According to new data made available by ResDiary almost half of all the December 2022 bookings already made (43%) in restaurants and other hospitality venues around Australia have been snapped up by function and group booking organisers.
Based on data analysis, by Stefan Overzier, APAC Head of Customer Success and Support, ResDiary has drawn some key insights to assist all venues looking to generate higher returns from the 2022 holiday season.
Overzier has outlined four key ways that hospitality venues can optimise their overall performance using data informed planning, explaining “One of the reasons I love working at ResDiary is that it provides me with the opportunity to not only help restaurants digitise their processes for smoother operations, but to also turn the data they’re collecting into more targeted promotions and higher yields.”
- The majority of group bookings for December are already locked in* – so venues should be focusing on attracting smaller groups & couples looking to celebrate or dine out
As of early November, 43.7% of the December 2022 bookings already taken by ResDiary have been for groups of 6+ guests, but venues can now expect to see the ratio of group bookings to smaller sized bookings level out, as the month of December draws closer.
The two factors that demonstrate this are firstly that a higher percentage of group bookings are made further in advance than smaller bookings (42% of group bookings are made one week to twelve months in advance, compared to just 18% of groups of four or less).
Secondly data collected in 2021 demonstrated that by the end of December 2021, only 20% of bookings that month ended up fitting into the group booking category of 6+ diners and, while the percentage of total group bookings recorded by the end of December 2022 may end up varying slightly, if you factor in collective maximum capacity of our venues and overall population size the percentage is unlikely to fluctuate dramatically.
1. Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day bookings are generally made at least one month in advance, so promotions need to hit market now
Based on data from 2021, it’s expected that the bulk of the public holiday bookings for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day will be made more than one month in advance in 2022.
On average in 2021, 60.2% of bookings for these four special occasion dates were made at least one month prior. A further 25% of bookings come in on average 1-4 weeks prior to each Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Understanding this pattern of pre-bookings, restaurants and venues can be confident their bookings are on track if capacity sits at 60% of total bookings one month prior; and if at one week prior they had 85% of the bookings necessary to make Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day a financial success. This booking data insight should help hospitality owners and managers feel more confident about locking in staff on days where public holiday penalty/loading rates are required.
Additionally, by starting promotions for these key special occasion dates now, venues can lock these bookings in early, and move onto promoting themselves to more impromptu diners during the months of December and January.
2. Staffing events with certainty – group bookings almost twice as likely not to cancel last minute as smaller bookings
ResDiary data for 2022 shows that 33% of group bookings requiring cancellation gave at least one week’s notice. While smaller groups of 4 or less guests only 18.7% cancelled with at least one week’s notice. This is potentially due to those making group bookings having paid deposit or prepayment, with clear terms and conditions outlined for cancellations.
This greater certainty that group bookings are less likely to cancel at the last minute creates an opportunity to schedule staff further in advance, helping to avoid scenarios of being left scrambling last minute to find enough kitchen and floor staff to service your customers in times of peak demand.
But cancellations for group bookings still occur, so ResDiary suggests that venues always request a deposit or prepayment and keep a wait-list in their booking system for larger group booking requests. That way all the contact details will be at your fingertips allowing your team to hit the phones/email as soon as a group booking opening arises.
3. Fitting more bookings into the function season
Dinner is still the preferred booking session for groups, with current 2022 data showing a much higher number of groups booked in for dinner than for lunch in the month of December. ResDiary anticipates that venues should prepare for 50-60% more diners in groups during their dinner service than they will see for lunch service.
However, there is the opportunity to push functions to begin at the slightly earlier start time of 5pm or 5:30pm, both which are already becoming more accepted as a start time for dinner, which will help your venue to accommodate two group bookings sitting times per table each evening. Cheers to that!
The data box below shows the percentage of group dinner booking start times which are already locked in for December 2022.
6% of all group bookings are for 5:30 pm while 6pm is the most popular starting time with 10.28% of all group bookings
This data shows there is an opportunity for two seatings in the evening: if guests arrive at 5:30pm or 6pm, it opens up the possibility of a second seating starting 8pm or 8:30pm.
*To predict how many group bookings are yet to be made for December 2022, ResDiary compared total December 2021 group booking data to group bookings already made for December 2022, using diners in groups of 6+ as the sizing benchmark.
Digital traffic is the new foot traffic which means restaurants not taking online bookings are not only less visible to diners, but also missing out on the data that can be used to improve their marketing activities.
More than a booking platform, ResDiary is easy to implement and provides hospitality venues with greater insights into their customers’ behaviours, helping them make informed and profitable decisions, like the ones suggested above.
ResDiary was born from the desire to resolve the frustrations associated with the poor management systems available to hospitality venues in 2006. Fast forward to 2022 and ResDiary remains commission free, seats over 185 million diners each year and now comes with flexible ordering and payments, online bookings, table management, gift vouchers and more.
With a variety of pricing plans and Add-Ons, over 60 plus technology integrations and Australian based support, ResDiary provides hospitality owners and operators with the flexibility, assistance and insights they need to thrive.