Deck the Halls

A handy Christmas checklist for independent hoteliers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year once again; the time when many people are looking for a hotel break as an alternative to their usual Christmas routine, or planning their accommodation while visiting friends and family over the festive period.

You’ve no doubt already got bookings for December and started making preparations months ago. But in the rush to prepare for the holidays – not to mention the usual day-to-day rush of running a hotel – it’s easy to end up missing something.

That’s why we’ve created this handy checklist for small hotels and B&Bs – print it out, pin it to the reception wall and tick them off as you get ready!

⬜  A tree

Let’s get the most obvious item out of the way first! Your tree should become the focal point of your hotel over the December period, which means you’ll need to think about:

  • buying the tree (unless you still have a plastic one in storage from last year – check it’s still in good condition first!)
  • when you’ll be putting it up (the first week of December is often best, but keep in mind that a real tree has a limited shelf life)
  • where you’ll be placing it
  • what decorations you’ll be adding and how they’ll be arranged

⬜  Decorations

It’s not just the tree that needs decorating. Think about how you can spruce up the rest of your hotel too – for example, you might want to place a miniature tree on each floor of the hotel, or perhaps a sprig of holly on each guestroom door.

Be sure to pick out decorations which match with your hotel brand. Tinsel might be a nice addition for a cosy family-run B&B; but it might look rather out of place if you’re positioning your hotel as a boutique place to stay.

⬜  Your Christmas packages

What makes staying at your hotel on Christmas Day any different from a regular stay? Why should customers choose your hotel to stay with over the holidays?

Ideally, your Christmas offering should be finalised and promoted months in advance – but it’s not too late to start planning the day’s events, activities and offers to give your guests the best experience.

Depending on the kinds of clientele you’re looking to attract, your festive packages might include:

    • a themed breakfast and lunch
    • a Santa visit (perfect for bringing smiles to younger guests and their parents)
  • a wine tasting session for mulled wine and festive-themed cocktails
  • additional Boxing Day events (great for encouraging extended stays)

⬜  Food & drink

Are your refrigerators stocked with enough festive goodies to last you the season? Make sure you’ve allocated enough ingredients for your chefs to fulfil your Christmas menu – you certainly don’t want to be turning diners away on the 25th!

Don’t forget to consider the logistics of switching from your regular menu to your Christmas menu. You’ll need to carefully balance the availability of regular dishes, the delivery window of your Christmas supplies and the limited storage space you have to keep everything in. (And of course, you’ll need to plan for switching back to your standard menu once the festivities are over!)

Any vending machines, guestroom mini bars and lobby fridges should be topped up too. Why not supply each room with a few mince pies – or perhaps a carrot for Rudolph?

⬜  Staff

Hopefully you should have sorted out who’ll be working the Christmas shift long in advance – but if not, it’s time to start scheduling now!

Even if you do have enough staff to cover the holiday season, it’s still a good idea to have some reserves on call. You never know if your scheduled team members might have to let you down; either due to bad weather, illness,

⬜  Marketing

You might have planned the perfect Christmas package; but do you have the marketing resources ready to promote it? Remember, Christmas isn’t just a time to promote this year’s celebrations – it’s also an opportunity to convince future guests to book with you for next Christmas.

Among other things, you’ll need to consider:

  • festive-branded materials for guestrooms (such as door hangers, keycard holders, room menus and more – these will need to be printed and supplied before the big day)
  • photography services (important for capturing pictures and footage which you can use for next year’s marketing)
  • your digital marketing (including Christmas-themed content published throughout December)

⬜  Your Christmas playlist

And lastly; it’s not a Christmas party without music! Whether your brand is more Bing Crosby, Band Aid or Boney M, make sure you have a well-stocked playlists of festive-themed songs ready to go.

Depending on the size of your hotel, you might even consider playing different songs in different areas of the hotel. For example, dining areas could be accompanied by gentle, heartwarming songs, while the more cheesy and bouncy tunes could be reserved for lounge and party room areas.

For more hospitality tips and tricks, keep checking back for all the latest blog posts – or to order your custom-printed festive keycard wallets in time for the holidays, call us on 02380 878030 today!

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