6 ways to encourage January reservations

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

With the World Cup and the Festive Season just around the corner, the next 6 weeks or so are set to be busy for hospitality businesses. But January is also looming and what is already a typically quiet month, is set to be even quieter with the increase in the cost of living. So how can you encourage reservations and increase footfall in 2023? Here we discuss a few ideas…

Incentivise return visits from December

It’s likely that you’ll see a big increase in covers during December, so make sure you capitalise on those opportunities. Whilst people are in your pub, bar or restaurant you have a captive audience, so think about how you can encourage them to make a return visit in the new year. For example, if you’re doing Christmas dinners you include a series of vouchers in the Christmas crackers, containing offers for the new year. You could offer things such as a free starter or drink with every meal or 10% off when you spend a certain amount. Of course the offer has to work for you, but fortunately there are many approaches you can take.

Exclusive January offers

To expand on the offers mentioned above… If people are looking to dine out in the new year, it’s likely they’re going to be on the lookout for deals that’ll help them reduce the amount they’ll spend. So, generally consider offers that’ll help reduce costs for your customers without having too much of an impact on the profit you’re making. What’s important here is to limit the amount of time that the offer is available. If you want customers to visit in January then make sure any offers you have in place have an expiry date. Here are a few ideas for what you could offer ‘in January’: 

  • Half price pizzas every Wednesday
  • Kids eat free every day 
  • A free starter or drink with every main
  • Buy one coffee, get your friends’ for free 

Loyalty schemes 

Another way you can encourage return custom is through loyalty schemes. In other words, reward each visit or purchase made by a customer. A well known way of doing this is by ‘stamp collection’, but there are also reservation/booking systems, such as Access Collins, that enable customers to collect rewards every time they make a booking or purchase with you. If your customers are aware of the schemes you have in place, they will be aware of the option to redeem these rewards at a time when money may be tighter than usual. And with 82% of companies agreeing that retention is cheaper than acquisition, it’s a cost effective approach for your business too.

One off events 

Hosting something ‘a little different’ could be a good way of attracting customers to your pub bar or restaurant during January. Think music, bingo or quiz nights. Or try something more tailored to January itself, such as  a tasting session that compares no and low alcohol drinks to the originals.

Consider BYOB

Another way you could help reduce costs for your customers is by allowing them to bring their own booze when they dine with you. Whilst you’re unlikely to want to offer this daily, you might want to consider a weekly or monthly offer on one of your quieter days. 

Stay in touch 

No matter the time of year, if you want your customers to make a return visit then you remain front of mind. Use marketing channels such as email and social media to nurture the relationships you already have. Relating to January specifically, you could use these channels to promote any offers or events you’ll be running and make your customers aware of any loyalty discounts they may have. If you’re looking to use email, remember that first email is key! 8 out of 10 people open a welcome email, that’s 4 times as many opens as any other email type!

Anything to add? 

We hope this has helped you with your planning for the new year! If you have found anything else has helped you drive customers to eat and drink with you at what are typically quieter times, and would like to share this advice, then please let us know at comms@rotaready.com!

On a final note, we’d like to wish you a very successful festive season and new year!

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