However, most online reservation software for restaurants, bars and other hospitality venues do not adequately accomodate the management of large and/or sophisticated party enquiries.
Critical to the success of converting the maximum number of Christmas party enquiries is recognising that they shouldn’t be treated in the same manner as normal reservations. Christmas parties, when organised for a organisation, are typically a ‘once a year’ event, with a nominated representative given the responsibility of ensuring that the venue, menu and price are right for everyone. Typically, this results in significant communication between the organiser, both internally to other guests as well as to the venue. Moreover, the Financial Director needs to know the costs upfront and would ideally like to have the majority paid in advance so that they can lodge into their accounts with the minimum of fuss.
From a sales perspective, Christmas party enquiries typically have a longer conversion time-line than normal reservations and require much more effort to identify and meet specific requirements, whether it be ensuring that individual dietary requirmements are met, to enabling bolt-ons such as drink receptions, post dinner drinks, dancing options and more. Because of the complexity of each enquiry it can become increasingly complex for sales staff to track demand for particular dates and ensuring that they can spread sales across the period.
The key to a successful season is ‘transactional smoothness‘, meaning the removal of all possible friction from the pre-sales process. Below is our short-list of tips for successfully converting Christmas party enquiries:
1. Have a dedicated Christmas party planning page at your website, with details of the menus available, pricing, bolt-ons and plenty of pictures. With an integrated enquiry form to ensure that the maximum number of opportunities are gathered.
2. Deliver tailored service emails, with bespoke messaging detailing the benefits of having the Christmas party at the venue and the steps to a successful booking.
3. Keep in regular dialogue with customers, providing a personal ‘party planning’ service from named representatives.
4. Invite customers to show-rounds and tasting sessions and through these build a stronger one-to-one relationship.
5. Let customers pre-order and pay deposits securely online. Upfront payment not only secures the booking, helping the cashflow but pre-orders also helps determine product orders and staffing needed.
6. Be ready for the enquiries. The first six months of the year show minimal sales traction for Christmas enquiries, with a noticeable uptick from June. Last year we identified that, across our client base, the peak month for enquiries and their conversion was November. Indicating that customers are increasingly leaving their decision to the last minute. Piling more pressure on venue teams to turn on a penny to get the party converted.
If you need a professional means of managing enquiries, with integrated customer messaging, combined with secure transactions for pre-orders and deposits, all branded to support engagement between your brand and your customers, then please contact NudgeCRM. We’ll be delighted to help.