by Beth Standlee, TrainerTainment founder and CEO
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November 2014

Beth StandleeParty Professor

Making Party Plans for the Coming Year



This November is the month that we have the biggest party in the entertainment industry. Opera­tors, vendors, owners, managers and more will gather in Orlando at IAAPA to see what more we can learn, build, grow, and know in order to continue to deliver fun to the world.

Party season should be big during this time of year especially for indoor locations. And while we celebrate and hope for lots of group events I think this is the perfect time to really begin to focus on the coming year.

What is your strategy for group and birthday party sales? Have you looked at that as a part of total revenue? Your group and party business drives walk-in business. Many times people come to your center for the first time or return after a long absence because they attended a company party, a field trip event, or a birthday.

Wouldn’t you like to put a strategy together that predicts the amount of group and party revenue you’ll have for your business? As a business owner myself, the “pre-booked” business model really helps me better understand cash forecasting, how to pay the bills, and manage profitability. We all know that planning to book business is a better way to predict the future of the business. The “build and they will come” model leaves you relying on the phone to ring. It’s been said that “hope” is not a strategy and I believe this is really true when it comes to group and party sales. You can make this type of business happen on purpose rather than just taking what comes your way!

If you have simply relied on the phone to ring rather than taking a strategic approach to group and party sales, we’ve found that a good starting point is to take a look at your total center revenue first. Discover what percentage your group sales are as a percent of total revenue. Do the same exercise for birthday parties.

Once you see where you are you can begin to build goals for increasing those sales. We would always recommend at least a 10%-15% increase unless you are already to max capacity.

Getting started always seems to be the challenge with strong strategic planning. So I want to give you these few action items to get you started now. The New Year will be here in a second; and I want you to party from day one. Here’s your get started plan.

1. Gather data. Look at and record your month to month birthday party and group sales for all of 2013 and 2014 YTD.

2. Determine what percent of total revenue each of the two categories represent for the 22 months of tracking.

3. Decide on how much you want to improve those numbers. Remember, we recommend 10%-15%.

4. See if you can determine your average party and your average group revenue. I like to break it down and understand how many parties or group events I need to hold in order to meet the financial number. This way you have that target that everyone can shoot at.

5. Prepare to win by: reviewing your products; investing in a sales team; setting systems of accountability and reward for the sales team; and plan to party all the time.

Hey, I hope I see you at IAAPA. Please plan to stop by the TrainerTainment booth.

Beth Standlee is the CSO and founder of Trainertainment, a sales training company dedicated to great guest service, party development, and ultimately bringing more money to your bottom line. Beth can be reached by email at

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