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The Sales Side of an Indoor FEC

Thinking outside the calendar

As the days go on, people can grow to get accustom to or bored by certain family entertainment centers. Those indoor FEC's that tend to throw the same birthday party packages, and decorate with the same props for Halloween and Christmas are the ones I’m generally speaking of. FECs have to outgrow the predictable routine for guest services and expand their businesses creativity with new and different ideas for great events.  A family entertainment center operator you have to be willing to stand out from the crowd and offer something different. Different people have different interests, and you have to be willing to please those interests as well. Try celebrating new holidays in order to promote versatility. Of course you can’t make everyday a holiday but do focus on the days where you know you’re going to get a heavy flow of guests walking through such as earth day, Twinkie day, and even world farmer’s day can work out well.

Have fun, and plan ahead on just how special and unique you want to make that holiday event to be. Start off by having an all employee meeting explain just what the purpose of the holiday is for and why you decided to celebrate it. A short 10 minute pep talk would certainly do wonders to those who might not know of the holiday prior to that work day. You can also even decide to make a holiday up of your own for those in your community to enjoy. One example can be mommy and me day, or Doggy lover’s day for all those pet lovers. The trick is to simply think outside the box and let ideas help you with transforming your indoor FEC to the next big thing in town rather than the “been there done that play center”.

Mom, Me and FEC

Generally speaking of the slower times of day where you really don’t see too much action going on in the average family entertainment center . You start to think, exactly how you will work around this school and work schedule during the week without having to close your doors during that time. One definite possibility that FECs everywhere are taking advantage of is through Mommy and Me programs. It’s no surprise that students of the head start, pre k, and kinder garden generation all get out of school just around the time your family entertainment center is opening its doors. The idea behind the Mommy and Me Programs is to be able to provide a place where both Parents and their toddlers can enjoy each other’s time all while learning a few extra neat tricks along the way. This way you won’t have to close your doors to the public during regular school hours and, you provide an enjoyable and controlled environment people can go to bond with their toddlers, and learn with their children.

You do want to specify in some shape or form that your program is not just for mothers and their children but for anyone who has a child that wants to do a little bit of social bonding. Whether it’s a grandparent, godfather, Dad, Caregiver, or Babysitter, you want to make sure they understand they too can be included in the “Mommy and Me” programs. You also want to make sure your classes are both affordable and require a minimum of four weeks commitment to be successfully enrolled to the program. You wouldn’t want class sizes dramatically increasing and decreasing because of people coming and going, so you need some sort of structure and commitment to be able to go on with great activities. When it comes to toddlers and children of younger ages, it really doesn’t take much more than imagination and creativity. Make sure you use that concept throughout the program to be able to let the students enjoy everything your indoor FEC has to offer. 

The Holiday Spirit

Holidays can really turn an indoor fun center busy weekends into an even bigger and better upside down circus. Bringing out the fun whenever Christmas, Halloween, and even New Years are just around the corner is one sure way to bring in the crowds.  Decorating your family entertainment center on the other hand is what adds the finishing touch. Think up of who you want to attract on Halloween for instance. Do you want to focus on having a theme with Horror houses and bloody walls for the older group or something with funny witches and pumpkins for the younger group? Focusing on both usually doesn’t work out well, simply because you can cause confusion as to what your brand is. Organizing events for the kids to enjoy during their stay at your FEC can be laid out in many different ways. One example can be having sponsors and guest attend your family entertainment center for an all Night Halloween ball where everyone who comes dressed in a costume gets 50% off admission and drinks and food are free. Sponsors can bring candies flyers to hand out to guests and everybody enjoys a good night.

Christmas and New Years can be decorated and planned to be just as fun. One way to do so can be through charity working during the holidays. Have people come make as many toy and canned food donation as possible, and whenever they donate an amount of $10 or more, they receive free admission or a free meal. This way people come out for a great cause and have a chance at having a great time. New years can also be a time where everybody can come out, enjoy free food and drinks and count down to the clock at midnight. Anybody with certain New Years colors or accessories has a chance at all the Games and prizes that are scheduled for midnight. Most people enjoy a good NY style countdown and dot mind a bigger crowd to do it with, so why not make a night of it and have everyone enjoy their New Year at your indoor FEC.

Corporate Takeover

When it comes to Corporate Sales, many family entertainment centers underutilize much of it. Expanding their business and finding ways to make that back up is essential to building up that Column. For example, if you gather for a Corporate meeting with fellow employees and CEO’ at a restaurant, picnic, conference room etc, and had a great time, then you would most definitely want to go back. You would also want to do so with family and friends, so that they could enjoy themselves as well. Making these corporate businesses want to come back on the other hand, will be primarily on a successful presentation of the facility and Food quality. Walking into a clean and presentable facility with excellent décor and amazing food choices would really make anyone want to come back, which is why they are so important. Look a little further to expanding your menu to easy, affordable, and delicious choices instead of quick and easy. Look into Italian pastas, and chicken salads and soups with burgers and bread sticks. Nothing too extravagant, but something away from frozen foods.

Knowing who to target to earn the corporate business on the other hand is another whole other focus you should always be aware of. Pay close attention to those people who generally tend to scheduling off site meetings and events, and those who manage the human resource center. Focus on the people who will take that will take you that extra step closer towards gaining their business. DO some research on potential companies and the people they have working for them. Find out what’s going on with local competition, and from time to time do some cold calling to give you an extra push. Making sure your customer knows there your focus generally does a lot with future business. You can also work your way with following up with phone calls or visits after events to still ensure you appreciate their business.

Scaring up Revenue

Halloween can be the most beneficial to FEC businesses  everywhere to continue increasing revenue during the slow season, All and when you provide the guest with the BOO there looking for. For example, Family Entertainment Centers that have focused on their Haunted Mansion themes over the last couple years have managed to increase revenues to dramatic highs. The trick is to make it scary enough for people to talk about. You need to make it a whole other dimension and make people both anxious and scared when they hear about it. Choose themes that you yourself are fearful of. Some examples can be that of the famous horror films and stories. Setting up mazes where its pitch black, or fogged up rivers. You can even make squeaky old rooms that resemble that of an abandoned house. The more themes there are, the scarier it is for the guests. Also look into attending as many other scary events before you go on to creating your own haunted mansion family entertainment center. Research as much as you can to make sure you put on a great show.

Present your Scary family entertainment center as best as you can. Pulling out cheap masks and limited props will only go so far. Making sure you go that extra step to provide more quality features will surely make the investment worthwhile. Buying in bulk can generally give you a lot of quality props and features for really great prices. So if money is your worry than keep in mind wholesale prices to spare your wallet some extra dimes. Avoid the common mistake of mixing crowds as well. Most FECs tend to forget that horror films and generally anything scary won’t work with the younger crowds and is aimed more towards adults. You can on the other hand host day time events away from your main scare rooms and cater to the younger children wanting to trick or treat and even see a funny pumpkin show while there. You can still be creative with events for the children just as long as they are away, and at completely different times than the scary fun you have scheduled for older groups.

All in the Family

Family Entertainment Centers are generally thought to be for children looking for to have some fun, but FECs have now beginning to target some older audiences as well. With more and more adult friendly additions being included throughout FECs, it is more common to see Adults having the time of their life alongside other adults as well. Older college students and Full time Dads tend to agree that alcoholic beverages, speed racing, pool tables, good food and sports is generally all they need to have a good time. This is why you should provide just that in one section of your family entertainment center for those older age groups to enjoy.  Most gentlemen will pay a good number to have their own man cave getaway to get away too, and the neat thing is that most women can enjoy all these things as well. So no more adults wondering around the facility or filling side benches because you can expand your business to bring them in to have fun too.

Big winners in the indoor FEC industry now a days is what you offer as far as Food and Drinks go. At an family entertainment center that caters to both children and Adult, you will find that Adults can have the meals that most satisfy them along with the drinks that are a part of it as well. Children can have their favorite, yet healthy foods that attract them most such as burgers and pizzas, but all in a real dining room experience to let them enjoy themselves. Most FECs have crowded lunch school cafeteria type dining areas that really make it hard to enjoy, which is why the more presentable you make your dining area, the more people will be interested in going. Provide your guests with something that will suit every age group and have people coming in on lunch breaks, Sunday nights and even throughout the week.

Stay on Top

Family Fun Centers strive off what they know how to do best, and that’s birthday parties. But with all the competition among other companies trying to aim towards Birthday parties themselves, indoor FECs have to focus on staying at the top. Focus on hiring people who can definitely work the room and have enough energy to spread to the whole room. If you’re party workers aren’t smiling and peppy, then they probably shouldn’t be placed in the party section. Have your party staff be upbeat and willing to help out. Also make sure those who book the parties have a good tone over the phone and repeat all important information, just to make sure the customer receives ultimate customer service and avoids any missed information. Also, stay close to what everyone can afford. If you have parties running at 400-500 each, than your more than likely won’t have a ton of people running to book their next party with you. Instead, focus on being creative with whatever your party budget is and steer pricing with that. This way you’re not investing more than you should in birthday parties and your client pool will expand. 

Hosting different and creative events can also keep you from moving down in the party pool with competitors. Think up new ways to make casual get-togethers a memorable event everyone will want to take part in. For example, hosting community events between competitive schools or sports teams can help with events. Start off by playing to their rivalry and host friendly competition between the two for the ultimate throw down, and the winning school or team gets a free pizza party at your family entertainment center. This way people will get involved and want to come back on their own time, or for a rematch. Invite community churches to join the fun and maybe even after school programs like the boys and girls club to any crazy will event you can think up.

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