportunity to upsell ‘peak’ periods to customers if it’s too restricted for them.
Remember not all people coming onto your gift catalogue are looking for an offer and equally many customers are coming onto your catalogue because they’ve seen an offer that’s enticed them.
It’s all about giving your customers choice, make sure customers can easily find both; the offer (with restrictions) and the full tariff equivalent (without restrictions).
Avoid displacing customers who would normally buy an unrestricted ‘normal’ tariff experience.
Customers buying gifts will likely want to give their loved one the chance to choose when they use the voucher so for them once they see the restrictions they may opt to buy a more expensive, unrestricted experience.
Sales statistics show that you’re highly likely to see increased sales on non-discounted vouchers over this period as more traffic is driven through to your gift site.
The very nature of Black Friday / Cyber Monday is that it’s a limited purchase window or limited stock being sold at a certain price.
Avoid temptation to extend the period or to increase the maximum number of units, decide what will work well for your business and stick to your guns.
It’s easy to get carried away in the momentum when sales are flying, but you could end up with more than you can accommodate. Keep it exclusive, when they’re gone, they’re gone!
You want to create a buzz around the offering and because you’re only asking customers to commit to the purchase of the experience rather than booking an actual time many customers will easily snap up your offer.
With great offers we’ve seen customers sharing and tagging friends, helping your offer go viral.
Lastly, it’s important to build the right rate fences around your offering to encourage the recipient of the gift experience to redeem at the optimal time for your business.
Open the discussion up to your team; invite the Revenue Manager, Food & Beveridge Manager, Chefs etc. to share their ideas around off-peak periods and value adds that won’t have a negative impact on their profit margin.
Remember that by using your gift application and direct social media channels to sell these experiences your cost of sale is going to be less than distributing out to higher fee third parties.
To summarise the above here are the three elements to consider:
- The Offer – an attractive offer that it genuinely good value for money.
- Limited Buying Window – only available to buy for 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours.
- Limited Redemption Period – can only be used / exchanged at a period that suits the hotel.
Here are three great examples where we have seen this being achieved:
The Offer – A spa day offering 50% off the normal price.
Limited Buying Window – can only be purchased over a 24 hour window.
Limited Redemption Period – can only be redeemed mid-week and is only valid for 5 months, i.e. from January – May.
The Offer – An overnight stay package priced at 30% off the normal price, that includes breakfast, a money allocation towards dinner and use of the spa.
Limited Buying Window – can only be purchased over a 72 hour window.
Limited Redemption Period – can only be redeemed Sunday – Friday and is only valid for 3 months, i.e. November – January.
The Offer – An afternoon tea that includes a glass of fizz priced at 20% off the normal price.
Limited Buying Window – can only be purchased over a 48 hour window and only selling 100 units at this price.
Limited Redemption Period – can only be redeemed Monday – Wednesday between 1pm – 4pm and is only valid for 4 months from January – April.
We support our clients through this period, and are delighted to discuss their strategy in more detail or they can simply let us know what they’d like to sell on their gift catalogue.