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4 Ways to Prep For Holiday Private Dining

By Katy Mullet | 2 min read

Busy season is in full swing, and you’re managing a full schedule of private dining events and holiday parties. We talked to Katie Dyches, former event planner turned Gather Account Executive, about the best ways to get ready for the holiday event rush.

About the Expert, Katie Dyches

I just started at Gather in Sales this summer. Before that, I worked as an event planner at several different southeastern restaurant groups for over eight years. I started as a hostess when I was 16, eventually working up to server and then bartender in college.

After I graduated with a degree in PR, events were a natural fit. I love the restaurant industry, and now my sales role lets me share my own experience using Gather with those looking to better manage events. The holidays were always a crazy time, so I’m sharing my top tips to get ahead of the game.

Katie’s Holiday Private Dining Tips

Make Sure You’re Staffed!

Before event prime time hits (usually mid-November through Christmas), make sure your team is adequately staffed and trained. You’ll need event planners and assistants as well as event captains at each restaurant.

I’ve worked at restaurant groups with as many 10 locations, and I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to have a solid event team! You can’t be everywhere at once, so you need a team you can trust on the ground at each event.

Figure out Incentives and Promotions

Incentives can be a great way to fill open spots on the calendar. If you still have availability, try running one now to fill those last few spots! An example would be a “book by” incentive like “Book by November 15th and receive a $50 gift card.”

Promotions are also useful for following up after the event, especially with high-end venues. In January or February, reach out to customers who just had a holiday event with you and offer a promotion that encourages them to go ahead and book next year’s event with you.

Set Up Your Automated Messages

As an event planner, customizable auto-responses were one of my favorite features in Gather. Replying to leads quickly is critical to the job. Since I always included certain questions in my first email with a lead, I put them into the auto-response template. This allowed me to get all the necessary info to send a quote within 15 minutes of receiving the inquiry. There are plenty more automation capabilities that are helpful for the holidays– read about them in our new Crush the Rush guide!

Check on All Your Event Supplies

You probably have a bunch of supplies and smallwares like dishes, serving tongs and silverware that are specific to events. Once you get your holiday events on the calendar, make sure there are enough supplies– especially if you have multiple events happening at once.

I also liked to put up some holiday-ish decorations for that time of year, so it was important to pick up some fresh poinsettias and make sure that twinkle lights were still working.

The busy season may be stressful, but at the end of the day, it drives revenue and publicity for your venue! Make sure you have the right partner so you can better host your guests this holiday season.

There’s still time to get started with an event management platform that will save you time this season. Schedule time to look at Gather today.

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Katy Mullet
Content Marketing Manager

I'm the Content Marketing Manager here at Gather. Outside of writing and creating campaigns, I love to try new restaurants here in Atlanta or wherever I'm traveling.

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