It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is almost upon us.  December is typically the highest grossing financial period of the year for hospitality venues such as restaurants, hotels, clubs and other unique event facilities. Below are some ideas for making this the merriest year yet!

1. Schedule Two Room “Turns”

Create specific reservation times for private parties, so you can guarantee two turns per lunch or dinner service periods.  For instance, schedule a 5:30pm event that must end by 7:30pm, and then a second reservation at 8:00pm.  To help manage the flow of guests during the turn, direct them to a separate reception area to begin their party.  Add hors d’oeuvres and cocktails to increase the banquet check average.

2. Re-Book Parties from Past Years

Contact customers who celebrated with you in years past to see if they’d like to re-book for this year.  Often companies and families like to create a tradition of celebrating at the same location from year to year.  Confirming a date early in the year takes the pressure off of the event planner.  They are able to reserve a prime date, and they don’t have to worry about running out of venue selections closer to the holidays.  Offer a price break or other incentives to planners that wait until the last quarter of the year, so you can book less desirable dates and fill up the events calendar.

3. Create Themed Menu Packages

Creating a set of holiday-themed menu packages for the season offers many benefits.  For the customer, they make the ordering process fun and easy.  For the venue, they ensure a higher check average to maximize revenue and they help streamline kitchen and service operations.  Service needs to be very efficient when trying to turn a room without compromising the guests’ experience. 

4. Include Complimentary Decorations

Providing beautiful room decorations and re-usable centerpieces for private dining events adds value from the event planner’s viewpoint.  The host wants to select a festive venue for their guests, but doesn’t want to use money from their party budget on décor.  Re-usable centerpieces also help expedite the room turns because you don’t have to coordinate floral deliveries or compete with guests trying to decorate.  There are many fun ideas such as wreaths with hurricane lamps, ceramic gingerbread houses, or decorative bowls filled with sparkling ornaments.

5. Coordinate Upgrades

For those customers that do have a budget for décor, offer to coordinate upgrades such as specialty linen rentals, entertainment, and other vendors.  Mark up the cost of these items at least 20% to add incremental revenue.  Another idea is to charge for additional services such as custom menus, place cards and gift-wrapping.

6. Sell Gifts and a Game To Distribute Them

Another way to increase the banquet check average is to sell and wrap gifts that can be given to guests at the party.  Gifts with your venue’s logo can also increase brand awareness.  Gift exchanges are notorious for extending the end time of an event.  To alleviate this problem, invent a fun game with easy directions that can be played in a short amount of time. 

6. Offer Thanksgiving Dinners To Go

Many hotels, restaurants, caterers and clubs offer Thanksgiving dinners to go.  This can be a cost effective way to increase revenue during November, which is typically a slower month.  Recipes should be tested, so accurate cooking, warming and serving instructions can be provided.  If possible, enable your guests to order online to increase awareness and add convenience.

7. Host a New Year’s Eve Party

A New Year’s Eve party is often an excellent way to top off event sales on the last day of the year.  Guests expect to a pay premium price, so throw a party they won’t forget.  Of course, your vendors will be charging premium prices too.  Try to develop partners that you can book every year at guaranteed rates. 

Those are just few ideas for creating a holiday program that will help you maximize group business and profits for the end of this year.  If successful, you may want to try using some of these concepts to add revenue during other busy seasons. 

To help manage all of the many private events you’ll be reserving, you’re going to need an excellent event booking software program.  We recommend ReServe Cloud® by ReServe Interactive. Click here for a free demo or more information.

Beth Goodell is a co-founder of ReServe Interactive, a hospitality software solutions company that specializes in Sales and Catering, Event Management, Reservations and Floor Management web applications.  Her prior experience was in the hospitality industry as a Director of Sales and Catering with Hyatt Hotels and Wente Vineyards.  Click to connect with Beth.

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