Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal or data protection advice. Please always consult a knowledgeable professional advisor.
Retail and hospitality businesses naturally have periods that are extremely busy and quieter times too. Drawing in more customers in off-peak times can help with cash flow and your overall business success.
Tailoring special offers and exclusive discounts can help build the business and secure a loyal customer base, many of whom will then return, both at off-peak and peak times.
What does off-peak look like to your business?
Off-peak periods vary depending on the type of business, the location and the customer demographic. Generally, most hospitality and health and beauty businesses will be busier at the weekends than during the week. Catering fluctuates according to mealtimes and typically peaks at weeknights and weekends when most people aren’t working.
How to attract customers to restaurants and cafes
Providing exclusive special offers and discounts at off-peak times can help restaurants attract people who are free to eat out at those times but are choosing not to. Square for Restaurants software allows businesses to communicate these special offers to their customer base quickly and efficiently to increase sales during off-peak periods.
Deals and promotions can be wide and varied, ranging from loyalty points that are redeemable during off-peak hours to providing entertainment, such as a quiz on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon.
Early bird specials are an excellent way of drawing people in before the main evening dining period. A set menu that features discounted prices before 7pm can encourage people who may otherwise have dined at home to venture out and take advantage of the reduced prices. Daily specials can also entice people in on days of the week that would typically be quiet, such as a special offer on a popular menu item with added extras only available on a Wednesday evening – something like Wing Wednesday.
With Square software, restaurants can automatically collate data gathered from each sale, as customers input their information using the order and pay at table facilities. This means the business can reach out to their opted-in customer base to promote special offers through text or email. Businesses can also use social media channels, especially Facebook or Instagram, to expand the offers to new customers and increase sales during off-peak periods.
How to drive sales in your health and beauty business
Health and beauty businesses often find that the earlier days of the week are the quietest times. One way to resolve this is setting exclusive value prices for pre-booked appointments and walk-ins on Mondays and Tuesdays, or other periods of the week that are generally quiet.
Offering home visits on these days can also attract a wider demographic. With Square software, payments can be taken online at the time of booking or a portable contactless card reader can be taken to each appointment. Alternatively, an invoice can be generated for payment at a later date.
Working in partnership with other local businesses can also open new avenues. This could include offering special discounts to employees in the local area to drive sales during off-peak times or bundling services together with another local business to create an attractive package deal.
Digital booking systems that retain customer data facilitate flash sales. This means you can market last-minute appointment slots via email or social media to regular customers and potential new clients. With booking software that collects customer contact information, it takes seconds to set up and send an email to the entire customer database offering reduced rates for same-day services – appealing to your customer’s spontaneous side
How to increase bookings at your venue
Increasing bookings during low season involves analysing data to determine when this quieter period occurs and what type of customer is most likely to find off-peak offers attractive. A digital record of previous booking data can help with this, or even revisiting reviews.
Hotels and other holiday accommodation providers may find that offering discounted rates for off-peak times of year, such as late January, will attract customers during off-peak times. While bookings are quieter, venues can also improve the customer experience by being more flexible with things such as times for checking in and out or the minimum duration of stay. While it probably makes sense to allow a minimum of two or three nights for bookings in July, allowing people to take a single-night break in February at a discounted rate can fill rooms that would otherwise be empty.
Mid-week offers can also help draw in people who may otherwise wait for the weekends when there are already plenty of bookings. Throwing in a free meal or a third night free when two are booked Monday to Thursday can help entice new business.
Free eGift cards offered with each off-peak booking are an attractive offer too, such as a gift card for discounted meals in an on-site cafe at a campsite during a stay.
Partnering with other local businesses can, again, be another great way to improve the customer experience and draw more people into the local area. Package deals including hotel stays, restaurant bookings and tickets to a local attraction all appeal to bargain hunters who may be searching for off-peak activities. Listing local events and activities on the booking site helps reassure people that their potential off-peak break will be full of things to do and see.
Fill empty seats and appointments with special offers and incentives, keeping cash flow going even during off-peak times. This gives you the chance to entice, and delight, new customers, widening your customer base and encouraging valuable repeat business. repeat business.