Small businesses need to grab every opportunity possible to attract customers and ‘holidays’ (in the all-American sense of the word) can be very profitable.
Without Christmas and Valentine’s Day the UK economy would probably collapse and as Halloween has become a near national institution, many SMEs are cashing in on the creepy fun.
Successful marketing plays to desire and as everyone likes to dress up and get a little bit scared, Halloween is the perfect time to pull in the punters.
Here are five businesses that are perfect for making the most of the petrified pound:
On Halloween night, the streets are full of folk that are all dressed up with nowhere to go. So how do you make sure they come to your bar rather than anyone else’s? Hosting a Halloween party is a popular idea and many pubs now hire a DJ to play spooky tunes, serve cocktails that resemble potions and really go to town with the cobweb spray and decorations.
Selling tickets in advance and promoting the event through all possible media will ensure a healthy profit on the night.
However, if you really want to stand out, try thinking a little more creatively. Take Shoreditch’s The Book Club for example. This Halloween they are playing host to a curated evening entitled ‘We are the Weirdos, Mister’. Inviting people to attend in goth-rock attire, the night is inspired by cult 90’s witch-flick ‘The Craft’.
The film will be shown at 6pm alongside a jewellery making workshop where guest can create their own pentagram necklaces and crucifix chokers. The evening will end with an ‘immersive club night’ with make-up artists on hand by the dancefloor with lashings of black eyeliner and purple lipstick so revellers are ready to attend the ‘Sacrificial Altar Photo booth’.
That’ll beat a snake-bite and black and The Monster Mash any day.
Despite the inevitable ‘Do me a Mortiticia’, hairdressers can expect a lot more Halloween business from their clients these days. Many customers will be dressing up for parties or even trick-or-treating with their kids, so why not offer special Halloween hair-dos or treatments on the day itself?
Salon Software providers, Phorest, offer a wealth of marketing ideas on their blog including holding a Halloween costume contest (win a free treatment) and offering spooky face-painting for kids whilst parents have a treatment/hairdo. They even provide a playlist for the salon sound system.
If you run loyalty rewards throughout the year, why not give away some ‘treats’ at Halloween in return for recommending a friend? Salon workers shouldn’t miss this opportunity to dress up and early marketing of all promotions is a must.
Not to be outdone, our four-legged friends can also jump on the Halloween bandwagon.
With pet grooming parlours/outfitters becoming the norm on our highstreets, rather than a Californian anomaly, doting dog owners are enjoying an outlet for their need to indulge.
So if the kids are putting on their best witch and vampire costumes for the annual romp around the streets, then why not the family pooch?
Listed on TimeOut’s fun things to do at Halloween is taking your dog to the Kensington and Chelsea branches of Pet Pavillion for a makeover. Costumes include Dracula, Yoda and Batman and also on sale will be goodie bags of doggie treats to hand out at the door so that our canine friends won’t feel left out of the fun.
And you needn’t be a pampered-pet parlour in West London to reap these seasonal rewards – any regular pet shop can follow suit.
For those of us who prefer a more civilised approach to fright night, a Halloween inspired meal out might appeal.
Restauranteurs should make the most of the event to ensure all tables are booked, whatever night of the week the 31st happens to fall on. Why not go for a more stylish approach to decoration than the standard jack-o-lanterns and hanging spiders? Pumpkin carving has extended its reach to the most artistic amongst us – now any design goes, as does any size, shape or colour of squash.
Adorning tables with autumnal carved lanterns and offering a bespoke menu for the evening will attract diners and raise your profile in the area.
Or you could look to the successful Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca for inspiration – they are running their own festival in celebration of The Day of the Dead this Halloween season. As well as the usual Mexican fare; tacos, churros, tequila and mescal, there will be a supper club co-hosted by Wahaca’s founder Thomasina Myers and Mexican ‘super-chef’ Enrique Olvera.
There will also be an art exhibition, talks and debates as well as music from The Horrors.
Why stop at pumpkin soup?
As a hotelier, you will likely have the benefits of a restaurant and bar as well as rooms for revellers to crash out in after a party. So really, a hotel is the perfect place to host a fabulous Halloween themed event.
Many large ‘boutique’ hotels are making the most of their facilities already. Take the highly successful ‘Crazy Bear’ hotel franchise. Their first hotel was opened in Stadhampton in 1993 and its unique success led to two other ‘Crazy Bears’ – in Fitzrovia and now Beaconsfield. With their lavish décor and award-winning food, the Crazy Bear hotels have played host to some seriously lucrative events.
This Halloween, the Beaconsfield Bear are throwing a thoroughly decadent evening entitled ‘Night of the Damned’ – with ‘blood punch’ on arrival, a three course banquet, burlesque, magic and dancing. Tickets cost around £70 a head and previous events have been a sell-out.
Themed events such as these are not only money-spinners, but a great opportunity to advertise your hotel and build on its brand. Whatever size or style you are, there’s no reason not to think big.
How will you make the most of your business this Halloween?