Boost Your Event Business in Five Steps or Less
Learn best practices to help identify weak sales and operational areas to increase event revenue one party at a time.
You probably already know that groups and birthday parties are an important revenue stream but are you maximizing your programs’ potential? A few tweaks to your offerings, your sales process or your operations can make a huge impact on your bottom line. From what you offer to how you deliver it, many businesses are missing one or more key elements of a thriving events program. Read on for five ways you can boost your event business today.
#1 – Keep your offerings simple
We’re living in what many are calling the “me revolution,” which means that our lives are supremely customizable. We can customize everything from our burrito to our shampoo, even to the gym shoes we order. This might make an operator think they should create many different event packages to accommodate every guest. But that can cause “option overwhelm” that often results in a confused buyer and a loss of sale. Instead, consider building easy to understand packages that your average team member can sell off the shelf for a birthday party or simple group event, and let guests tailor their event with add-ons, or through more complex custom events.
One area that can often be overlooked is through the sale of arcade game cards. When building packages or building a custom event, it’s a good idea to include game cards for every guest in a meaningful denomination, for example at least $10. The obvious reasons to do so are that guests spend more time at your FEC, buy additional concessions, and load more funds onto their cards during their visit, increasing per capita spending. A great game room with some higher valued redemption items will entice guests to return with their (hopefully registered) cards in the future, and you’ll of course have valuable spending habit data from your sales reports that you can use to make decisions about offerings, promotions, and to send targeted marketing emails to your customer base.
Game cards can also be a great way to reduce the effects of sticker shock if you get a price hesitation or objection from a prospective guest. If your prospect isn’t prepared to spend quite as much as you’re quoting, you can easily reduce the amount of a game card to reduce their overall spend without subjecting your product to discounting. Or, you could use bonus points or time play if you need to negotiate by adding more value to the offering without charging the guest more. Start (and continue) building rapport immediately.
#2 – Make booking an event painless
How you sell you matters even more than what you sell, so be sure that you offer a simple buying experience both online and in the facility. Guests today expect online and mobile buying experiences, and many are simply unwilling to fill out a request form and then wait for a return call when booking an event. Make it easy to do business with your venue by offering a variety of booking channels, but remember, just because you offer bookings online or by chat doesn’t mean you should make it less personal. Have a process in place to for a follow up phone call after any online bookings. This will allow you to confirm details, address any questions, offer upsells, and begin to build that important relationship with your upcoming guest.
When booking an event in person or over the phone, spend time learning a little about your planner and/or the guest of honor so that you’re able to position your entertainment center as a trusted partner that really cares about delivering a successful event and meeting guests’ unique needs. Trust goes a long way towards bigger events, future bookings and referrals.
After the bookings, it’s important to keep momentum going and continue to build rapport leading up to the event. Consumer behavior today suggests that people want to know you before they meet you, as evidenced by the popular unboxing and test drive videos all over the internet. But don’t think you have to put 30 more phone calls on your event planner’s To Do list. A few confirmation and expectation phone calls leading up to the event can be great, but also consider how to use automated emails to do some of the heavy lifting for you without sacrificing the personal touch.
#3 – Offer the upsell everytime
If we keep in mind that every attraction or package we offer helps people in our communities celebrate and make memories, it’s easy to see how we can enhance our guests’ experience through upselling extra attraction sessions, play cards, goody bags, etc. When you build rapport and trust during the booking process, you set yourselves up as the “fun expert,” which makes upselling easier. Remember that you have lots of opportunities to upsell so make it a point to train every team member to offer an upsell item or two to every guest. Every guest, every day, every shift. In fact, you can even upsell additional party time and attractions with a special bonus at the end of an event and push value out to group event cards while they are in use. This is a great way to end an event on a high note. With every member of your team consistently watching for engagement points and ways to enrich guests’ experiences, you’ll be set up to boost revenue and build customer loyalty every time.
#4 – Deliver “the wow” consistently
Efficient systems and training are critical for any event’s success. Automate what you can, and train for what can’t be automated. Build solid schedules around attractions, food delivery and party rooms/area so that you’re able to schedule without fear of overbooking and give your team a consistent flow to perfect. Resist the urge to allow guests to set the flow or schedule of an event (remember you’re the party experts) and offer fixed schedules for attractions and areas to maximize your space and labor.
Provide exciting and motivating training and growth opportunities for event staff often to keep momentum and team member enthusiasm high. Contests, incentives and bonuses can help you achieve exceptional team member engagement. Engaged team members will always seek to do more, and to deliver a better experience. But it almost never happens by chance.
#5 – Make intentional next steps
As when delivering a great experience onsite, an intentional follow up strategy provides you with a framework and clear action plan for booking future events.
In addition to adding planners and attendees to your marketing database, collect event feedback and inquire about future event needs and referrals. Use a varied approach in follow up emails, comment cards, social media and on your website to mobilize your best guests to push your business forward. But remember to think about meaningful special offers and incentives that will make acting on your behalf worthwhile.
There is so much opportunity to not only book new events, but also build guest loyalty and earn more revenue with existing customers that making even one or two tweaks to your processes can start making a difference to your bottom line today.
Sherry Howell is the Brand Engagement Director for CenterEdge Software and has a background in training in the US and abroad. She has spent the last five years developing and delivering amusement and family entertainment education to help operators in areas such as sales, guest service, birthday party execution, culture and leadership, and business operations. Find more industry best practices at the CenterEdge Software Blog.
If you have questions for Sherry or want to learn more about the CenterEdge Software & Embed relationship, reach out to her at email@example.com