The “Happy” Occasion, Part II

The Happy OccasionLast post I claimed “F&B Directors: if you’re promoting the same specials and menus to all of your Happy Hour guests, you’re missing revenue opportunities.” And I explained why a hotel Happy Hour is a multi-occasion marketing challenge. This week’s blog breaks it down.

Let’s be strategic for a moment and lay it out. The chart below demonstrates that the offering itself as well as the means of marketing should differ for your different occasion targets.

Of course there’s one more marketing issue to address: what about collateral in the lounge itself? Consider merchandising that entices your happy hour guests to try your restaurant. Think like your customer, what might persuade a happy hour customer to try the restaurant? The after-work customer might be swayed by a nicely packaged to-go offering. The pre-dinner guest by convenience? Excitement?

And what of the happy hour offer details? I don’t recommend discounting with dollars off or percentage off offers. If your value message is “we’re inexpensive” it may be inferred, albeit incorrectly, that you are overpriced at other times, and/or you are not a “quality” establishment. And this could rub off on the hotel, so think twice about it.

Consider a unique offering with special prices.

Special menus mean a little bit more work. But a happy hour menu with authentic values, not offered at other times, can really help you target. An example of a non-discount happy hour offering might be “premium brand beers and cocktails at House brand prices”. Nice to get your customers used to the premium labels as well. The food portion of the menu might be geared to the after-work or after-meetings crowd, as suggested above, while the beverage specials might have the hotel guest in mind. Of course all of your other offerings remain available at regular price.

So, get Happy, and get strategic. Don’t plan for Happy Hour – plan for Happy Occasions, and develop offers and marketing that work for those occasions.