How the Hospitality Industry Should Approach Facebook Advertising This Christmas


If you run a restaurant or hospitality business in a state that’s well on its way to opening up again (we’re looking at you, Queensland, WA and NSW), you might be in the midst of planning for what’s going to be pretty strange festive season. With various social distancing measures still in place, the traditional corporate Christmas parties and family and friend functions will still go ahead, but might just look a little different this year.  

For instance, in WA, venues can be open, but can’t allow more than one person per two square metres. In NSW, it’s one person per four square metres, and patrons must be seated and order food if drinking alcohol. In Queensland, it’s also one person per four square metres, unless the venue is 200 square metres, in which case it can accept only one person per two square metres, and no more than 50 people. Honestly, our brains hurt a little just reading about it, so chances are your customers could be confused about it too. With all that to contend with, how do you make sure you’re still getting people through the door this Christmas? We’ve put together some ideas for how you should be approaching your Facebook advertising this festive season.  

Facebook advertising is the new foot traffic 

With social distancing measures placing more importance on bookings, you’re likely still suffering from a drop in the free advertising that comes with foot traffic and walk-ins. That means optimising your online presence is key to make sure you’re still top of mind with diners this Christmas. Along with making sure your website, SEO and social media presence are up to scratch, you can replace your usual foot traffic with a virtual equivalent – a Facebook campaign targeted to people who live in close proximity to your restaurant. 2020 is all about supporting local communities, and you can use Facebook ads to find local families, friends and businesses who might just love the idea that their festive function can also support their favourite local venue. 

Capitalise on customer loyalty 

If you have an email list of your most loyal diners, we’re going to assume you’ve already emailed them (or are planning to) to let them know about your Christmas function options. However, the average open rate of emails from the restaurant and hospitality industry is as low as 19.77% (be honest, who else loves the liberating feeling of deleting an email without even opening it?) But you know what people can’t delete? A targeted Facebook ad.  

Your loyal customers are the ones most likely to want to support you. You can target them directly by using your audience database to create a custom Facebook audience to let them know that you’re ready to welcome them back with all the sleigh-bells and whistles. Then you can try creating a lookalike audience based on your custom audience, to find more people like your most loyal customers, and broaden your reach. You can even go one step further, and reward you loyal customers with a digital coupon they can add to their mobile wallet. Pair this with a Messenger bot campaign to remind them to book in and use their coupon, and those bookings will come rolling in! 

Test different audiences 

It always pays to run tests in your Facebook advertising, but in these strange times, testing and experimenting could pay off more than ever. For instance, Queensland’s current restrictions dictate that you must be seated when consuming food and drink. Buffets aren’t allowed. In NSW, smaller venues can currently only accept bookings of up to 10 people, and patrons must be seated when consuming alcohol, with no mingling allowed. This means that large Christmas drinks functions that are usually accompanied by finger food, mingling and a bit of a boogie are a no-go this year. Venues will need to focus more on fine dining, catering to smaller groups at a higher cost per head. So, how does this affect your Facebook advertising? Depending on your usual audience, it will be worth testing your ads with audiences in a higher income bracket, who might be more likely to splash out on a festive fine dining experience.  

Use content that connects for your campaign 

At WCM, we’re seeing great results from content that creates a genuine connection. And in a time when we’ve all been suddenly disconnected in a way we never could have imagined, it makes perfect sense. So, when creating content for your Facebook advertising this Christmas, go for content that creates an authentic connection with your audience. Video content is always more engaging, so try a video of your venue manager or staff members talking about how customer support has helped them survive during lockdown. Or your chef could do a quick rundown of the menu they’ve developed with small group dining in mind. Anything that humanises your business will give your Christmas campaign a real boost.  

While things may not quite be back to normal this year, we hope these Facebook advertising approaches help you think outside the box when it comes to getting customers through your doors this festive season. If you need some help developing and implementing your Christmas Facebook campaigns, our team of Facebook ads specialists are just an email away. Get in touch today 👇.  

Note: this article was based on Covid-19 restrictions as of August , 2021. Please be sure to check which restrictions apply in your state at the current time: 

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