The challenges of the festive period for the hotel industry and how to deal with them

For some, it’s the most wonderful time of year but if you work in hospitality, Christmas can come with its own offset of challenges. Vanessa Jackman, group sales and marketing director at Valor Hospitality Europe gives her top tips for getting through the festive period with flying colours.

Plan, plan, plan

It’s often said Christmas gets earlier every year, with Christmas cards creeping into shops soon after the August Bank Holiday and lights going up in your local high street, but if you work in hospitality it’s never too early to start thinking about the festive period. At the beginning of each year, we always review the performance of all our hotels and what worked well during the previous few months. It’s then straight on to planning for the next one. Getting menus, artwork and events agreed early, will take away a lot of the stress later in the year.

Make it sparkle

As much as Christmas can be a boost for retailers and those in hospitality, it is also highly competitive. A hotel isn’t just competing for overnight guests; local customers and city day-trippers looking for a bite to eat or an after-work drink are crucial custom too. This can be a challenge, but this is the time of year to be creative. Whether your hotel stands out for its restaurant menu offering, special seasonal deals, decorations or events, it’s the ideal time to try something new.

Ultimately, guests value an experience and are looking for something that will make their Christmas magical and memorable. This year, at The Lock Kitchen & Bar at our DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds hotel, we’ve installed a unique tipi that will sit alongside the canal throughout the festive season. We take an innovative approach to our F&B offering and we’re always looking for new ideas to delight our guests and keep up with the high-street.

Superhero staff

Long hours and busy shifts can easily take the fun out of the festive period but taking care of employees is just as important as taking care of customers. Take time to properly brief your teams and listen to any feedback or suggestions they may have; communication is key to a happy workforce. Also, make sure their hard work is rewarded. Whether it’s a bonus in their January pay packet, extra time off during quieter periods or other perks that are of value to employees, going the extra mile here will help them to feel that their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Our Christmas plans are now all wrapped up for another year and we’re already thinking about Christmas 2018. But for now, we’re well on the way to enjoying another successful festive period at the 17 hotels in our UK portfolio.