Turning Minor Holidays Into Major Events
While we’re sure you have things taken care of when it comes to big bar and restaurant holidays – St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, etc. – it’s important to keep in mind that there are wonderful opportunities to be had with the middling ones.
In fact there is a case to be made that the more obscure holidays are better suited for creating special events. For starters, potential customers are less likely to be tied up with other commitments with friends and families. In cases when the holiday can be connected to the personality of your business, it can be an ideal way to add an event to an otherwise sparse calendar.
How We Did It
A recent example of this was the way in which we celebrated National Trivia Day. Since we’re most well-known for our national network of trivia games hosted in bars and restaurants, we decided to treat the Jan. 4 holiday like a second Christmas.
On the NTN Buzztime Facebook page, we awarded multiple prize packs to our loyal fans throughout the day. We also got our staff involved by encouraging them to send us photos of their National Trivia Day celebrations. Awards were given out to the employees who displayed the most National Trivia Day spirit.
On the Buzztime Twitter account, we posted fun trivia tidbits every hour on the hour starting bright and early at 8:00 a.m. In our tweets, we used hashtags like #nationaltriviaday and #triviaday. Over a five-hour period in the afternoon, we also gave away multiple prizes based on trivia questions being answered correctly.
The result was a huge boost in interaction. On Twitter, we saw a tenfold increase from our normal social media participation.
How You Can Do It
If you decide that you want to turn a minor holiday into a major event at your bar or restaurant, you’ll want to go about it the right way.
1. Pick a Holiday
Target a holiday that you think will resonate with your customers. If you’re known for your decadent dessert menu, then celebrating National Chocolate Fondue Day might be for you. If you’re an Italian restaurant, consider celebrating National Tortellini Day by offering special promotions on tortellini dishes.
2. Plan Ahead
Making a minor holiday a major event takes some time. You can’t decide the day before National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day that you’d like to run a huge promotion. You’ll need to give yourself some time to really plan it out properly. It’d be a smart idea to review holidays a month ahead of time.
There are a number of good resources on the web for searching through lesser-known holidays. One of the better sites is The Ultimate Holiday Site. (Are you aware you just missed National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day? Or that Beer Can Appreciation Day and National Irish Coffee Day are next week?)
Another thing to consider in the planning period is how exactly you’re going to celebrate this holiday. Are you going to offer a special discount on your breakfast menu for National Waffle Day? Will this offer be a Foursquare special on that day or will customers need to mention the discount to receive it?
Or will you even go as far as requiring your customers to sing for their supper?
3. Promote, Promote, Promote
You’ve chosen a holiday in advance and have planned for it. Now it’s time to promote it. Are you going to fit it into your schedule for in-house marketing or will this only be advertised online? Decide what marketing medium is going to best reach your customer base and start promoting!