Holiday Marketing During COVID

We have witnessed first hand what losing a season can do to our service industry, and we should take what we learned and apply it to prepare for the upcoming months. So many restaurants look forward to the holiday season with packed out corporate holiday lunches, dinners, EOY banquets, family and friends gathering, and out of towners looking for out of the house entertainment. It’s always been a season the retail and service industry look forward to. With half capacity safety measures, social distancing, remote working, and the uncertainty of shutting down, we expect this holiday marketing season will be different to say the least. 

Below are some measures you can take to enhance your consumer’s experience from start to finish, so that your brand stays top of mind when choosing a place to dine. We propose a shift in messaging and marketing during the holiday season to better cater to life in the midst of a pandemic. 

Make it seamless and convenient 

Audit your online ordering platforms and POS integrations to make sure your users have a seamless and on-brand consumer journey from start to finish. This will be critical in a time where needs are shifting and there are competitors that may be doing it better.  

Go mobile with holiday marketing and advertising

Going into the winter months, we can expect to see an increase in mobile usage again as we did in March when Covid was initially peaking. There was an additional hour added onto mobile usage per day, so it would be strategic to allocate budget to digital advertising in mobile channels where core consumers live, work, and play.

Bring the fun and cheer through messaging

Holidays were already stressful pre-COVID, so being the brand that takes their mind off of the stress for a bit can have a lasting impact. We’re not suggesting to be completely tone deaf, but being merry and bright during the holiday season can create a positive brand experience. Everyone has been through enough this year, be the day’s “good story” or memorable moment.

Think of out-of-the-box offerings

Make offerings from your kitchen that are convenient to order for a group of people, or think of off-menu Holiday specials like family meals, kits, and large portions for sharing that will create a unique experience for your customer base. This would not only be a guest-first approach, but also support operations to be more efficient and accurate with orders placed for larger groups of people.

Enhance your Curbside and Drive Thru experience

These are on-premise experiences your business has control over, so enhancing these experiences can generate repeat business and keep your brand top of mind when thinking about places to get meals. Set a budget, be resourceful, and stay on-brand while considering what your customer would find unforgettable or worth mentioning, both through word of mouth or the lens of social media.

Be Transparent with Safety Measures

Some research has shown that we should still see a spike in holiday sales for restaurants over typical 2020 days, they just may not compare to previous holidays. Be sure you are transparent with what measures you have taken to keep everyone’s safety a top priority. Send emails and post on social media to share images and information with your customers so they feel more comfortable dining in your establishment.

Overall, we suggest being genuine and authentic to your brand personality during this time. We hope this final quarter will bring you uplifted sales, time for strategic thinking, learning, and innovation for the next chapter of restaurant marketing trends. Wishing you a safe and successful holiday marketing season! 

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