While revenue is the bottom line in any business, you cannot lose sight of the product you are selling. And one of the products roller skating centers sell are birthday celebrations.
How do you keep the birthday good times rolling while making a larger profit? Two Roller Skating Association International members shared some insight regarding birthday parties at their facilities.
Keeping in mind that the economy has not fully recovered yet, and many families are forgoing an outside facility for birthday parties, these owner/operators have decided to expand on the party options.
Julie Cauvel of The Rink Family Fun Center in Pennsylvania, said “We have added more party packages, they offer more selection so anyone can afford to come celebrate.”
The Rink Family Fun Center offers six birthday packages from which to choose. The deals include a basic package covering 10 kids for $45, an ultimate plan that charges $85 for 10 kids, and a private party with unlimited guests and a two-hour rental for $150. As the packages increase in price, so do the additional perks.
Kevin Treacy of USA Skateland in Chandler Ariz., believes that the value of the celebration is in the entertainment, or the “Wow” factor. Each party needs to be genuine.
We can break this down to satisfying three groups for a successful birthday party transaction. First and foremost the birthday child, second the party attendees, and last the parents (because if Mom isn’t happy, nobody is happy.)
The Birthday Child
The child is celebrating the one day a year that is special to them, their date of birth and the reason for the party. The child is the number one guest at the gathering, so making them feel special should be a leading edge to the party.
Begin with special identifiers for the child and party guests. As simple as a sticker, as extravagant as a hat or shirt (something to take away, and even advertise for the skating center.)
Included should be a special party room decorated with the birthday child’s name. Additionally, Treacy suggested, there should be a special skate for the birthday party whereby the birthday child selects a favorite song and their party gets a private skate.
Party hosts could also give a short lesson on basic skating techniques to ensure that everyone is skating and has fun. This can lead to repeat business because now they are comfortable on skates, especially if the party was their first roller skating experience.
The Party Attendees
This might be their first time in your facility. Now is the time to hook them. As I stated previously, a sticker to identify they are with the party is a start. Being escorted into the party room, VIP style, will make them feel special. Something inexpensive (pencil, notepaper or rubber bracelet) to walk away with to remember their experience, and even advertise the center, is a great idea.
Another way to get the party guest to come through your doors again is a free skate pass. Most children will not come alone, so you may attract a new family. Most operators agree that if you can get a first-time customer to come back to your facility at least three times, they will continue coming back as a regular customer.
Parents are footing the bill! Chances are they decided to use your facility because they did not want all the kiddos running amuck in their home. Kids, plus a party, can equal a headache if not managed properly.
Cauvel and Treacy agreed a party host can be the answer to all of these worries. Weather it is you the operator/owner or one of your floorgaurds dressed as a princess or cowboy, service is the factor.
The plus side of having a party host will aid in the timing of the party. Some facilities only have one party room and book it full on those busy Saturdays. The party host can control skate time, present time and cake time. Parents will be relieved they do not have to cut the cake while their child is opening gifts and possibly miss something. The party host will keep everything under control and in the time slot so the next guests get ushered in at their scheduled time.
Both Cauvel and Treacy have added birthday party options to offer a variety of choices and stressed that service is extremely important as well as identifying with your target audience to increase that bottom line. The best source of marketing is word of mouth; a phenomenal experience will leave the patrons talking about your facility for years. –
(Susan Melenchuk is the Executive Director of the Roller Skating Association International.)
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