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7 Holiday Marketing Tips for Catering and Event Planning Businesses

The holidays are a time of cheer, joy, and seemingly endless shopping and events. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, schedules are packed and clients are whipping out their credit cards. If you're a catering or event planning business, you should seize upon the opportunity that December represents to bring a festive edge to your marketing efforts. Get your holiday sales sizzling with these marketing ideas!

1. Leverage Current Clients
While parties are a huge part of the holiday season, so is giving back. Why not “give back” to your clients (and encourage them to keep coming!) with a holiday-themed event, discount, or campaign that shows them how much you appreciate their business? While a fun time of year, the holiday season can also be very stressful, and a strain on people's pocketbooks. Clients really appreciate it when a business goes out of its way to show a little love to the people who keep them running.

Send an email to thank current clients and tell them about your holiday events, specials, or loyalty programs.


2. Charity Events
Speaking of giving back, holiday events are plentiful during December and so it the spirit of charity! Get your name out in the community by donating or offering your services to local charity events.

Food, coat, and clothing drives are all popular during the winter season. If you're working an event as a vendor that is hosting one of these drives, send an email to your current clients that you'll be collecting donations for this event. Don't see any drives in your area, start your own! This is a great way to be charitable toward those less fortunate while growing your brand.


3. Put on a Holiday Referral Contest 
Another great idea is to introduce a holiday-specific referral contest. Even if you already have a referral program, a holiday-themed referral contest can bring yuletide glitz to your referral outreach. Offer an attractive prize to the person who refers the most customers to your business, and supply a few smaller prizes for second and third place as well. The holidays are a time when people are swapping insider tips on where to get the best deals and the coolest gifts. Take advantage by giving your customers added incentive to spread the word about your business.

Related: 50 Holiday Marketing Ideas


4. Host a Themed Get Together
Everybody loves a good party. Host an open house or similar event for regular clients to thank them for their loyalty. Make it an exclusive “insiders” event so your clients feel like VIPs. Offer samples of your latest offerings or other goodies to sweeten the deal, and leverage your attendees by getting their input on your products and services! This valuable feedback can help you improve your sales.

Lastly, be sure to encourage your clients to take pictures and post to social media! One clever way of doing so is introducing a special hashtag for the event, such as #[businessname]VIP or something holiday themed. Consider hiring or bartering with a professional photographer who can take photos of guests and the event itself. This will provide you with ample material to spread across your social media platforms.


5. Offer Pre-Book Sales
As you well know, catering and event planning ebbs and flows throughout the year. Just because post-holiday may be your business's off-season doesn't mean you can't benefit from offering holiday specials. Offer special discounts to clients who book now for spring. This not only helps your business by securing events in the spring, but it makes it easier for your clients as well.

Related: 2018 Marketing Calendar


6. Holiday Specials with Other Businesses
Another great way to encourage spending this season is to pair up with other small businesses. The holidays make people hone in on deals, so conveniently packing your services together for a great deal is a great way to encouraging spending. This works best with similar businesses or businesses that naturally go well together. For example, if you own a cake company, you could pair up with a local flower shop to offer a “flower and cupcakes” package. Such packages make great treats for individuals and gift recipients alike!


7. Host Classes or Tutorials
Few things are as simultaneously enriching and relaxing as a cooking or other skills class. When it's wintery out, few activities are as cozy as gathering with others for an exclusive class. Your clients will love it, and it'll be a great way to get them to engage with you.

Offer classes related to the products you sell. If you are a florist, host a flower arrangement class, for example. If you are a bakery or catering company, you can host a series of classes, all with different themes—for example a sushi-making class, or a cake-decorating class.

While you can host classes for free, don't forget that they can be a great source of extra revenue as well. Outside the holidays, offer a free trial class, and provide additional frequent specials to encourage sign-ups.

Bring Extra Cheer to Your Holiday Season
Don't miss out on the excitement of the holidays this year. By utilizing even just a few marketing strategies above, you can increase your holiday sales by exponential amounts. With the magic of the season, you'll find upward trends in your revenue. A very merry season indeed! 

Brought to you by NACE Partner, ThriveHive, If you'd like to learn more about how we work with small businesses at ThriveHive, get in touch with us here to schedule a demo.