Have you planned your Black Friday?

Black Friday (and Cyber Monday that follows) are the biggest shopping days of the year, and as such there’s a lot of noise. Everyone is in on the action, and if you can’t make yourself conspicuous to consumers in a unique way, then the noise will drown you out.

Think game theory. If all properties are playing the same game, then you’re competing against everyone else. Differentiate yourself from the herd and watch your competition dwindle. You can distinguish yourself on promotions offered, either in the form of humungous room-rate reductions or through packages that fully leverage all aspects of your hotel (spa, gym, F&B, etc).

Personally, I’m not inclined to believe that aggressively slashing the price is the best approach as it will eat away at your margins. Plus, differentiating on price instills a bad perception in the long run (read: commoditization). I prefer the more tactful art of building a promotional package with a few extras that are exclusive to Black Friday. These sorts of exclusivities should be designed to capture the essence of your property and take advantage of what makes it special.

Now that this shopping extravaganza has reached near pandemic levels of fervor, you can consider temporal differentiation. Do you make your offer available only on the Black Friday or the Cyber Monday, or do you leave it online throughout the intervening long weekend? You can even apply the adage of “the early bird gets the worm” and launch a campaign promoting a pre-Thanksgiving promotion available on the Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday preceding this U.S. turkey fest.

So, have you begun planning your Black Friday sales event? If not, start tomorrow.

I raise this question now instead of two weeks before the actual date because it takes time to get the ball rolling. Offers must be tabulated, websites have to be reconfigured and marketing campaigns have to be distributed. Moreover, it takes time for an ingenuous sales idea to present itself. Like static electricity, flashes of creativity take time to charge before they spark.

Your first action should be to form a committee and decide on the decisive broad strokes — what days will you offer, and are you opting for the price discount route or the grand package? Decide on these fast so you can get down to the nitty-gritty of injecting life into your Black Friday sizzler and coordinating your release strategy. Best of luck!