Valentine’s Day can encompass more than just a date night. It can be a celebration of love in all forms: romantic love, platonic love between friends, a chance to treat oneself and so on.
For hospitality venues, there may be an opportunity to target a broad (even unexpected) audience, which can lead to more bookings – and a higher table-occupancy rate – leading up to, and on, Valentine’s Day. Here’s a few reasons why Valentine’s Day is so important, and the benefits that can be found in embracing the date.
1) Because customers want to dine in
Holidays like Valentine’s Day mobilise patrons to dine out. While, historically, Valentine’s Day might have been suited to a particular type of restaurant and cuisine, there’s opportunities for a wide range of venues to join in on the festivities.
For instance, there are different Valentine’s Day traditions around the world, which might provide an opportunity to introduce guests to new cultural and social experiences. Gal-entine’s Day is perfect for venues that specialise in large bookings and share-platters, and these spots might be the beneficiary of annual traditions formed between friendship groups. Cafes and more informal venues might be good spots to advertise casual dates and individual dining experiences. There may be opportunities for pubs and bars to organise meet-up events, and for venues to expand their range, with hampers, bottles of wine and – if possible – an at-home dining experience.
There’s opportunities for venues to create new traditions, and expand their audience in the process.
2) Because there’s a willingness to spend
Many patrons are eager to go out, and treat themselves with an extra bottle of wine, dessert or more extravagant meal on Valentine’s Day. According to a 2021 Finder survey, Australians were expected to spend an average of $178 on Valentine’s Day, with an estimated $427 million to be spent at hospitality venues.
There’s a number of ways that hospitality venues can make the most of this enthusiasm. It might be through unique set-menus, minimum spend and – in order to provide customers with time to indulge, and to create a feeling of exclusivity – a limit on the number of covers for the day/evening.
A collective desire to splurge doesn’t come around very often, and there might be an opportunity for the venue to be a beneficiary.
3) Because it’s an opportunity to promote the venue.
Effective storytelling (through words, images, dishes etc) can be a great way to resonate with – and draw customers to – the venue. Dates like Valentine’s Day can also help to connect with customers via shared experiences.
It might be stories on social media that celebrate relationships with regulars or fellow staff members. Perhaps the date sparks the creation of a new dish, special or set menu. A creative or innovative approach might attract a feature article on promotional websites like Dish Cult, which can draw in a new audience.
Engagement with Valentine’s Day can enable the venue to become a destination venue for special occasions and events, and can provide a critical point of difference from competitors.
4) Because it may lead to returning customers
Valentine’s Day is an excellent opportunity to convert new customers into returning ones. It’s one of the first big events in the year, and – If all goes well – why wouldn’t guests return with their partner, or other patrons? Fully embracing Valentine’s Day might also help to produce long-lasting relationships, particularly if the venue is proactive via savvy use of their customer database.
There’s good reason for venues to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It might help new customers find the venue, those customers might spend more than usual on the date and they might be inclined to return. These holidays aren’t to be missed; capitalise on everything they have to offer.
Disclaimer: This guide is general in nature and does not take into account your individual circumstances. Before acting on any information, you should consider whether this is right for your business.
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