Planning for Black Friday 2014

Nowadays, Black Friday might as well be considered a fundamental element in our Thanksgiving traditions. Hordes of eager shoppers rush to their favorite stores while retailers are more than happy to lure in this cash-laden army with deals. Every company does something for Black Friday — it’s almost compulsory.

The question is: if all of your comp set and every other hotel are already involved, how do you cut through the noise and actually stand out? Here are four ideas:

1. Packages not based on price

The most commonly used promotion for Black Friday is your basic discount, either in the form of a percentage off or raw deduction off the nightly rate. Again, if this is what everyone else is bound to do, then you’ll have a much harder time drawing consumers’ eyeballs — unless, of course, you have slashed a preposterous amount off (which I don’t recommend). Rather, package together your most popular perks under a catchy title.

2. Exclusive offerings

Give customers something they can’t find anywhere else or a package not previously offered to the public. This isn’t a task for only the marketing department; it requires input and approval from several directors. For instance, your Black Friday offering could be a couples retreat including a two-night stay (at regular rate) with a specially created couples spa treatment and a dinner for two. I’d also suggest you take advantage of your local area or unique onsite features with whatever promotion you assemble.

3. Appeal to a very specific group of people

We no longer live in a society where you can reach the entirety of the 18-49 golden age range. Instead, you must drill down to precise demographic and psychographic clusters. And there’s plenty of latitude here. A Baby Boomer golf package will be different than a golf promotion aimed at young professionals. A spa package aimed at women between the ages of 18 and 25 won’t be the same as one meant for couples between the ages of 35 and 55. Review where the majority of your past guests and viewers of your website are coming from, and then look to appeal to them.

4. Unorthodox methods of distribution

Every organization will undoubtedly be using social media and electronic newsletters to tell their fans about their Black Friday offers. And for good reason — both allow for a direct call to action via hyperlinks to your website and booking engine. While I’m not recommending you abandon these channels, you must take into account consumer perceptions if you are simply going with the flow. Take a bit of risk in how you raise awareness, either through inventive advertising or maybe through some “old-school” tactics like in-person word of mouth or physical pamphlets.