Getting back to normal… how are you doing yours?

Plan B restrictions eased midway through January and, if you didn’t already know that, a quick glance at the streets of central London on Saturday night would’ve told you as much almost immediately. The bars were packed, the restaurants were full, and those who couldn’t find seats were standing, waiting patiently for them to become available. There was definitely a festival vibe in Soho – and I can only assume similar scenes could be seen all around the country.

Although critics argue that the governments’ precautions have been lifted a little early, it is hard to deny the benefits that come from high streets and city centres up and down the country being able to throw off the shackles imposed on them by self-isolation, social distancing, and mask rules. January is a tough month at the best of times, for both consumers and businesses – movements such as dry January and the newly-coined Veganuary mean that customers are less happy to splurge, whilst the aftermath of Christmas and New Year means that people generally have less money to spend. Nobody expects January to be the most lucrative month, and so most businesses baton down the hatches until February arrives.

And it has finally arrived. With the end of winter in sight, things are starting to look up a bit for everybody; not least of all, the business owners in our industry, who really have been through the ringer over the last two years. The general mood seems to be one of impatience; impatience to regain control of our social and professional lives. People want to get out again and continue their lives as normally as possible. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to give yourself and your business a little end-of-January boost; after all, why not make the most of your customers’ improving mood?

There are plenty of ways you can spread a little February joy in the lives of your customers – and give yourself a little extra profit to boot.

  1. Special offers and discounts

Winter sales aren’t just for the retail sector! Nothing makes people feel better than if they leave your business thinking that they got themselves a bargain, so why not introduce a special offer or discount of some sort? There are many ways you can do it – buy one get one free, offers on specific items, or even a flat rate discount on everything in-venue. People love discounts, and it’s a great way to encourage people to try outside their comfort zone, and we all tend to frequent places we’re familiar with, because we know we’ll get the best value for money there. The beauty of offers and discounts is that it gets customers through your door – it’s only once they’re in that you can work on making them stay longer, or even return – again and again, hopefully with friends in tow next time!

2. Make the most of special events

You’d be forgiven for thinking that, now Christmas is over, there’s no real holidays until Easter. Well, you’d be wrong. There are plenty of events coming up over the next month or so – Valentine’s Day is next week, half term is only a few weeks away, and why not get in the spirit for National Tortellini Day on the 13th? Only joking – although National Tortellini Day is real, you can Google it… Most businesses have something planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but why not make the day more inclusive, and invite your single customers in-store as well to treat themselves to something nice? There are so many ways to market yourself in the lead up to events such as half-term and Valentine’s Day, so unless you want your customers to head elsewhere, it’s time to start planning.

3. Encourage larger bookings

It feels almost alien saying this after the last two years of our lives have turned out, but now we’ve moved back to Plan A, it’s going to start being possible to accommodate larger bookings – from birthday parties to corporate events – at your venue or outlet. There’s no time to waste, as many companies have had to put off office Christmas parties until Work from Home guidance abate, and many children have had increasingly disappointing parties over the last few months, so they’ll all be keen to get booking as soon as possible! Having larger bookings coming in is a great feeling, and it provides your staff with something to work towards. To stop your business becoming overwhelmed by the influx in demand, it might be best to implement some kind of booking system for your customers, either online or on your very own app.

We’ve got a few ideas about where you could find a fantastically versatile and multi-faceted booking system, if we do say so ourselves…

Words by Rebecca Clayton