June 2017 Issue Summery

An Original TAP eNewsletter Feature

Top Staff Training and Motivational Tips

A well-trained staff is an important component of any successful business. For this article, mini-golf, bowling, trampoline, and family fun center managers and owners offered their top training tips as well as information about motivational incentives to keep employees happy.

At Jumpoline in Aurora, Colo., Manager Andy O’Brien said the best way to train his staff is through intensive one-on-one training by management. “Our managers do all the individual training, and then on your first day of non-training, we have other floor staff or other experienced employees on the floor with new staff members to go over everything with them. The best way to train is to personally teach new hires and be very hands-on.” O’Brien explained that there are certain training elements that are the most important at his facility, such as ensuring positive mentality and action among his staff. “We like everyone to have a great time here, so we want the energy you get, the vibe you get in here to be good, positive, and pleasant. We also don’t want to see staff just sitting around. If there’s downtime, then there’s time to clean. We do that morning and night, making sure everything is sanitary. With all those feet jumping around, it’s important,” he attested.

As far as incentives go, O’Brien allows employees to come in to Jumpoline and jump any time they aren’t working, and provides discounts if they bring in groups for parties. “We also give raises sooner than our regular three-month evaluation. If we see someone is working really hard for a couple of months, we don’t wait.”

The team from the Sandy Springs, Ga., location of Stars & Strikes. Pictured, from left to right, are: Michael Dean, general manager; Jennifer Reeves, events manager; Joshua Curls, bar supervisor; and Matthew Morgan, food and beverage manager. See the June issue of TAP for an interview with the business’ co-founder.

At Camelot Lanes in Youngstown, Ohio, Owner Peppe Smith said the first tip in staff training that she can offer starts with the hiring process at her bowling center. “Hire smart people who like to have fun,” she suggested. “We have a university in our town, and there are many wonderful people with great personalities there. After we hire them, we just have to guide them to entertain our guests. We do train personally, one-on-one, and we also do the School for Bowling Center Management online courses for anyone who is interested, will take it seriously, and accomplish it,” she explained. “It’s also important to set objectives correctly, so we teach by example. I’ll go in and show them how to do things, particularly in regard to events. And of course, it’s important to choose the right employee for the right job. We have one staff member, for example, who is a marketing person, with another part-time marketing job, and so she naturally does our Facebook and our brochures. As far as incentives go, Smith said the real incentive she offers is “having fun at work. We make sure our staff enjoys working with us, that’s by far the best incentive.”

In Tucson, Ariz., Sara Archuleta, who serves as director of sales and as trainer for all inside staff at Golf N’ Stuff, said her facility typically hires two or three people at a time, and trains this small group together in a multi-step process. “Typically, they first watch a training video that is provided by our corporate office for all locations, then a specific video created just for our location,” she related. “Then I will train them personally on cash handling and how the registers work. Once they’re trained in that position, we have check lists that the staff members should follow daily on their shifts, and they will be trained on different tasks depending on the position they are in.” Archuleta explained that at her facility there are also bumper cars, go karts, and laser tag as well as mini-golf, and employees working in those specific areas are trained by the facility’s outside manager, one of the staff mechanics at her location.

When it comes to motivational incentives, Golf N’ Stuff does a summer competition for staff. “The staff is broken into teams. We get input from several customers and one location manager each day, and at the end of the day the employees are awarded points based on that feedback. At the end of the month, the team with the most points is rewarded with gift cards to different attractions and restaurants around Tucson.”

Additionally, the location is “secret shopped” through the corporate office, and when an employee is awarded a secret shopping winner, they will also receive certificates and gift cards.

Andrea Simpson Perez, owner, Aim High Indoor Bounce of Forney, Texas.
The business is featured in a June 2017 TAP article.

The senior management team of Phillips Entertainment Inc., San Antonio, Texas, photographed in the lobby of the first Extreme Escape. Shown, from left to right, are: Sonny Marston, vice president of Projects and Business Development; Chuck Dunham, vice president of Operations; Naomi Castillo, human resources manager and executive assistant; Alex Amaro, operations manager; and Davis Phillips, president and CEO. Each issue of Tourist Attractions & Parks includes a story covering the Escape Room industry, and the June 2017 edition offers an interview with Phillips.

At Glo Mini Golf in Riverside, Calif., Owner Michael Mathews uses one-on-one training for his staff along with an employee handbook and a check-list of daily activities. “A combination of myself, another of the owners, or the manager trains employees. We lead them through the handbook, walk them through what needs to be done, and explain the check list,” he asserted. Like Archuleta at Golf N’ Stuff, Mathews is using a contest to motivate employees. “We just implemented a contest for high sales a couple of weeks ago. We’re going to offer cash bonus incentives.”

In Upland, Calif., Brad Hornecker, general manager of Laser Island, trains employees both individually and in a small group. “If we hire more than one person at a time, we will train them together. We go through training on all of our attractions, laser tag, rock climbing walls, and our full café, there’s a lot of different training that we put staff through, including kitchen training, but we take it one step at a time,” he noted.  “Typically, they are hired at our ‘first level’ which is laser tag, and then they move into training on our rock climbing wall, cleaning and maintenance, working with prizes and redemption games in the arcade. Sometimes we hire new employees with experience in these areas, but primarily, we bring in employees at the starting level and they staff the laser arena. As they progress as employees, we’ll train them to other tasks when they’re ready or a position opens up.”

Currently, Hornecker is not running any employee motivational programs, although he has done so in the past, offering gift cards or a monetary bonus. “We’re thinking of instituting a type of competition in which we put employees together on teams, and they collect points. For example, they’d get points for covering a shift for someone else, and lose points if they need a shift replacement, that type of thing.”

Overall, training employees may include videos, manuals, and graduated training stages; motivational perks are often offered. In most cases, some form of one-on-one training is key to successful learning.

Emma Hamilton, general manager of Big Foot on the Strip in Branson, Mo. See the June 2017 issue of TAP for an interview with Hamilton.

In Summary: June 2017 Tourist Attractions & Parks

The June 2017 issue of Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazines features a wide range of articles packed with summer topics.

In the Large Park Report section, the article “Training Trends from the Disney Trenches – Behind the Scenes at Pandora – The World of Avatar,” discusses the employee training necessary for technical operation.

In “Waves – Fun for the Young: Splashpads and Splashparks,” there’s an in-depth look at splashpads and splashparks at a selection of waterparks. There’s also a Bonus Sidebar: “Safety Precautions at Splashpads at Splashparks”

In The Buzz Boys section, “Fun the World Over – How Entertainment Centers in Europe, Russia and Asia Compare to United States Attractions” is the topic of an article by Frank Seninsky, who undertook a three-week international road trip.

The magazine’s Expanded Entertainment Center Report focuses on “Generating New Business – Classic Bowling Alleys Move Into a New League,” a piece that looks at the ways in which classic lanes are improving to draw customers. “An Alley that Meets its Mark – The Timber Lanes Story” discusses how a new management team, staff, and upgrades boosted success for Oxford, Pa.’s Timber Lanes . A bonus sidebar discusses “Five Ways to Spruce up a Bowling Alley;” while the article “Creating Employees Who Help You Earn – Tips to Hire Right and Train for the Best Staff” examines how fun centers handle hiring and training. A bonus sidebar to that feature discusses “Finding the Best Employees.”

“Escaping the Ordinary – Tips to Keep the Experience Fresh for Repeat Visitors” looks at the ways in which escape room owners and managers keep visitors excited and coming back for more.  The bonus sidebar tackles what lies ahead for these attractions with “Escape Rooms – Looking Toward the Future.” In “Getting Fast Food Sales Rolling – The Quick Eats Picture at Skating Centers,” tips for finding the best fast food for skating centers are served up, while a bonus sidebar discusses “New Twists in Tasty Soft Pretzels.” In the article “Aiming for Fun – Trends at Laser Tag Centers,” the latest trends in attendance and parties at these centers is the topic.

Alexa Julson photographed at the Ninja course in Action City Trampoline Park. The June issue of TAP offers a profile of the location, which is a popular fun zone at the Metropolis Resort and Conference Center in Eau Claire, Wis.

Looking at Trampoline Parks, the article “Action City Family Fun Center – Jumping on a Growing Trend” looks at the Action City Family Fun Center in Eau Claire, Wis., at the Metropolis Resort and Conference Center, which has added a trampoline park for an even better guest experience. Accompanying that piece is the bonus sidebar “Creating Entertainment Synergy – Dallas-based Cinergy Offers Movies, Fun and Food” at this location. A second sidebar discusses “Trends in Soft Play and the Future of the Industry.”

A new facility profile offers a first look at “Bigfoot on the Strip in Branson, Mo.,” with a centerpiece attraction, the 200-foot high Bigfoot Action Tower. And in the Fresh Additions section, readers can explore “Expanding with Bumper Cars and More for Fun and Profit.” A bonus sidebar looks at “How the New Anakeesta Attraction Handled POS.”

In the AAMA FEC Corner, the article “Tips for Smell-Good Centers – Keeping a Facility Free from Odors” tackles “scent-sations;” and the Insurance Perspectives section examines “Entertainment Facility Trends and Advice” with a look at the insurance picture at several entertainment facilities.

The magazine’s Street Beat section explores “Game Trends – The Redeeming Qualities of Redemption Games,” with a bonus sidebar examining “Designing A Room To Maximize Redemption Game Profits.” The article “Coin-Op Trends: New Games for New Times,” takes a look at new games.

In the Zoos, Aquariums and Museums section, the magazine explores “Trends in Alcoholic Beverages at Zoos, Aquariums and Museums,” as well as discussing in a bonus sidebar “Grains versus Grapes – Does Beer or Wine Sell Best?”

The Amusement Rental/Inflatable News section highlights “On Time and On Schedule – Tips to Keep Jobs Moving, with a discussion of how companies pull out all the stops to get inflatables delivered and set up on time.

Bill McBride, facilities manager, and Debby Dowdy, general manager, Timber Lanes in Oxford, Pa. In the June 2017 edition of TAP, this attraction is covered as part of a special bowling feature.

News from Around the Industry

Bill Wilcox Joins Amusement Products and Amusement Construction

Amusement Products and Amusement Construction has welcomed Bill Wilcox to the sales team.

Wilcox has worked extensively in the industry with a variety of companies, and for the last nine years has operated his own FEC construction company.

Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in helping entrepreneurs, municipalities and business owners get into the FEC business. He has also assisted facilities seeking to add miniature golf courses, batting cages, go-kart tracks and bumper boat ponds to their existing attractions.

With the hiring of Wilcox for the Amusement Products and Amusement Construction team, the company has made another experienced professional with great customer service skills and industry knowledge available to customers.

Bill Wilcox.

F2FEC Announces 2018 Location

The organizers of F2FEC 2018 have announced the location for the event – The Broadmoor. This historic resort is located in Colorado Springs and has everything that embodies the F2FEC experience. The event will be held February 20-22, 2018.

For more information, visit https://f2conference.com/2018-experience/ or visit the conference on Facebook for updates throughout the year.

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