Business Strategies: Attracting More Group Business to Leisure Entertainment Facilities

January 24, 2012 No Comments

January 24, 2012

While individual guests clearly generate a significant chunk of leisure entertainment facilities’ business, group sales can open up a nice alternative revenue stream for venues of all kinds. What’s more, successfully playing the group sales card isn’t as difficult as operators may think; a bit of ingenuity and beyond-the-box thinking go a long way here.

To start, forge a better connection with individuals and organizations in charge of planning group events. As a means of raising its profile within the community, Paradise Park in Lees Summit, Mo., once held a “Group Event Giveaway.” For-profit and non-profit businesses alike had the opportunity to win a $2,000 event for use as an employee motivator. The venue has also held similar field trip giveaways targeted towards schools.

In another vein, Stars & Strikes Family Entertainment Center, which operates four facilities in Cumming, Dacula, Dallas and Stone Mountain, Ga., reaches out to local schools and athletic teams by sponsoring their events, thereby planting a seed in organizers’ minds about where to hold their next party or other gathering, according to a spokesperson. Toward the same end, all four centers have also partnered with local schools to serve as the site of short- and long-term classes intended as substitutes or adjuncts to on-site physical education instruction.

Making it easier for organizers to put together events is an equally viable jumping-off point for bolstering group sales. Don Helbig, spokesperson for King’s Island Amusement Park in Mason, Ohio, said the facility has been doing a much more effective job of cultivating groups since the March 2009 implementation of an online “microsite” geared to businesses, schools, churches and family outings. Each page offers detailed information about offerings for different types of groups, as well as client testimonials and tips for saving money on group outings.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg; creativity and a willingness to “bend’ in terms of pricing and programming also rank as an imperative for leisure entertainment facility operators whose priorities include attracting a significant cadre of groups to their establishments. On the pricing side of the equation, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., plays the flexibility card by defining a “group’ as 10 people or more and touting discounted admission accordingly, stated Cecile Fisher, vice president, marketing and communications. Discounted general admission prices are $18.95 for adults; $16.95 for senior citizens (age 60 and older); and $10.95 for children ages 3 to 11, versus $24.95; $21.95 and $13.95, respectively. Increments of 25 or more pre-paid discount tickets for corporations are also available. Fisher said the aquarium has seen an uptick in the amount of group business it generates as a result of taking these additional steps to woo smaller groups; smaller pieces of group business also have turned into larger ones when participants in the former, such as a family outing, think of the aquarium for more sizeable ones they happen to be putting together.

Similarly, Buffalo, Minn.-based Huikko’s Bowling & Entertainment Center extends group pricing to gatherings of 12 or more persons, with $1.50 off the regular price of standard and cosmic bowling with or without shoe rental. Groups can also opt for the hourly rental of six, eight or 14 lanes.

In examples of flexibility in programming, CuriOdyssey, a children’s science and wildlife museum in San Mateo, Calif., ranks among innovators. In an effort to “break down barriers” for groups, according to Director of Marketing and Business Strategy Abi Karlin-Resnick,  the facility has introduced a self-guided field trip alternative. Discounted admission for these field trips is offered to groups of 10 or more children.

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Ill., touts a similar option. Additionally, it brings a variety of educational programs to area schools, with the object of appealing to organizers to the degree that they will next book a field trip to the facility.

Meanwhile, in Atascadero, Calif., the Charles Paddock Zoo does not restrict field trips and group visits to daytime hours; rather, it touts a “Zoo Snooze’ sleepover program available not only to birthday parties, but to church youth, scout and even multi-family groups. Participants are treated to tours, encounters with the animals, craft sessions, snacks and a post-sleepover breakfast.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Coast to Coast Presents Half-off Special on Webkinz

Coast to Coast Entertainment has a limited supply of Webkinz, the stuffed animals that come alive online in Webkinz World. This is a limited time offer while supplies last. Each case has 72 soft, colorful officially licensed pieces and is priced at $4.99 per piece. The company offers top-quality plush at excellent prices and guarantees satisfaction with the best quality plush in the country. The company’s customers tell them that it sells some of the best-quality plush in the country and there is never a minimum buy required. For more information on Coast to Coast, visit www.cranemachines.com.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Digital Centre Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary and Introduces New Products

Digital Centre is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Since 1997 the company has been working hard to go beyond the standards. Innovation and creativity have been the company’s best tools for 15 years. Since the debut of the first best seller, the Dr. FACE Photo Booth, day after day, the company has been developing and creating new concepts to bring the industry to the next level. This year, on the 15th anniversary, the company is introducing five new innovative products: The STRIP, The WALL Strip, FOLD’N’GO, The MEGA Strip and the MEGA Combo.  But this is just the beginning of a new era in the photo booth industry. More new ideas and technologies are on the way.

SPECIAL EVENT – CAST YOUR VOTE TODAY!!!

Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine and Foundations Entertainment University, through their leading roles in the industry, have joined together to recognize the many hard-working and talented individuals who have taken their centers from good to great, raising the bar for our industry. Please cast your votes today on the official Entertainment Excellence Award Ballot.

(You may also print out the BALLOT HERE and fax your submission)

In order to recognize entertainment center excellence, here are the nominees once again:

Best Bowling Anchored Center

  • Jupiter Bowl, Park City, Utah
    www.jupiterbowl.com
  • Shenaniganz, Rock Wall, Texas
    www.shenaniganz.com
  • Emagine Star Lanes, Royal Oak, Mich.
    www.emagine-entertainment.com
  • Star Lanes, Newport, Ky.
    www.starlaneslevee.com

Best Family Entertainment Center, Indoor

  • Funplex, East Hanover, N.J.
    www.thefunplex.com
  • Triple Play Family Fun Park, Hayden, Idaho
    www.3play.com
  • Provo Beach Resort, Provo, Utah
    www.provobeachresort.com
  • Fun Spot, Grand Country Square, Branson, Mo.
    www.grandcountry.com

Best Family Entertainment Center, Outdoor/Indoor

  • Treetop Family Adventure, Birmingham, Ala.
    www.treetopfamilyadventure.com
  • Fun Spot, Orlando, Fla.
    www.FunSpotAttractions.com
  • Frankies Fun Park, Columbia, N.C.
    www.frankiesfunpark.com
  • Boomers, Irvine, Calif.
    www.boomersparks.com

Best Roller Skating Center

  • Scottie’s Fun Spot, Quincy, Ill.
    www.scottiesfunspot.com
  • Skate N’ Fun Zone, Manassas, Va.
    www.skatenfunzone.com
  • Classic Fun Center, Sandy, Utah
    www.classicfuncenter.com
  • Northridge Skateland, Northridge, Calif.
    www.skateland.net

Best Laser Tag Center

  • Laser Blaze, Louisville, Ky.
    www.lazerblaze.com
  • The Web, West Chester, Ohio
    www.laserwebtag.com
  • Laserdome, Lancaster, Pa.
    www.laserdome.com
  • Laser Tag & Games, Metairie, La.
    www.ltag.com

Best Games Zone, Arcade

  • Big Al’s, Beaverton, Ore.
    www.ilovebigals.com
  • Mohegan Sun Casino Cyber Quest, Uncasville, Conn.
    www.kidsquest.com
  • The Clubhouse at Hackers, Statesboro, Ga.
    www.clubhouseathackers.com
  • Boomer’s, Dania Beach, Fla.
    www.boomersfunparks.com

Best Birthday Parties

  • TreePaad Family Fun Center, Malta, N.Y.
    www.treepaad.com
  • Fun Expedition/Ashville’s Fun Depot
    www.ashvillesfundepot.com
  • Freedom Station Family Fun Center
    www.freedomstationfun.com
  • Heros, Toledo, Ohio
    www.herostoledo.com

Best FEC Website

  • Family Fun Center and Bullwinkles
    www.fun-center.com
  • Boomers, (Chain)
    www.boomersparks.com
  • Fiesta Village, Colton, Calif.
    www.fiestavillage.com
  • The Children’s Museum of Denver, Denver, Colo.
    www.mychildsmuseum.org

Best Facility Maintenance Program

  • Paradise Park, Lee’s Summit, Mo., 10 years old
    www.paradise-park.com
  • TreePaad Family Fun Center, Malta, N.Y.
    www.treepaad.com
  • Bowlera, Caguas, Puerto Rico
    www.bowlera.com
  • Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Waterpark, West Berlin, N.J.
    www.saharasams.com

Best Facility Food Operation

  • Bowlera, Caguas, Puerto Rico
    www.bowlera.com
  • The Clubhouse at Hackers, Statesboro, Ga.
    www.clubhouseathackers.com
  • San Antonio’s Incredible Pizza Company, San Antonio, Texas
    www.incrediblepizza.com
  • Boomers! Dania Beach and Greater Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
    www.boomersparks.com/site/dania/

Best Redemption Prize Center

  • Enchanted Castle, Lombard, Ill.
    www.enchanted.com
  • Blue Fusion, Marion, Ohio
    www.bluefusionfun.com
  • Funhaven Entertainment Center
    www.funhaven.com
  • Fannie Farkles, Gatlinburg, Tenn.
    www.fanniefarkles.net
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