How Valentine’s Day Affects the Hospitality Industry

Trends 9 minute read 5th October 2020

For many couples, Valentine’s Day is the most romantic time of the year, but for the hospitality industry, it’s a chance to make some seriously profitable connections with guests.

This is thanks to a huge increase in consumer spending during what is a very short window of opportunity. In the US alone, Valentine’s Day shoppers are expected to add $27.4bn to the economy in the US alone.

If you work in the hospitality industry, you’ll also be acutely aware that it represents one of the busiest times of the year when you’re on the front line. But how does it affect the sector as a whole?

valentine's day hospitality infographic

It’s kind of a big deal, you know..

valentine's day in hospitality

Valentine’s Day plays a significant role in retail, and that extends to hospitality. The reason? There are still a huge number of people who use February 14th as an excuse to wine and dine a loved one.

For parents, it’s a rare date night. For newly loved-up couples, it’s yet another chance to invest time in one another. For couples of who have spent decades together, Valentine’s Day is often a much-needed reason to rediscover the spark that led to a happy marriage.

If you run a hotel or restaurant, there are four key reasons Valentine’s Day is such a big deal.

  1. It has enormous business potential. Beyond the Christmas holidays, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days for the hospitality sector. There’s no better time to draw in a much wider audience with special offers and unforgettable experience.
  2. It can lure in repeat visits. If you create a Valentine’s Day experience that lives long in the memory, there’s a strong chance you’ll gain lots of repeat visitors each year, thus guaranteeing a bumper February 14th.
  3. It enables you to be unique. There are so many things you can do for Valentine’s Day (from catering for singles to welcoming families) that will help you stand out from the crowd. And we all know that being unique in this sector is one of the keys to staying in business.
  4. It unleashes your creative side. The desire to be unique during a big national event such as Valentine’s Day should unleash your creative side, and that’s where the best hospitality experiences lie.

The full impact of Valentine’s Day on consumers

valentine's day big picture

So, where does the fervour surrounding Valentine’s Day come from?

An article by The Balance neatly illustrates why consumers ‘feel the love’ on February 14th. In the US, Valentine’s Day sales have increased considerably over the last ten years, indicating growing consumer confidence.

It’s a similar story in the UK, where just over 36% of consumers spent more on Valentine’s Day in 2019 because they felt financially better off.

While the bulk of Valentine’s sales come from department stores and online purchases, $4.3 billion is still spent on evenings out. The spend per person stands at a staggering $196.31.

It isn’t just about couples, though. The Balance reports that 12% of men and 10% of women use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to get together with friends and family, therefore offering yet another opportunity for hospitality businesses to increase their revenue for that one night of the year.

Why is Valentine’s Day so important for restaurants?

valentine's day for restaurants

According to the National Restaurant Association, one third of adults are happy to receive an invitation from a restaurant to dine out on Valentine’s Day.

There are very few days of the year that represent a marketing goldmine for restaurants quite like Valentine’s.

It isn’t all about the day itself, either. Research suggests that restaurant bookings will double prior to February 14th, with booking on Valentine’s Day rising by 32% compared to a typical evening.

The allure of date night and an evening away from the normalities of everyday life present lots of low-hanging fruit for restaurant marketers.

Valentine’s Day US restaurant stats

When love is in the air in America, the restaurant statistics really do get interesting, as revealed by the National Restaurant Association:

  • Over 30% of customers celebrate Valentine’s by eating out with their loved one
  • 32% of Americans visited a restaurant on Valentine’s Day in 2018
  • 50% of Valentine’s bookings in 2018 were booked via smartphone
  • Italian food is often the number 1 romantic cuisine on February 14th
  • The most popular reservation time is 7pm
  • Fine dining restaurants enjoy the biggest upsurge in business on Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day UK restaurant stats

Brits are a loved-up lot, too. Thanks to research by Finder, UK restaurateurs can revel in the following statistics which are sure to provide plenty of Valentine’s inspiration:

  • More than 61% of Brits spend money on a loved one during Valentine’s Day
  • Those celebrating Valentine’s spend a combined £1.45 billion on gifts
  • £35: the average spend per person on Valentine’s Day
  • 1 in 5 Brits plan to spend over £100 on a loved one
  • Millennials are the biggest Valentine’s spenders with a spend per person of £41.84
  • London is the most romantic city with the capital’s residents spending £52 one and another on average during Valentine’s

Wrap up

At the time of writing, Valentine’s Day has just passed, therefore we’ll wait for the research to reveal the level of consumer spend in 2020.

However, if history tells us one thing, it’s that Valentine’s Day continues to provide an upward trend for businesses in the hospitality industry. What’s not to love?

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