Pom Bear May 19

Get Prepped for Christmas

The build up to Christmas is just as important as the event itself. So effective planning and marketing now is crucial. Take Stock looks at the different festive trends that will help your business stay merry this season.

Be spectacular

This year it’s all about spectacular parties – especially for the larger venues. Coombe Abbey’s Christmas programme is all about parties with a twist. The Warwickshire hotel is hosting murder mystery nights, medieval banquets, Bavarian nights and a grand white tie New Year Ball. “We have our own team of 30 acting staff who run the themed nights,” says June Picking, director of sales. “Our Christmas programme of events is really profitable but planning early is key. We get enquiries from June and are nearly always booked up from mid October.” June says the key to attracting customers is offering
something different. “You have to think out of the box as customers now expect party nights with a difference.”

Keep it simple

For pubs and restaurants the advice is to stick to what you do best – the food. “We offer a cosy, comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and this Christmas we want to ensure this is still the case,” says manager Matthew Wood of the newly-reopened Aspinall Arms in Mitton, Lancashire. “We are a pub and don’t believe in offering functions – larger places can do that better. Instead we are concentrating on
the food and offering a homely, welcoming, relaxed vibe in our pub.” The pub purposely leaves 15% of all tables free for walk-ins but is offering customers the opportunity to book tables throughout December and for Christmas in advance.

Top turkey

Despite the annual moan over the festive bird it appears turkey still tops the chart for the number one festive feast. The Aspinall Arms says that experience has shown that over 70% of diners will order a traditional turkey dinner as they like to stick with the festive favourite. Offered with other roast
dishes such as beef and matched with a fish and a vegetarian option, you should have a simple but winning combination that will suit everyone.

Promote now

Your festivities should be on your website now. Clear and easy to find and follow, they should include all contact details, menus and dates. An enquiry or booking form is a good idea, but make sure replies are checked daily. An early bird booking incentive should be considered together with a gift for the organiser. If you don’t have a website have festive info/leaflets laid out clearly around the establishment and make sure all staff are prepped so they can answer questions efficiently and effectively. If a staff member doesn’t know what’s happening then it won’t instil confidence and could possibly lose you
potential custom.

Trim up right

This year is predicted to be the year of the Style Mash Ups in which designers take two or more popular trends from past years and create a hybrid theme. Kathryn Hill says an example of this is urban meets neutral where metal and LED lights are paired with natural items such as pine cones and white trees.
The result is a sort of natural glamour. The use of colour is set to follow this theme with gold being dominant and used with either one of the traditional red or green colours. She also thinks neutrals will play a large part in decorations this year. “White, taupes, beige and greys will be big this year. Think winter landscape at dusk.”

Be different

A visit from Santa is always a customer pleaser, but there are other things you can do too to pull in trade. Coombe Abbey is offering festive afternoon tea with Christmas carols. You could also tie it together with family meals on Sundays throughout the season giving children the opportunity to
meet Father Christmas and receive a gift.

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