November to January always sees a surge in group bookings as end-of-year and Christmas functions come in to play, and this year is in for a particularly massive quarter for group bookings.

New data from ResDiary  has shown a 21 per cent increase in 20-pax plus group booking from November to January, in comparison compared to a normal three-month period over the last three years.

Understanding the trends, preferences and motivations behind group functions can help club venues capitalise on these kinds of bookings over the next three months, particularly as they are the easiest kinds of booking to plan costs and staffing around.

“First, we must understand who the key function decision maker is and what they are looking for,” stated Rebecca Zeitunian, APAC regional head of growth for ResDiary.

“The data shows they are often an existing customer and nearly 60% likely to be female, contrasted by two-person bookings which are predominantly made by men. With this profile starting to take shape, venues can look at the types of packages that may be most appealing and how to convert small table bookings into future function business.”

These are the main insights ResDiary has found around group bookings:

Females more likely to book large functions

While males predominantly book two-person bookings, while females make the majority of larger group bookings. Women lead the way with 12 per cent more bookings for five-person gatherings and a staggering 58 per cent more bookings for parties of 20 or more, compared to bookings made my males.

Thus implementing strategies to appeal to bookers’ preferences based on the group size is recommended, for example using social media advertising to target demographics with personalised group packages.

Function bookers are already customers

Customer loyalty emerges as a pivotal booking factor, with nearly double the number of group bookings over six months originating from customers who have previously visited the venue (14 per cent) within the last year compared to two-person bookings (8 per cent).

Diners booking large celebrations often with family and friends are more selective with their venue choice, wanting familiar venues where they trust the food quality and experience.

ResDiary advises venues to explore re-marketing strategies aimed at their current customers to increase group functions by promoting their function offering through email marketing campaigns and in-venue advertising.

20-plus people bookings are the most profitable big group size based on Spend Per Head

Groups exceeding 20 people display a 38 per cent higher spend per head compared to group bookings ranging between 16-20 individuals.

However, spending big on date night means two person bookings consistently boast the highest spend per head and groups of ten or more witnessing a 50 per cent decrease in spend per head comparatively.

Considering the optimum booking size is 20 plus people, ResDiary suggests venues test ways to upgrade the lower group sizes by incentivising bookers to add extra people to their booking. Ways to do this could be free gifts like a complimentary dessert or magnum for bookings of 20 or more.

With these strategies in mind, venues can look to make the most of group bookings this holiday season.

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