Weatherproof Your Business
Do You Have a Plan for When Mother Nature Doesn’t Follow Your Wishes?
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
Mark Twain may have said, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” In many industries as well as ours, the weather can have a huge effect on the revenue at businesses. This is especially true for amusement venues.
This past weekend was Mother’s Day, a wonderful time to celebrate moms everywhere. Aside from the many usual restaurants serving Mother’s Day breakfast, brunch and dinner, we have the Jersey Shore arcades and amusement park locations all ready to welcome thousands of guests eager to celebrate with a sunny and warm spring day.
Instead of gorgeous weather, we were “blessed” with a week’s worth of torrential rain and a 48-degree day on Sunday. Saturday was sunny, but still breezy and cooler than normal. Did indoor FECs benefit from a rainy Mother’s Day? Did the movies or shopping malls do better? I asked a good friend in retail and he said that the cooler than normal spring has slowed sales of seasonal clothing and accessories.
I’m a firm believer that your marketing and sales effort should be weatherproof. Don’t assume people will come to your business if it’s a sunny day or a rainy day. Yes, you may not be riding roller coasters in a rainstorm, but you may still visit the indoor amusement center nearby if you know they’re having a special promotion or event when the weather is not so good.
There are many people who love to be somewhere when it’s not as crowded, including an indoor FEC on a beautiful day or a Shore arcade on a rainy day. Today, with all of the social media platforms available, it’s easy to connect with your customers (and potential customers) at any time. If you know it’s going to rain, send an email blast, Facebook or Instagram post, tweet or something to your customers to let them know why they should visit your business.
The summer brings many backyard birthday parties and summer camps. Their plans are most likely outside. If it’s going to rain, what is their “Plan B?” Maybe it should include your indoor FEC! Perhaps a coupon of sorts with a discounted offer that gives them a “rain check” to visit your location when it rains. Don’t give away the house, but instead make these people aware that they have a choice in the event of bad weather.
You can do the same if you have a Shore arcade, too. If it rains, give double tickets on some games or come up with a promotion that fits your market. Years ago, the ice cream chain Jahn’s in the New York area offered a free ice cream sundae on your birthday. It not only brought in many people who had birthdays, but also lots of people along with the birthday celebrant. Jahn’s gave away something that was very low in cost, but had a very high potential return.
Back to our lovely weather, the pool’s been open a few weeks, but nobody has been in it. Alexa just told me that it’s 47 degrees with a high of 56 today and a low of 42 with rain on and off all day. It’s May 14…Where is spring? Maybe this weekend will be better, but if what’s going on outside affects your ability to fill your cashboxes, you might want to work on some promotions to “weatherproof” your location. Back to Mr. Twain, quit complaining about the weather and do something about it. Meanwhile, happy spring! Summer is still a few weeks away.
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011 he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at jack@ jerseyjackpinball.com.