What Hoteliers Can Learn from Retailers’ Approach to Black Friday

This year, thanks to COVID-19, everything is different. With many regions going back into lock-down due to skyrocketing cases, the holidays are going to look much different than ever before. No work holiday parties. No potluck with friends. No mistletoe. But, one thing is for certain – – the holidays are not canceled. In fact, many experts are predicting that spending is going to be bigger than ever before. In fact, Adobe predicts that U.S. online holiday sales will total $189 billion, shattering all previous records with a 33% YoY increase, equal to two years’ growth in one season. 

With retailers struggling for foot traffic the same way hoteliers are struggling for guests, we wanted to look at how retailers are preparing for Black Friday to see what lessons can be applied to hospitality.

Health and Safety

Deloitte states that 51% of consumers are anxious about shopping in stores due to Covid-19 while PwC states that 65% are concerned about catching the virus when holiday shopping. As a result, retailers are helping consumers avoid the holiday rush by focusing on online sales and offering extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. (Amazon kicked off the holiday season with Prime Day on October 13th, earlier than previous years.) 

Retailers are also ensuring that their stores are safe by requiring masks, limiting the number of people allowed in stores and ensuring that consumers see cleaning protocols being followed. Best Buy, as an example, shared their enhanced safety protocols at the end of October, to instill confidence during the holidays.

Lesson for hoteliers:

Now, more than ever, hoteliers should be talking about their cleaning protocols. It should be included in promotional emails and on your websites. While marketers might be tired of talking about it, guests continue to need assurances that their safety is your top concern, especially when the CDC and local governments are asking people to remain at home.

Strength in Digital

When non-essential stores were forced to close this year because of Covid-19, there were losers and there were winners. How a retailer fared was dependent on the strength of the brand’s e-commerce offering. Many brands used the shut down period to focus on improving their digital experiences and platforms in the run up to the holidays and will soon find that their efforts are bearing fruit.

Lesson for hotelies:

With fewer guests in hotels, there has never been a better time to get the digital side of your business in order. Clean up your database. Review your segments and automated emails. Develop new promotions to prepare for the return of travel. 

Continued Marketing

When times are tough, the inclination is to cut spending. However, many retailers are continuing to invest in marketing, despite the loss of foot traffic. Michael Leszaga, Manager of Market Intelligence at MAGNA, shared with Forbes that he expects major retailers to sustain their ad dollars this holiday season.

Lesson for hoteliers:

While it makes no sense to market to international travelers until borders reopen, you should continue to send targeted promotions to your local and drive-to customer-base. You should also continue to send your newsletter to all guests in order to stay top of mind with your guests. Remind them about what makes your hotel special and they’ll think of you when they feel safe enough to travel. 

Bigger Basket Sizes

Howard Meitiner, managing director at Carl Marks Advisors and former president and CEO of Sephora USA predicts that consumers will visit fewer stores this holiday season due to safety concerns but they will purchase more. He calls it more ‘purposeful visits’. The stores that are able to drive foot traffic and provide great, helpful customer service, will benefit from larger totals at the register.

Lesson for hoteliers:

It’s all about the upsell. Once you get the guest to book a room, you have a tremendous opportunity to drive more revenue. Like shoppers visiting few stores this holiday season, travelers are taking fewer trips and want to make the most out of each trip. A well-timed upsell email has a great chance to convert since travelers want to make each trip count since they’re fewer and further between.

This year, don’t let retailers take all of the Black Friday pie. Join Revinate’s Anisha Yadav and Karen Stephens on November 19th to learn how to run a complete Black Friday campaign. Sign up today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *