Thanksgiving Special 2015

The shopping spree that is Black Friday is a fascinating beast, and it’s a fun study, as its trends and dollar figures change dramatically year-over-year. The Cyber Week – as it is often called these days – for 2015 nonetheless stands as a good opportunity for you to help a few more rooms directly from your website, even if electronic goods and retail are top of mind for this spending period. Hopefully by writing this early in the month there is enough time for you to act.

The big question on my mind is: Has the fad faded? As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Black Friday is now synonymous with Cyber Week – “cyber” because of the rampant increases in online sales versus in-person, and ‘week’ because of how marketers have stretched the savings from one 24-hour period to a whole seven days. There’s Cyber Monday, Green Monday and even Red Cranberry Thursday. I even proposed creating a second Black Friday two years ago as an event solely for guestroom sales. With so many differentiated retail terms, the actual Friday that is the day after Thanksgiving has become substantially watered down.

As this dilutive trend is bound to continue for 2015, you stand to benefit from knowing where it’s all headed. Firstly, apply the “early bird gets the worm” adage. You might be better served by offering a deal on Red Cranberry Thursday or Pumpkin Pie Preparation Wednesday, then waiting for that marquee weekday when shopper fatigue may have already set in. Another option is to design differentiated offers for each day of Cyber Week, thereby giving each deal a strong semblance of exclusivity.

And speaking of shopper fatigue, every marketer on the planet will be designing some sort of enticing e-blast or electronic advertisement. How will you stand apart from all the white noise, especially when buying leisure guestrooms aren’t top of mind? To start, keep your Black Friday promotions exceedingly simple and use attention-grabbing colors without any slow-loading graphics. Next, instead of temporally shifting your marketing efforts, consider instituting a behavioral trigger so that you get eyeballs when the eyelids haven’t already shut.

For this all talk of e-marketing, another critical trend to note is that Black Friday has gone mobile. In fact, mobile is on the cusp of surpassing desktop, tablet and in-person purchases combined. While the majority of shoppers research, cross-compare store prices and strategize well in advance what they are going to buy, many still wake up from their turkey comas and scratch their heads saying, “Oh yeah; it’s Black Friday. Let’s buy something.”

Despite all the planning, mobile is vital to your sales success, whether it’s to meet the demands of impulsive shoppers, those who prefer to spend while on the go, or family members who are price hunting from their smartphones as part of their second screen experience to their NFL main event up on the 70” LED. My advice: Test your mobile experience, ensuring that it functions perfectly and loads quickly, especially during peak usage times.

Getting back to offer design, what I’ve repeated in the past is that you never promote solely only on price. That leads to commoditization over the long-term, and in the short run it won’t attract the type of customer you want, instead appealing more to those who live in perpetual trial mode. If your Black Friday special is a glorified room discount, what separates it from a routine search on the OTAs any other day of the week?

The key word to remember here is “packaging.” Bundle room nights with spa products, F&B vouchers, golf/sports options, amenity additions or any other value-add. Build your packages to be loaded with features so that at a glance, consumers feel as though they are getting their money’s worth.

Moreover, think about what you hope to sell and whether that aligns with what consumers are looking for on Black Friday. Are people browsing your offers with the hope of landing that whimsical holiday getaway? Or are they searching for a great deal on a vacation to alleviate the doldrums of winter? With most retail deals maxing out in the mid-triple digits, how are you going to persuade frugal shoppers to spend big? Find out what entices customers most during this peak and respond with offers that coincide with their Black Friday-primed mindsets.

There’s a lot to consider come turkey time, and with the new marketing term of “October is the new December” in full effort, you better get underway. May the best hotel win. Happy gobble gobble, everyone!