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Happy Hour Text Messages by Bars

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Happy hour text messages by bars

Happy hour is a golden opportunity for bars to attract customers after work and increase revenue. By offering special discounts during late afternoon hours, bars can drive significant foot traffic. Using text messages to promote these deals makes the strategy even more effective. Let’s explore how bars can use happy hour text messages to boost their business.

The Rise of SMS Marketing in the Hospitality Industry

Historical Context: Traditional Marketing Methods

Flyers and Print Ads

  • Usage: Historically, bars and restaurants relied on physical flyers, posters, and print advertisements in local newspapers and magazines to promote events, specials, and new menu items.
  • Reach: These methods were effective in reaching a local audience but had limitations in terms of targeting and measuring impact.
  • Cost: Printing and distribution costs were significant, and the effectiveness of these campaigns was often hard to track.

Radio and Television Ads

  • Usage: Radio and television ads were used to reach a broader audience. Bars and restaurants would advertise during peak listening or viewing times to attract customers.
  • Reach: These ads had the potential to reach a wide audience but were expensive and often beyond the budget of smaller establishments.
  • Effectiveness: While they could generate brand awareness, they lacked precision in targeting specific demographics.

Word of Mouth and Direct Mail

  • Word of Mouth: Relying on satisfied customers to spread the word was a traditional and still effective method but depended heavily on the customers’ willingness to share their experiences.
  • Direct Mail: Sending promotional materials and coupons directly to customers’ homes was another method. This had better targeting than general ads but was still costly and had mixed effectiveness.

The Shift Towards Digital and Instant Communication

Email Marketing

  • Transition: With the advent of the internet, email marketing became a preferred method. Bars and restaurants could reach customers directly in their inboxes with newsletters, promotions, and event announcements.
  • Advantages: Email marketing allowed for better targeting and personalization compared to traditional methods. It was also more cost-effective.
  • Challenges: Over time, email inboxes became crowded, leading to lower open and click-through rates.

Social Media Marketing

  • Platforms: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter became powerful tools for bars and restaurants to engage with customers. They could post updates, share images and videos, and interact directly with their audience.
  • Engagement: Social media allowed for real-time interaction and feedback, fostering a community around the brand.
  • Ad Targeting: Paid social media ads offered sophisticated targeting options, enabling businesses to reach specific demographics.

SMS Marketing Emergence

  • Instant Reach: As mobile phones became ubiquitous, SMS marketing emerged as a highly effective tool. SMS messages are typically opened within minutes, making them ideal for time-sensitive promotions like Happy Hour deals.
  • High Engagement: SMS has higher open and response rates compared to email, with messages almost guaranteed to be read.
  • Personalization and Targeting: SMS allows for personalized messages based on customer preferences and behavior, leading to more effective marketing campaigns.
Happy Hour Text Messages by Bars

Statistics and Trends on the Increasing Use of SMS Marketing by Bars and Restaurants

High Open Rates

  • Statistics: SMS messages boast an open rate of around 98%, compared to 20-30% for emails. This makes SMS an incredibly effective channel for ensuring that promotional messages are seen by customers.

Quick Response Times

  • Engagement: The average response time for an SMS is just 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for email. This rapid engagement is crucial for promotions that are time-sensitive, such as last-minute Happy Hour specials.


  • ROI: SMS marketing is cost-effective, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. The cost per message is low, and the return on investment can be substantial due to the high engagement rates.

Customer Preference

  • Trends: Surveys indicate that many consumers prefer to receive promotional messages via SMS rather than email, as it is more direct and less likely to be ignored.
  • Opt-In Rates: Increasingly, customers are willing to opt-in to receive SMS notifications from their favorite bars and restaurants, recognizing the convenience and immediacy of this communication channel.

Integration with Other Marketing Channels

  • Multi-Channel Marketing: Many bars and restaurants are integrating SMS with other digital marketing channels, such as email and social media, to create cohesive and comprehensive marketing strategies. This approach ensures a wider reach and consistent messaging across platforms.

The rise of SMS marketing in the hospitality industry marks a significant shift towards more direct, personalized, and immediate communication with customers. By leveraging the unique advantages of SMS, bars and restaurants can effectively promote their offerings, engage with their audience, and drive increased foot traffic and sales.

Why Happy Hour Works

Happy hour is a proven strategy in the bar industry. It usually takes place between 4 PM and 6 PM, targeting people looking to unwind after a long day at work. The discounts offered during this period are often substantial, sometimes exceeding 50%. This not only attracts more customers but also encourages them to spend more.

  • Timing: Happy hour taps into the post-work crowd when many want to relax.
  • Discounts: Offering significant discounts, like half-off drinks, makes it irresistible for customers.
  • Revenue Boost: Higher foot traffic leads to increased sales and greater revenue.

These elements make happy hour essential to any bar’s marketing strategy.

Examples of Successful Happy Hour Promotions

  1. The Urban Pub: This bar sends a weekly SMS promoting happy hour deals. A typical message might read, “Happy Hour starts at 5 PM! Enjoy 50% off all drinks. See you tonight! [short link].” This simple message drives a surge of customers eager to take advantage of the discounts.
  2. Downtown Taproom: Known for its craft beers, this bar uses SMS to alert customers about daily specials. An example message: “Happy Hour Alert! $3 drafts from 4-6 PM. Don’t miss out! [short link].” Creating a sense of urgency ensures a steady stream of patrons.
  3. Rooftop Lounge: This trendy bar offers stunning views and uses SMS to promote its sunset happy hour. A message might say, “Join us for Happy Hour at 6 PM! Enjoy half-price cocktails with a view. Details here: [short link].” The unique setting, combined with great deals, draws in a large crowd.

These examples highlight how effective SMS marketing can be for promoting happy hour deals.

Crafting Effective Happy Hour Text Messages

To maximize the impact of your happy hour text messages, consider these tips:

  • Clear and Concise: Keep your messages short and to the point. Mention the time, discount, and a call to action.
  • Personalization: Address customers by name and tailor messages based on their preferences. This makes them feel valued and increases engagement.
  • Timing: Send messages at the right time, ideally a few hours before happy hour starts. This gives customers enough time to make plans.

An example of a perfect message could be: “Hey [Name], Happy Hour at 5 PM! 50% off all cocktails. See the menu: [short link]. Cheers!”

Benefits of Using SMS for Happy Hour Promotions

Using SMS for happy hour promotions offers several advantages:

  • High Open Rates: Text messages have an open rate of around 98%, ensuring your promotions are seen by most recipients.
  • Immediate Delivery: SMS messages are delivered instantly, perfect for time-sensitive offers.
  • Direct Engagement: Customers are more likely to respond to text messages than emails or social media posts.

These benefits make SMS an invaluable tool for driving happy hour traffic.

Real-World Success Stories

  1. The Corner Bar: By sending out daily happy hour texts, The Corner Bar increased its weekday revenue by 20%. Their typical message was: “Happy Hour from 4-6 PM! Half-off on all drinks. Join us: [short link].” This consistent engagement kept customers coming back regularly.
  2. City Spirits Lounge: This lounge used SMS to promote themed happy hours, such as Margarita Mondays. An example message: “Margarita Monday Happy Hour! $4 margaritas from 5-7 PM. Don’t miss it! [short link].” The themed approach attracted different customer segments each day.
  3. Sunset Bar & Grill: Known for its live music, this bar sends SMS alerts for happy hour and live performances. A typical message: “Live Music Happy Hour at 6 PM! Enjoy 50% off drinks. Details here: [short link].” Combining entertainment with discounts proved to be a winning formula.

These stories demonstrate the effectiveness of SMS marketing in driving happy hour success.

Implementing SMS Marketing for Your Bar

To get started with SMS marketing for happy hour promotions, follow these steps:

  1. Build a Subscriber List: Offer a small incentive, like a free drink on your next visit, to encourage customers to sign up for SMS alerts.
  2. Choose a Reliable Platform: Use a platform like ProTexting to manage your SMS campaigns efficiently.
  3. Create Engaging Content: Craft messages that are engaging and relevant. Highlight the best deals and use a friendly tone.

Following these steps, you can create a successful SMS marketing campaign that drives more customers to your bar during happy hour.

happy hour sms


Happy hour text messages are a powerful tool for bars to increase profits and attract customers. By offering significant discounts and promoting them through SMS, bars can ensure a steady stream of patrons eager to unwind after work. With clear, personalized, and timely messages, your bar can maximize the benefits of happy hour promotions and see a significant boost in revenue.

Embrace SMS marketing today and transform your happy hour strategy. Cheers to more customers and higher profits!