In Vino Veritas LXI: Happy Winesday

By now, you’ve most likely put in place your food and drink promotional programs for the pending holiday season, and are seeing healthy returns on your efforts. However, this festive glut of revenues is too often followed by the traditional low season for many properties, both in terms of reduced guestroom occupancy as well as fewer locals coming out to support your auxiliary operations – F&B representing a sizeable contributor in this category.

As such, even with the holidays in full swing, it is time to think about what you will do to drum up sales for the coming winter months so that you always remain one step ahead.

Specifically for your restaurants, one common practice is to devote a given day of the week or period of each day (otherwise known as ‘happy hour’) to a special promotion, either in the form of unique offerings or unbeatable deals. While this a good start for boosting those slow midweek cycles, numerous other eateries already have these types of programs fully set up with established marketing engines. And when everyone else is running something like this, how will you stand out by directly imitating your competitors?

You can’t, not unless you change the rules slightly or design a promotion that is truly differentiated from what’s expected.

This brings us to the title of this article and its simple play on words – for which I am highlighting and expounding upon a very well-known example, although numerous other creative taglines like this are already out there for you to utilize. Whether your promotion actually falls on a Wednesday or not as ‘Winesday’ references, a catchy title alone can pay off through its heightened memorability, regardless of the customer savings on display.

Aside from the pun itself, a phrasing such as ‘Happy Winesday’ also implies a more elevated experience, one that’s a celebration worthy of this millennia-old beverage. To live up to this disguised expectation, you must think not just in terms of a monetary incentive such as ‘half off wine by the glass’ but in terms of how you can transform such a promotion into an experiential event.

While reduced prices on alcohol may spur someone to buy another round or have a glass with a meal when not originally intended, this by itself is not adding depth or another dimension to the overall dining experience. Hence, there’s only a modest boost to meal satisfaction and little word-of-mouth transference or increased appreciation for the parent hotel.

However, when you build a vino-centric calendar of events with, for example, small glass flights, tastings themed by growing region, supporting materials describing the flavor profiles or wine origins, thoughtful cuisine pairings, exclusive imports and even guided tasting by a professional sommelier, you are augmenting a promotion with customer education and activation of more sensory inputs than just taste.

Education is, after all, one small step away from appreciation. Adding in a morsel of the former will thus increase your chances of the latter. As well, all of the above examples will help make your wine event more dynamic and fun, thereby further increasing positive sentiments from participants. Whether you name your promotion ‘Winesday’ or something else not directly connoting wine immersion, the bottom line is that you should always look to complement any special offer with components that enhance its interactivity and its entertainment factor in order to realize its full potential.

To close, I would also emphasize that less is more. That is, it’s best to focus on fully developing one promotional event for a given day of the week than to try to create middling offers for every possible instance in the workweek or the entire month. Wine has and will always be a great tool in your arsenal to build your restaurant’s reputation, but you must do so prudently by starting slow and perfecting the entire experience of a single event before expanding the program.

(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, originally published in HotelsMag on December 12, 2017)


@