Banking on a Busy Bank Holiday Weekend? 3 Tips to Prepare Your Venue

Banking on a Busy Bank Holiday Weekend? 3 Tips to Prepare Your Venue

Bank holidays can play a massive role in powering up reservations and profits for hospitality venues. Here are three ways you can maximise your space and prepare to (hopefully) be busy across the next long weekend. 

We know that bank holidays are a big deal for restaurants, pubs, bars, and hotels. Research shows that during last year’s May holiday, spending at restaurants was up more than 15% from 2022 while spending at bars, clubs and pubs in May 2023 was 6.4% more than the year before – likely due to the extra bank holidays. This is positive news for venue owners and operators looking to maximise their table bookings and revenue during upcoming bank holiday weekends

Why are bank holidays so important for venues? Here are 12 stats you need to know.

When you plan ahead, you can fully capitalise on the potential profit-boosting power of bank holidays, while also minimising the stress they can often create for operators and staff alike - and even customers!

Here are three top tips to get ready for a bumper bank holiday weekend.

  • Bank your table bookings early on
  • Plan out your space and setup with the right tools
  • Protect your profits from no-shows

More tips and information are available in our comprehensive checklist for bank holiday success. Read it now and put yourself and your venue in prime position!


ResDiary booking widget with calendar view

Bank table bookings early on

In our full guide to ensure success for your next bank holiday weekend, we mention the importance of early bookings. Of course, it’s always nice to see the diary filling up in your restaurant booking system, but it can be especially important for big trading periods like the festive season, summer, Mother’s Day, and yes, bank holidays too.

To be clear, data from Charles & Dean showed the August bank holiday weekend could contribute a whopping £5.8bn in sales in 2023, with an average spend per head of £138.55 in bars, restaurants, and hotels. So many venues will almost certainly be busier for bank holiday.

With that in mind, it’s always better to be prepared and that starts with being aware of what to expect, rather than guessing what might happen when the long weekend comes. The earlier your restaurant diary is full (or at least as close to it as possible), the earlier you can prepare your space and your team - which will exponentially improve your customer experience.

So, you should take action by encouraging more early table bookings for your venue. 

This can start by you creating a special offer or unique experience to promote and entice new customers. The competition for customers can be fierce and you’ll want to ensure that your offering stands out on social media or any ads you may run in the build-up. 

To help you get creative and if you have the data available, you can look at trends in your booking data on how far in advance people book, days people most frequently book, booking channels, and information about any other offers you’ve run in the past.

Don’t forget bank holiday is an extra day, but you’ve got the whole weekend to win customers. So, consider different deals or set-menus to suit daytime diners (who may be more families) and night owls (who may be inspired by more elaborate menu items and deals on cocktails).

The best place to start promoting your bank holiday options may be your existing customers. After all, if they loved your experience before, they’ll be more likely to book again. 

With ResDiary, you can create, manage, and share promotional content with your customer base, all from one place. You can also create different lists and segments based on your customer data, empowering you to create highly targeted campaigns!

Any set menus or special offers you create can also be easily added to your online booking widget, making it even easier for your visitors to discover and choose them when they make a table booking. You can even select which channels your offer is bookable via, and you can also create special booking widgets per channel, or offer... which means you get really granular booking data, and can see what channels deliver - again key for early bookings.


Setup for Bank Holiday Bookings - Operations

Plan out your space and setup with the right tools

Bank holidays are a great opportunity for diners to catch up with family and friends over breakfast or lunch, or for something more special in the evenings. With that in mind, it may be a good idea to reconsider your table plan, especially with a view to making your space as flexible as possible - this can also help to maximise your potential bookings.

Will you be opening your garden or terraced area if it’s a summer bank holiday? If you’re expecting more bookings from larger groups, where are the best places to put them and will any tables need to be re-configured? Do you expect you’ll need to increase turnovers or do you think people will stay for longer if they’re happy to drink more? What if you don’t know yet?

This is where the right technology, specifically the right restaurant booking system, can be crucial in helping you. With ResDiary’s table management system you can adjust the plan on your system, add booking rules, table joins, and amend table rankings.You can also create segments and switch them on for different services, days, and special occasions (such as bank holidays) if you plan to repurpose your space. 

You can also set rules for which tables to sell first and which can be joined together to accommodate different group sizes. Once you have made these changes, the availability on your booking widget will automatically update and display in real-time and ResDiary will do the rest in ensuring every booking is seated according to your rules.

With our Yield Management feature, you can control the flow of customers, which can be vital when you’re braced for a bumper bank holiday crowd. Again, when you set the rules for when people can book, how long they can book for, and the space you need to turn them over, ResDiary does all the heavy lifting for you in managing your reservations accordingly.

With everything planned in advance and your restaurant booking system taking care of that side of your operations, you and your team can ensure a smooth service, and focus on delighting your bank holiday customers.



Protect your profits from no-shows

No-show diners can be a nightmare at any time. Not only are they a nuisance, but they’re costing our industry billions of pounds every year. Our own data found that three-quarters (76%) of venues were affected by them in 2023, losing each venue thousands in lost revenue.

But no-shows can be especially troublesome when you’ve got a busy bank holiday weekend on your hands! Firstly, every table booking is valuable, especially larger groups and especially if you actually have to turn away bookings because your space is full. So, the last thing you want is a last-minute cancellation, your customers turning up 30 minutes late, or worse, not showing up at all without any notice. Every empty seat then emphasises a loss in potential revenue.

Secondly, no-shows are a nightmare for your staff and can severely disrupt your service. It’s safe to say that there’s no room for no-shows in your bank holiday plans!

The best course of action is to include a cancellation policy with your booking. Many restaurants take credit card details as part of the booking process and will charge the customer a cover fee if they fail to show or cancel in the agreed window. Some venues will take an upfront deposit for larger groups, but this is less common.

Again, our own data shows that more than half (51%) of venues required a deposit for a certain number of covers – up from 48% in 2022. The average minimum number of covers required to trigger a deposit was nine, the same as in 2022.

Don’t worry, we also know that almost two-thirds (62%) of diners said they’re perfectly happy to hand over their card details to secure a table booking.

With ResDiary, you can take card details or deposits, slipping them effortlessly into the booking process. This is the simplest and most secure way to do so, as we’re partnered with Stripe, a globally trusted payment provider and fully PCI compliant.

Are no-shows a nuisance in your venue? Protect your revenue and your sanity with useful advice from industry experts. Watch the video!



Those are the three essential steps to ensuring your venue is set up for success for bank holiday weekends. 

By attracting table bookings as early as possible, you’ll afford your team the time and information they need to be fully prepared. Table management tools and smart rules with the ResDiary restaurant booking system can help you to maximise your available space, while taking the headache away from managing reservations.

Lastly, taking card details or deposits up front can help to ensure you secure your bank holiday bookings and the revenue they could potentially bring.

Get the full guide to bank holidays from ResDiary and follow our comprehensive checklist today!

CTA link to ResDiary Bank Holiday Guide