The first King’s Birthday long weekend – from June 10-12 – is expected to be a big one for the on-premise according to ResDiary’s booking trends forecast.
The reservation management system’s data shows there have been 34% more bookings on the June public holiday during 2021 to 2022 compared to a usual Monday.
King’s Birthday Eve, the day before the public holiday, is also expected to be a cash cow, with a 40% increase in bookings projected based on previous years’ data.
APAC Head of Customer Service and Support Stefan Overzier said public holidays present a mixed blessing for hospitality – on one hand they bring a potential influx of customers, but on the other hand there is a much higher operating cost.
“The data shows that while bookings are higher on public holidays, diners prefer more casual venues, earlier seating times and smaller booking sizes,” he said.
“Savvy operators can analyse the data to respond to changes in dining habits and operate on reduced staff, hours or menus to
ultimately ensure they are profitable.”
The Prince Hotel Kirrawee (pictured main) Reservation Manager Casey Scullion said despite the higher costs it was worthwhile opening on a public holiday, especially considering it was one of the few venues in the area that do.
“In the past we have also seen higher booking numbers over the weekend prior to the Queen’s Birthday,” she said.
“The Sunday night in 2022 before the public holiday generated 180 more covers compared to a usual Sunday evening trade. Also, the day of the Queen’s Birthday sees a higher lunch trade, easily doubling or tripling what we would normally see on a Monday.”
ResDiary has analysed booking trends across key public holidays since the beginning of 2021. Here are the top four booking trends insights:
Bookings boom for the King’s Birthday
With 34% more bookings on the Queen’s Birthday than a usual Monday, it may well be worth opening and staffing up for the upcoming King’s Birthday.
The ResDiary findings reveal that dinner bookings (5pm-9pm) made up the majority (42.7%) of bookings on the Queen’s Birthday, followed by 34% lunch (12pm-4pm) and 23.3% breakfast (6-11am). The busiest times to dine were 8am-9am, 12pm-1pm and 5pm-7pm.
A key stand-out trend has been the effect on trade either side of the Queen’s Birthday with a 40% uplift in bookings on the day before (Sunday) and expectedly, a slight dip of 5% the day after (Tuesday).
Mid-range venues win on public holidays
Mid-range venues such as pubs, clubs and cafés with a price point of $21 to $60, are busier on public holidays than other venues, accounting for nearly three quarters (70%) of all bookings in Australia.
More two-person reservations needed
Booking data shows the most favourable booking size on most public holidays is two people accounting for over 40% of bookings.
On Easter Sunday, it is unsurprising to see fewer two-person bookings (38%) and more group bookings of 4 or more (48%) due to being a more family orientated day. By offering more desired reservations, this could reduce the chances of empty tables and dented profits.
Early lunches and dinners preferred
The data shows 12pm is the most preferred booking time for lunch, accounting for 15% of all reservations and a whopping 64% more bookings than 1pm. The data also revealed that 6pm is the most favourable booking time for dinner, accounting for 20% of all reservations.
While dinner bookings still make up the lion’s share of public holiday bookings (on average making up for 50% of all bookings) lunch bookings are becoming increasingly popular. Lunch bookings only accounted for 30% of all public holiday bookings in 2021, yet this steadily increased to reach 35% in 2022.
The desire for an early booking indicates diners are eager to get in and out in a short timeframe. This allows venues to reduce operational costs.