It’s that time of year when you can plan big for group events. If you have an indoor location, your birthday party business is back on the grow. I’d like to take a close look at three ways you can focus during this next month in order to gain amazing momentum as you finish out the year.
1. Holiday Parties: Maybe you held a Christmas-in-July event. If not, it is not too late to hold some type of holiday in the fall get-together in order to give your potential partiers a sneak peak of what it would look like to hold that special year end event at your center. Decorate for the holidays, create food samples, invite everyone and anyone that you would like to have hold an event in your center to come check out the possibilities. Make sure that everyone who has booked with you in the past has a chance to re-book.
This year I encourage you to implement a strategy to re-book as many holiday parties for 2015 before they leave the building this year! And listen, if you think you are “just a kid’s place” and that the grown up holiday merry making is not something you can take advantage of, then think again.
There are plenty of organizations that do wonderful children’s events. Church groups celebrate with their youth Sunday School classes. Play to your market. When you create your “sneak peak” holiday party, do it for the target market that can benefit the most by using your space to celebrate. And do not discount this offering. This is the one time of year that you get to charge more and people feel good about spending the extra money.
2. Post Prom Events: In many cities the senior high school class has planned for four years what they will do on the evening following prom and/or graduation. There is a focus to keep young people safe and give them a way to celebrate their success. Typically this is a late-night to all-night private event. Complete access to your facility, food, and tons of fun will be the key to gaining this business. This is a tremendous source of revenue.
The key is that you have to start booking those events now. Call every public and private high school within 50 miles of your center. Ask the following questions, “Who do I need to speak with about your after grad or post prom celebration?” They may have a parent-led committee; it may be the senior class or student council president, or a teacher sponsor. Finally be sure that you ask the young people who work for you. They will know what the program is called and potentially who to contact. Once you find that person, you will want to follow up with additional questions like, “How do you decide where to go? What have you done in the past? What did you like or not like about hosting your event there?” Each of these questions help put you in position to know how to best sell your product to them this year.
3. Fundraisers with the Band or Choir: Both of these organizations need to raise a lot of money and are planning a year-long strategy to do so right now. Many school districts have booster clubs that support the arts. All of the middle schools and high schools in the district may be included.
I like the band as a target market for several reasons. Number one, it is typically one of the largest organizations in the school. Number two, the kids in the band are usually very disciplined and know how to get a lot of things done. Number three, they have to raise money in order to support their organization. This group is also a good group to recruit employees.
If you don’t have a strong fundraising program it’s worth looking in to today. I’ve seen programs where the fun center did something simple like sell tickets or play cards that are good for attractions and then split the profits 50/50. There are also programs where the location sponsors a Band Booster night on a Tuesday night and returns 15%-20% of the door. Keep in mind that you don’t want to do run this type of an event during your peak times.
Good luck this Fall. I hope your fourth quarter is BIG! There’s nothing like gearing up for the New Year. Please take some time to strategize how you are going to make the most of the last 90 days of this year and know that 2015 is on the horizon. Your group and party business can significantly drive the sales of your entire business. Let’s do as many parties as we can!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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