Back to Partying!
By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment
I’m pretty excited to hear all the good news about group events. While not every company, friend, or family group has decided to gather yet, many locations report success booking events for the upcoming holiday season.
Every day, we get information about the growth in the number of group or birthday bookings and now, the growth in the size of the bookings. An additional bit of news, which is a surprising change in trend, is when the group books for 20, expect 25! Pre-Covid, you could always count on a 20% drop in attendees unless the event was during a workday. Not so these days.
People are SO ready to be together. Much has been written about revenge travel. Huffpost and Forbes both report that this will be all the rage over the next few years. With the future of tourism alive and well, what can you do to take advantage of this “let’s party” attitude before people spend all their money on travel?
I like to think of a company event as a “vacation” from work. We all have space during the workdays to fill up the center. I’m not satisfied by you having a good holiday season, I want to help you have group sales as you’ve never experienced before!
Consider adopting these three habits to jumpstart your event sales this holiday season.
1. Call every event you’ve held over the last three to five years during November, December and January. Call them now. Get others to help. Say the following: “Hello Beth, this is Candi from ‘Your Center Name.’ I’m calling all our past events to learn how your company is handling group gatherings. I’m sure everyone is ready to get together at some point. You had an event with us in (month/year), when can you come back?”
I know this is pretty direct and that is my intent. You and they don’t have much time. If you have to leave a message, those words will do. If you find your contact doesn’t work there anymore, ask to speak with the person who now plans the events. If there isn’t anyone, call back and simply ask to speak to someone in sales. I promise they will put you through to a live person. You can also look the company up on their website and/or LinkedIn to find a real person to ask for if your contact is gone.
2. Ask every event you hold during these next three months to rebook and hold their spot for next year. As they wrap up their event or in the post-party phone call, discuss their options for next year. I had a client who had most of their holiday spots confirmed by February of the next year! Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to have most of your November and December 2022 booked by the end of February? It’s a great goal and a very good seed to plant now!
3. Conduct a PPPC (Post Party Phone Call) within 72 hours of every event. The call should have three objectives in mind:
a. “How was your event?” We can always learn something when we talk to a guest post-event. You have new (hopefully, good) word choices from a guest that can be used with the next sell. When a guest says, “The event was wonderful. Our hostess, Vivian was spectacular, we never wanted for a thing,” you have the opportunity to let operations know what a great job they did. If there was anything that could have been better, this is an opportunity for the guest to feel heard and for the location to provide service recovery if needed.
b. “Thank you so much for choosing our location.” At this time, it is appropriate –– and should be a habit –– to ask if there’s anyone else they know who would enjoy having this type of event. You may want to incorporate a referral program where you give a $25-$50 gift card or play card to the person who refers a friend who ends up booking an event.
c. “When can I call you again?” Company and social events are not usually a once-a-year thing. Most family entertainment locations would be surprised to know many groups plan an outing one time each quarter and sometimes monthly. I don’t have the statistics to back up that claim, but with the major shift of “remote” work, I have a sneaky suspicion that group gatherings will happen more and more often in non-traditional office settings! That’s great news for everyone who has unused meeting space.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season full of love and people. Birthday party and group event sales are a sure way to keep the recovery moving in a big way as we enter 2022. Put your plan in place. Begin to incorporate these three follow-up habits and watch your sales soar!
Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve to make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at www.trainertainment.com.