Holiday Promotions You've Never Thought of Before

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The ho-ho-holidays are almost here. But any day of the year can be a time for celebration (and new business) in the nightclub, bar, and restaurant industry.

What is a holiday, anyway? One dictionary defines it as “a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” Of course, you know that the last part of that sentence only applies to guests – you have to work pretty damned hard to deliver those days (and nights) of festivity and recreation.

You’re gearing-up now for the November/December holiday season, but you should also be thinking about what to do the other 360-plus days of the year to attract customers once the jingle bells have stopped ringing. Planning all kinds of festivities can be fun and profitable, and establish your brand as unique.

  1. Google “Weird Holidays” and you’ll come up with sites like this one to get your creative juices flowing.
  2. Keep on top of special events in your neighborhood and invent venue-specific promotions to take advantage of the crowd surge.
  3. Or, make up your own holiday and promote it via social media channels and merchandising. Consider, as an example, SantaCon. It started small in 1994 and it’s now a global activity, with its own dedicated website of locations and extensive media buzz.


Talking Turkey & Other Holiday Cheer

First, let’s get through the next couple of months. Make sure your holiday marketing and menu are well planned and that you have enough staff lined up. Refresh yourself with these tips and tie your efforts together with seasonal community activities.


February 1 is HoundGrog Day - Unique bar holidays
Image: the ONswitch marketing

Starting the New Year off Strong

After the New Year buzz wears off and before Valentine’s Day draws in bar lovers, take advantage of sports (Super Bowl) and entertainment events on TV (e.g., Oscars) and create themed menus around screen times. Two years ago, Jim D’Arcangelo (Nightclub & Bar contributor and my collaborator on many articles) created Hound Grog Day, an excuse on February 1 to get through the winter blues and wish for spring. You can even declare a day Summer in Winter Day and get customers in the mood for sun and surf.


Springing into Action & Cures for the Summertime Blues

Spring breaks, vacations, and outdoor celebrations draw in new customers. Many nonprofits are fundraising during the spring season, so if you have a larger space, make your venue available for their groups.


Falling into Place

Leverage harvest time to feature brands from local farmers and manufacturers. Celebrate parents with an evening “back to school” relaxation event. And, of course, when the moon is full you’ll be celebrating Halloween with your own special “witches brew” and themed festivities.

Find more seasonal promotion ideas here.

Whether you’re celebrating National Craft Month (March) by hosting knit and wine circles or Pi Day (March 14th) by leading math games, eating pie, and serving Pi-ña Coladas or pie-inspired cocktails, here are some basic holiday planning principles:

  1. Pick your holidays or “fauxlidays.” Choose themes that will be popular with your current guests as well as the people in your community.
  2. Engage your creative employees in brainstorming ideas and assign tasks. Think about your menu, custom cocktails, nonprofit tie-ins, and even costumes.
  3. Create a tight plan for promoting the holiday celebration via conventional marketing and social media. Reach out to the groups you’ve identified in steps 1 and 2 to help promote the celebration(s).
  4. Take lots of pictures during special events and share them online, using a custom hashtag.

Even if you’re not hosting special events at your bar, club or restaurant, keeping on top of obscure holidays will give you lots of new ideas for your social media posting.

Happy holidays, 365 days a year!

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