When will you start thinking about the festive season in 2022?

Once the Summer campaign is up and running?

When the baubles are safely packed away? Already started?

We suggest you ensure you are gathering data, materials, ideas and information throughout this festive campaign to be prepared for the departmental debrief and 2022 planning meeting.

Gather data and insights

Ensure that attribution data is created so you can look at the minutia of your tactics to not only adjust for this year but to learn for 2022.  Think about what information would have been useful to have had when planning this year and ensure you set up ways to capture it. For example if you don’t have a gift voucher offering, how many enquiries about gift vouchers did you get, so you can add this to your future business case.

Analyse your conversion rates and, if possible, understand why customers did not convert.  Look at all your touchpoints and see where you need to focus next year for improvement.

Claire Bell, Dorchester Collection suggests data capture as a key focus for marketers.  “Capture data now and focus on repeat bookings early in the new year with a great campaign to entice them back.”

Do your own hotel wide debrief and include people that were at the ‘sharp end’ – a member of the waiting staff, chefs and reception – to ensure that all perspectives are captured that affect your marketing for next year.  Were you meeting people’s expectations?  Were people lacking information on arrival or during their stay that could be shared next time?

If you are working with commercial partners, make sure you gather performance data that you can share with them and others you want to work with in the future.  Showing a potential partner the success you have had will make the decision for them to support you again much easier.

Keep an eye on the competition

Do a competitor sweep of brochures to analyse their packages and keep an eye on their digital outreach.  When did they go to market?  What are their key messages?

As part of this Beth Murrell, Marriott International suggests planning your keyword strategy now for 2022. “SEO is more of a long term strategy, so take some time to research your own USPs and what your competitors are utilising to see any gaps in the market and implement them now.”

What can you gleam about their strategy?  This is good to establish a trend over a number of years to see what is changing.

Social Media

Strong engagement on social media channels will hold you in good stead for 2022.

Consider your content from now to January, especially on Pinterest and Instagram, to gather new followers and engage them for next season.

Consider who your SM ambassadors are in the operation and prepare guidelines for them if necessary.  How can you capture the experience of the Festive Season at your hotel on social media?  Consider stories of the preparations and the special touches you have planned for guests. Brief the hotel team to capture shots for you that may be useful; maintenance putting up the decorations, groundsman in Santa hats or rows of turkeys and potatoes ready for roasting.

Build your marketing assets

Capture festive video and photography.  “Far too many hoteliers get to January and then realise that they haven’t taken any good quality photos or video of their Christmas decorations or Party Nights.”  says Martin Evans, The Tourism Business “Better to plan in advance and ask your photographer to pop round soon to discuss the best shots to take.  From people partying to festive food shots, and from a sprinkling of snow or frost on the ground to a soft-focus shot of the lights on the Christmas Tree, you can use any stills or video footage you take once you’ve put your decorations up, both throughout the month of December and also on next year’s marketing brochures, website and social media.”

Make sure you capture all the photographs captured by staff across the season and add to your library, with their agreement.

Think about how you can capture testimonials and reviews for use in marketing materials.  Remember to get approval for their use in this way.

If you are taking images of events, do you need to adjust your terms and conditions to make people aware that you are using images of events?  How can you do this if they are not already in your conditions for this year? And that goes for pictures of staff too, if it is not in their employment contracts, ensure they sign a release before you use them.

Build your database

Capture emails at all touchpoints to engage and nurture them for further visits. Outlet and event participants may be new to your hotel and may re-book next year, come back for a family event or stay for leisure. Consider an online or on table competition or prize draw or use a q code to help them enter quickly.

  • Capture prospects that didn’t convert and ask if they want to opt in to your regular communication or a special festive season list.
  • Early bird re-bookings – capture their imagination and incentivise them to book early for next year and that means thinking early about your festive theme.
  • Don’t tag them as Christmas guests only and wait until you launch your festive packages to market to them. Have a nurture campaign in January to follow up with them and immediately engage them in other news from the hotel.
  • That goes for sales leads as well.  What new companies have enquired about party nights and banqueting that could lead to other business?

Feel the love

And finally, people will be getting engaged.  “One thing we have seen throughout the pandemic is that engagement trends haven’t really deviated from the norm, Christmas and New Year being one of them” says Amy Brown, DHM Agency “January is one of the busiest, if not the busiest month for wedding enquiries and if your venue offers weddings you want to be ready for it for 2022 and 2023 bookings!”  Ensure you have brochures updated and/or enquiry forms at reception ready for people who enquire over the festive period and a schedule for prompt follow up in the new year.

Need to still fill space this year?  Check out our tips for filling Christmas 2021 and our previous Christmas Blog that has some great general tips that are still very relevant for planning.

Wishing you a safe and successful holiday season.


This has been written for the HMA by Andrea McKay, Amano Marketing and with thanks to the contributors.

Copyright HMA 2021. All rights reserved.