The Top Five Marketing Tools Your Center Should Have

April 5, 2012 No Comments

The path to creating excitement for your center has been changing lately. Are you keeping up? Here are five things your FEC should have in place to embrace the new promotional landscape:

  • Modernize your website. Websites were never intended to be created and ignored. Are you keeping the content on your site fresh? Consider moving to a “CMS” or Content Management System. Having a CMS site allows you to login through the administrative panel and manage the site’s content, pictures and other features. There are many good programs out there, but three “Open Source” (or free) programs are WordPress, Drupal and Joomla!. CMSs make managing your site easier, so you’re more likely to update it more often.
  • Facebook page. This is a no brainer. With 800-plus million users, and the average United States account holder spending 27-plus hours a month participating, Facebook dominates the way we discuss our lives. How much time is your staff committing to Facebook? Just like any tool, you get out of it what you put into it. Learn how to use your page, incorporate it into your website and see sales results.
  • Maximize review sites. Savvy out-of-home entertainment seekers no longer trust your advertising. They need feedback, and increasingly they look to four sources for this feedback. Update your center’s “Google Places,” “Yelp,” “Urban Spoon” and “Trip Advisor” listings with current hours, photos, menus and links. You should also be encouraging guests to leave reviews in your email, Facebook and face-to-face conversations. The case has been made that businesses with good reviews benefit greatly. Lots of good reviews also diminish the harm that bad reviews can have on your word of mouth. The best part? The review sites are free for basic listings.
  • Establish Clear “Check-In” listings. Active people with smart phones love to tell their friends what they are doing at any given time. They do this via FourSquare and Facebook “Check-In.” Make sure your center is accurately listed, and link your location to your customized listing. Every time someone does a “Check-In” it’s a free promotion to their friends about you.
  • Capture guest’s emails. A website is increasingly important as a “virtual brochure” but once a guest has visited, tools like email and Facebook help you maintain the relationship. What are you doing to capture your guests while they are in the facility? Most card systems have a way to store email addresses, and the new opt-in device can also help automate the process. Think of each email you have on your list being worth $5. How much money walks out the door everyday because you aren’t taking active steps to get customers into your database?

(Peter Starkel of Traverse City, Mich., is a partner at Brand Champion/Fun Advisors, with clients nationwide.)


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Midway Concepts (Circus Tops)

Premier designers of stainless steel food service equipment.

Family Fun Corp.

Waterpark walls for rivers, bumper boat and splash down pools.

International Special Events (ISERA)

Risk purchasing group, a better way to purchase liability insurance, specializing in inflatables and much more.

Deltronic Labs Inc.

Ticket dispensers.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Broaster Co., The

Food programs and food service equipment.

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.


Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Gould Manufacturing, Ltd.

Concession trailers and Antique, Jeep and Grand Prix auto rides.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Knight Equipment

Drive cables for ferris wheels, Tilt-A-Whirls, Rock-O-Planes and many others.

Formula K Raceways

Go-karts, kiddie cars and bumper boats, go-kart parts and tires.

Xtreme Inflatables

Repair and service for all inflatable products.

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.


Research and development of interactive water games for use in the commercial amusement industry.

Lakeshore Merchandise (Smart Vending)

Premier vending supply for all of your vending equipment and supply needs.

CFX Composite & Effects

Special effects make-up and prosthetics

Safari Ltd.

Leading manufacturer of innovative educational toys.

Harris Miniature Golf Course

Design and construction of miniature golf courses and water rides.

Penny Press

Penny souvenir machine, great for parks, FECs, bowling and skating centers, museums and tourist attractions.

Mahoning Valley Mfg.

A complete line of Imperial strollers, wagons and safari utility vehicles.

Sureshot Redemption

One-stop source for prize redemption counters at entertainment centers.

Gold Medal Products Co.

Concession equipment, foods and beverages, popcorn, pretzels and snack foods.


Namco America is a premier manufacturer of coin-op arcade attractions, ranging from the hottest titles like Crazy Typhoon and Jumpin’ Jackpot to classic game-room experiences such as the Pac-Man 25th Anniversary upright that features Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Specialized pieces such as Wonka Sweetland and Flamin Finger are favorites too! For arcade gaming fun, Namco America is your answer.

Chestnut Identity Apparel

Uniform supply, embroidered apparel and flag manufacturing.

Coast to Coast

Coin-operated entertainment, crane machines.

Action Lighting Co.

Lighting supplies.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

Sippers By Design

Design and manufacture of specialty custom-shaped drink containers.

Martin Professionals

A lighting supplier of choice for the entertainment industry.

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

Quik N\’ Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Jane Farrell Turf and Carpets, Inc.

Commercial carpet, printed and decorative patterns, loop and cut-pile construction. Wall coverings in fluorescents, Class A fire rated. Colored turf, both traditional and neon colors.

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.

Nieco Corp

Nieco automatic broilers.

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

Wisdom Industries, Ltd.

Amusement ride manufacturer, new and used rides.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Barron Games

Redemption air hockey games.


Manufacturer of waterslides

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

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Extreme Engineering
Rebound Unlimted, Inc.