The government is planning to lift national restrictions on 2nd December, in time for Christmas. But how will this impact the leisure and hospitality industry? We take a look at the best ways the night-time industry can prepare for the festive season.
- Prepare… and prepare to adapt
It would be great to assume that Christmas will go ahead as planned. Your festive bookings will fill up fast, and you’ll be inundated with customers. However, as the tier system is introduced with almost 50% of the country in tier 3, we know many businesses will be facing a quieter Christmas. Whilst it may seem difficult to remain positive, you could start thinking about your alternatives. What are your options if last minute changes occur?
- Change up your menu
If you can’t go all out with a festive feast, why not try smaller plates or hampers for customers to take away? Work with local suppliers if you can, so you can spread the joy even further.
- Keep safety and risk management at the top of your Christmas list
You will already be ensuring health and safety at your venue is the top priority. But, with Christmas such a busy time of year, it could be easy to let standards slip. Make sure you regularly train your staff on following protocols and new procedures – particularly new or temp members of staff. You should also ensure signage throughout your venue clearly explains what’s expected of your customers. For example, is there a one-way system, or specific hand sanitising stations on site?
- Treat your staff
Christmas is a time for giving, after all. It’s not all about serving your customers. Your people matter a great deal, too. Whether it’s a personalised treat box or an extra bit of time off to say thank you for their hard work this year, you can make a big difference to team morale by offering a small gesture of goodwill.
- Give back to your community
Acts of kindness are being particularly noticed and appreciated during the pandemic. It’s a great time of year to think about how you and your team can help the community and get involved in your local area. Could you donate food or take part in local deliveries?
- Get your message out there
Whatever you’re doing over winter, make sure your customers know about it. Perhaps invest in paid social ads and certainly keep all marketing channels updated. That means spending a bit more time on social media, updating your website and sending our regular newsletters.
- Cover your venue
If things do take an unexpected turn this festive season, you must make sure you have the right insurance cover in place. If there have been any changes to your business operations, such as installing a gazebo or opening up a takeaway or delivery service you’ll need to let your insurer or broker know. That way, you’ve made a fair presentation of your risk and if the worst happens you have peace of mind that your insurance policy will step in and foot the bill.
- Outdoor dining and drinking may be an option
It’ll be colder than the summer months, that’s for sure. But hospitality and leisure businesses may still be able to offer outdoor experiences with the help of marquees and hired heaters.
- Diversify your offering
Most hospitality and leisure venues have had to do things a little differently during the pandemic. Christmas will be no different. A takeaway Christmas dinner or festive snack boxes are a great way to connect with customers even if you can’t welcome them to a premises. Don’t forget that Christmas gifts are big business, too. Collaborate with local suppliers to offer a gifting experience such as mixed beer case or cheese tasting kit. You could also sell gift vouchers so your loyal customers are able to visit you next year.
- Go digital
Think about key festive events such as Boxing Day or New Year’s Eve. Could you offer a digital experience for customers to enjoy with their families? Think whisky tasting experiences, a mini beer festival at home or a pizza making tutorial. There are plenty of ways for you to reach out to customers, even if they’re joining you from the comfort of their own sofa.
What are your plans for the festive season? Get in touch with the NDML team to let us know.