Tradition holds that how you ring in the new year will influence how well your next 365 days will go. It’s why we smooch that special someone at midnight and dress sharp. For businesses, a rocking New Year’s Eve party can be a great sales boost and set the tone for 2019.

New Year’s Eve isn’t just a normal party night, though. We’ve been watching what our customers have been doing for the last few years and the ones who countdown with the biggest crowds always do a little more than their competition. They come up with compelling events and promote them hard. Here are a few of the best practices they follow.

Plan a great party

Customers expect a little more glamour on New Year’s. You don’t have to make it a black-tie affair, but you should think about ways to make them feel special. The bare minimum for most places is a complimentary champagne toast. Pretty much everyone does that, so you’ll have to add a little more razzle dazzle to stand out.

Start with what your loyal customers love about you and go from there. Do you have great cocktails? Make a special drink menu celebrating the year. If you have a great kitchen, show off with some truly excellent, complimentary one-bite appetizers.

New Year’s is all about the dancefloor. If you have room to boogie, make sure you’ve got a good DJ or a killer live band. This is not the time to throw a Spotify playlist on and call it a day, even if it’s full of club bangers. If you have the means, have a balloon drop. Just don’t do the same old same old and expect people to be excited. Especially if you’re jacking up the cover price.

Start promoting now

New Year’s Eve falls on a Monday this year so you can’t just assume people will come out like they would on a weekend. Plus, there’s a growing trend where people celebrate at home with a few close friends or their cats. You need to let them know you’re throwing the best party.

The earlier you start promoting the better. According to Eventbrite, 20% of partygoers plan where they’re headed 2-6 months in advance. However, they also found that 46% of people don’t actually buy tickets until the last minute. Either way, you need to get the word out.

Use all of your social media channels to announce your event. Facebook ads are ideal for New Year’s Eve parties. If you’ve been running them, consider throwing a little more of your budget towards them in the last week. If you haven’t tried ads before, it’s a good time to start learning how.

Send an email announcing the event with a direct link to purchase tickets. Make sure your subject line is bold and mentions New Year’s. If possible, give early birds a special offer because people tend to go out in groups and stick to a single location. If you can convince the most influential people in a group to commit, their friends will follow.

If you collected new contacts over the holidays (hopefully using Zenreach), send a special offer to new customers. If they had a great time over the holidays and another fun night out on New Year’s, you’re well on your way to creating a loyal customer.

Spruce up the joint

Customers don’t want to feel cheated. If you’re charging a premium without delivering, they’re going to be upset. You don’t have to remodel the place, but there are a few easy things you can do to signal that you care about showing them the best time.

If your spot has become a little rough around the edges during the holidays, it’s a good time to do a deep clean and repair anything that needs fixing. Paint over graffiti, scrub the bar down and get the place ready for a party. Take down any Christmas decorations, too. Out with the old, in with the new!

Speaking of decor and such, did you ever wonder where the tradition of blowing party horns and cranking noisemakers at midnight came from? It’s not just a way for drunks to be obnoxious. They’re intended to chase out the ‘evil spirits’ from your building so you start the year with a clean slate. Shiny decorations, like tinsel and party hats, were meant to symbolize prosperity. This is something you might feel like skimping on, but you really shouldn’t. People love traditions and no one wants start the year with bad juju.

Another nice touch is to have employees dress up. In a world addicted to athleisure and ironic t-shirts, just throwing a tie on with a collared shirt can be a classy move. Like everything else suggested here, you don’t have to go overboard. But it is cool to show your customers you care about their special night out.

Pop those bottles

Make sure you have enough champagne (or sparkling wine) and glasses so everyone can toast at midnight. Raising glasses together raises everyone’s spirits and you don’t want to leave anyone out. If you don’t have enough you can either rent some extra ones or pick up some plastic flutes.

Pro tip: if you’re using the plastic flutes, don’t wait until midnight to put them together. The bar will get slammed right before midnight and you want your employees pouring, not assembling.

For toasts, don’t be afraid to think outside the bottle. Sparkling wine in a can, like the Sofia Minis from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, are non-traditional, but fun. If you’re more known for your craft beer selection, why not offer a beer toast at midnight?

New Year’s is the ultimate holiday to mark new beginnings. That’s why it’s such a good time to put in some effort. Make it a night to remember and your customers will remember you all year long.

Last but not least, if you’re not already using Zenreach, sign up now to start collecting contacts before and into the busy weeks ahead!

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