Tips to make Black Friday profitable

Revenue 18/11/2020

November 27, 2020, in just two short weeks, is Black Friday.

This annual event, traditionally set on the day following the fourth Thursday in November, the day after Thanksgiving in the US, somehow kicks off the Christmas sales season.

One accepted explanation for its origins lies in businesses' accounts, where the term "black" signifies the shift from financial losses (red) to gains (black) due to increased sales volume on that day.

Considering that 2020 has been the blackest year we can remember, it's unlikely we can help change the color of your accounts. However, we hope to raise awareness that, now more than ever, it's crucial to capitalize on every opportunity at our disposal.

Current circumstances will undoubtedly shape the steps you decide to take, as we'll explore shortly. However, that doesn't mean there are no alternatives. It simply implies that you'll need to adapt your business strategies to the context we find ourselves in.

Domestic Market and Flexible Cancellation

This first recommendation has become almost a constant in recent months. The cause has a name: uncertainty. The uneven evolution of the pandemic globally, even in our own country, makes it challenging to predict possible scenarios. Currently, most autonomous communities are closed off, restricting movement even between municipalities. Still, with hope that these mobility restrictions will gradually ease, it seems reasonable to focus on the domestic market, as indications suggest movement within borders may resume sooner than international travel.

It goes without saying that non-refundable rates make no sense now, as they embody the classic "bread for today, hunger for tomorrow" scenario. It's time to be flexible, convey security and trust, and facilitate cancellations, even if they are unwanted. Without the certainty of travel, the only thing that will encourage potential guests to book is the reassurance that they can request a refund or, alternatively, postpone their getaway if current regulations prevent travel.

Black Friday, Black Weekend, Black Week

Our second recommendation is to continue making it easy for the traveler. One way to do this is not to be too rigid when setting the Booking Window. While Black Friday is a specific day, November 27, it doesn't mean we should limit our offers and promotions to that day only. Extending the date range will increase the chances of more potential customers learning about the advantages associated with Black Friday, translating into more bookings. Common practices include referring to the Black Weekend, Black Days, or even the Black Week. You have the perfect excuse to justify positive disparities during the time you deem appropriate.

Offer What You Want to Sell

Days like Black Friday have traditionally been useful for filling gaps, promoting the sale of rooms that might be harder to sell, or boosting certain extras or additional services through specially created offers. Unfortunately, in the time of Coronavirus, occupancy levels are at a minimum, so this third recommendation may have different applications or may not make much sense for certain establishments.

Nevertheless, perhaps the most sensible approach is to tailor your offers to focus on aspects of the hotel that will bring you greater revenue, despite the discounts. Therefore, never lose sight of the fact that it may be interesting to restrict your promotions to specific room types, specific meal plans, certain additional services, or the use of promo codes.

Don't Deceive

Dates like Black Friday are often associated with impulse buying processes: "I hadn't planned to travel, but I came across this irresistible offer." But there's also a profile of customers who know all the Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, Halloweens, Valentine's Days, etc., of the year, and patiently wait for them to book their getaway or decide on their vacations.

Be very careful not to falsify offers. Your customers are not naive and know perfectly well what prices you offered before and what prices they expect to find now. It's better to offer a real 5% discount than a false 40% reduction; we know this from experience. What your buyers need least now is skepticism.

Let Everyone Know

The first distribution chain to launch a Black Friday campaign in Spain in 2012 was MediaMarkt. Since then, the popularity of this day has continued to grow, especially in online shopping realms. Hotels have also embraced the "I'm not foolish" approach, riding this consumerist wave like any other commerce profile. As a result, during these dates, they all face an intense competitive landscape, requiring greater communication efforts. If you can afford it, spare no effort:
  • Optimize your website with sliders, popups, banners, sections, content generation to improve your SEO, etc.
  • Invest in specific Google Ads campaigns.
  • Ensure that no one escapes the booking process without being aware of your offers; use it as an additional showcase.
  • Use newsletters to reach your entire database and take the opportunity to build loyalty through segmentation. Don't you think your customers deserve preferential treatment during Black Friday?
  • Reinforce all these actions by adding voice channels to your strategy: outgoing campaigns, pre-stay calls, SMS campaigns, etc.

No Data, No Paradise

Black Friday can be very interesting and profitable... or not. You'll only be sure if you can measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. For this reason, make sure that your Business Intelligence collects all the information regarding the offers and promotions you launch in a separate section. This date may reveal itself as a great opportunity, one that you should continue to exploit in the future, or as a terrible fiasco not worth dedicating more resources than usual.

Some Offer Suggestions
  • Flash Offer 1
    • Discount: At least 15% or 20%
    • Stays: 2021
    • Cancelation: Flexible
    • Booking Window: Oct 25 - Oct 30 (3 days before and after)

  • Flash Offer 2
    • Discount: Around 30%
    • Stays: 2021
    • Cancelation: Semi-flexible (with prepayment and the possibility of postponing, not canceling)
    • Booking Window: Oct 25 - Oct 30 (3 days before and after)

  • Free Upgrade Offer
    • Gift: Breakfasts, pensions, room upgrades, etc.
    • Examples: Superior at the Standard price, Free Views, Half Board or Full Board at the Bed and Breakfast price, etc.

  • Extended Stay Offer
    • Discount: Minimum extra 20%
    • Minimum Stay: 7 nights or more
    • Cancelation: Flexible

  • Black Week Offer
    • Various non-combinable offers
    • Booking Window: 1 week (before or after Nov 27)
    • Examples: 15% off, 20% for more than 3 nights, 7 nights Full Board vs. Bed and Breakfast, etc.
    • The system will apply the most beneficial offer.