School is out and summer is upon us. What does that mean for us as parents? Kids are home all day – 24/7, grocery bills go up, parents’ schedules change and/or get more hectic, vacation starts and laundry somehow doubles.
What does it mean for kids? They get bored easily and want something to do, outdoor activities are open! Pools, zoos, camps, parks, and more….! Wait, it’s really hot so outdoor activities aren’t fun anymore. Kids are bored again.
Understanding your family entertainment center business fully is critical to the long-term success of your brand. To be unprepared and not offering an incredible guest experience from doors open until doors close, no matter the time of year could leave an irreparable negative impression…..
Indoor FEC business models tend to shift rather significantly when school is out. A typical business sees very little revenues Monday thru Friday during the day and very little during the weekdays at night (this is mostly related to school schedules, homework, extra-curricular, sports and training schedules). A typical FEC will offer 15% of all revenues from Monday until Friday at 5 pm. The remaining 85% of the business is concentrated on the weekends! Many new operators tend to believe that homeschoolers and families with infants will drive the daytime business during the school year. Although this model seems plausible, this is far from the truth. Many of these families do not come out to play!
When school lets out, within the first couple of weeks, an indoor FEC seems to shift in business operations….The daytime seems to increase somewhat, but the evening and weekends slow down. The result, in most cases, tends to represent a slower business week overall! However, this can change significantly for operators who are prepared!
For operators who aren’t ready, this could be disastrous!
Many unprepared operators do not realize or spend time understanding how a change in the local environment can impact their business. Running a schedule as normal (typically a skeleton crew during the weekdays and heavy on the weekends) when a local calendar change is missed can result in poor operations and guest perception! Some easily forgotten opportunities to capitalize on appropriate staffing and great service….
- Seasonal adjustments – School out vs in – Know how your business trends! Not being staffed appropriately can result in poor execution! Staff accordingly!
- Holidays – Plan accordingly for the Monday closures! Most holiday weeks will result in heavier foot traffic.
Memorial Day and Labor Day tend to be softer! Create a great promotion to target the few that will not be at the lake! If it rains, you will be busy!!
- School in-service days – Advertise or team up with your local schools! Offering a fun experience for kids as well as a fundraiser for your local school could result in huge numbers!
- Weather changes! – YOU WILL GET BUSIER WHEN IT RAINS! Offer a “Rain Insurance” promotion for all the outdoor events. It’s easy to do and very effective!
- Team up/sponsor outdoor venues – When it warms up, people want to be outside, it’s virtually impossible to change their minds….teaming up and co-branding will at least keep top of mind if conditions aren’t favorable for outdoor activities.
- Seasonal day camp bookings – Day camps are offered EVERYWHERE! They are looking for things to do!
- Have a full-time event sales manager! – Offer high commission to a well-known community salesperson! Driving event sales IS A FULL-TIME JOB!
- Staff for success! – You can always (in most cases) send people home! Why not be prepared! Have some “on-call” staff! REMEMBER- YOUR WEEKDAYS (DAYTIME) WILL PICK UP WHEN SCHOOL IS OUT BUT YOUR WEEKENDS WILL BE (TYPICALLY) SOFTER!
- Offer SMART promotions/discounting – Many families are on a budget. To target them effectively, package deals together for larger families. THERE IS NO NEED TO DISCOUNT YOURSELF OUT OF BUSINESS! SMART promotions should be Simple, Meaningful, Attractive, Relative and Targeted to the audience you want!
- Engage your staff and guests – Create a culture of salesmanship and hospitality!
- Have a great food and beverage program! – Your brand is recognized by what you provide in all aspects of your business. Offering an inferior product (whatever it may be) will work against your overall brand. We are a foodie nation!
- Offer an aesthetic appeal to the parents! – Giving the parents a comfortable environment will create longevity in stays and rapid returns! A few TVs, good food and beverage items, free wifi, and comfortable seating can go a long way in repeat visits!
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