What does the holiday season look like for the hospitality industry?
The festive Christmas holiday season is without a doubt one of the busiest times of the year for the hospitality industry.
With an astonishing 12 million people estimated to travel during the holiday season (and that figure was calculated three years ago!), hotels and restaurants across Asia consider this one of the year’s peak trading periods.
Beyond investing hours in designing elaborate seasonal décor and choosing the perfect Christmas tree to stand centreplace in the lobby, each institution also plans appealing promotional content in order to attract guests far and wide - and outshine their competitors.
A further boost to turnover is the growing trend of large businesses hosting grand dinner banquets at hotels, complete with Christmas catering and entertainment. In Singapore, as early as November, you can find budget-friendly Christmas buffet deals including a Champagne brunch or a scrumptious 24-hour roast turkey at the Novotel or Mercure on Stevens.
What kind of changes do hotels make to accommodate guests?
Small and large hotels alike must fine-tune their operations during this busy season in order to meet the increased demand. Adjusting staffing, taking holiday decoration inventory, and changing the menu at restaurants are some of the surface-level changes that are reflected in the month of December. What is often unrecognised is the vast work behind the scenes undertaken by marketing teams – expanding the hotel website, publishing content on social media pages and developing other promotional content to reflect the spirit of the season.
Digital promotions remain the go-to success story in the Christmas-season marketing book. Christmas-themed emails online promotions have taken the place of more traditional marketing mediums. Some hotels offer promotions where people have a chance of winning a discounted dinner at their fine-dining establishment or guests may compete for a spa reward at the center downstairs. Family discounts and Christmas games are common in the days leading up to December 25. The Millennium hotels and resorts group has special Christmas packages in locations across Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Penang, Jakarta and Manila. These include flexible rates, discounted dining opportunities and various other benefits.
The increasing use of technology in the Asian market
Connecting with customers via online space through emails and internet advertising can be a daunting task, but the dynamic nature of Asia’s hospitality market offers incredible potential for those who persevere. The ASEAN market continues to build consumption channels in order to accommodate the needs of the winter season. Guests arrive with certain expectations and a key tool for success has been cultivating customer loyalty. In this environment, the process of data collection and analysis allows hoteliers to learn more about guests and their preferences – so to provide them with the experience they desire.
Once there was an era when hotels asked guests to simply sign a guest book, providing basic details. But today, recording data through online follow-up forms, and email subscriptions can serve to connect the hotel industry with a broad global customer base.
In China, the use of mobile applications such as WeChat is boosting engagement with customers via digital platforms. WeChat is used by nearly 1 billion people and is now considered an essential part of any marketing strategy for companies targeting Chinese. This social-media platform is especially urgent today given China is projected to lead the Asian tourist market in the upcoming quarter.
Japanese chat-based platform LINE is a similar app which can be used to both collect data and circulate information. LINE is is commonly used in Thailand and has cut through in other Asian markets.
While this new and novel avenue faces major privacy challenges due to the differences in privacy laws and jurisdictions across the Asian region, it definitely has the potential to cut through to consumers, inviting people to enjoy indulgent menus and dazzling spaces to cater to people’s holiday needs.
Christmas-New Year is the season for those in the hospitality industry to embrace modern technology as the newest driving tool for the market. It is a tool which can be used not only to attract potential customers to exciting Christmas promotions, but also to inform the market of the latest features hotel and restaurant operators have to offer.