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Why did you choose Party Center Software? "We were looking around for a party solution that would solve some of the problems that we were running into. And after doing a lot of research in the industry, it seemed that Party Center Software was definitely, hands down, the best solution for what we were trying to do as far as online party booking and just party management in general. It just really seemed like you guys have a quality organization where you're constantly striving to improve your product which aligns really well with what our values are as well."
What did you have before Party Center Software? "We did a mashup of just booking parties over the phone with a party booking sheet that we would have on a clipboard. And then we had an online form, a jot form, where customers could go online to fill out the form. And it would send us an email, which we would then print out and call the customer up to follow up with booking. We ran into a handful of issues. Namely, double-booking was our biggest nightmare. To where it was a busy party booking day - we would have 3 or 4 emails sitting in our inbox, and several phone calls and voicemails. We would literally fill up spots multiple times before we realized that spot has been taken, which would then create quite a bottleneck the day of the parties."
Did Party Center Software make booking easier? "Loads easier! I was actually skeptical at first, which is why it took me 6 months to sign up with Party Center Software. I thought the old system was fine, etc. And then once we started using Party Center Software for a few weeks, my staff and I couldn't believe that we had waited so long. The double-bookings were eliminated overnight. The amount of time it takes to book a party went from about 30-45 minutes...it went down to about 10-15 minutes now with our new process. So it's been amazing."
Has Party Center Software increased the number of events that you book? "Overall our parties have gone up significantly. I think we're at about a 25% increase year-over-year since switching to Party Center Software. What's happening is as the Saturday spots are taken up, more people are booking for weekdays, or Fridays, or Sundays - which usually weren't as full. So we're seeing the load spread out much more evenly over the weekends or even the later part of the weekdays, which has been really good for us."
What are your favorite features of the software? "As a stats guy, my favorite has to be the reporting. Before switching to Party Center Software for our party management, I really didn't know what our party situation was unless we really dug in deep into some of our data. I would literally have to count the number of events manually in Gmail to see how we were doing for a given time period, year-over-year, etc. Whereas with Party Center Software, with a few clicks, I'm able to see just about any statistic I can dream of. So it's really easy to see year-over-year comparisons, the average type of event, revenue per event, guests per event...all that's done for me. And I find myself able to do things like trying to see how many new reservations we made just by running 1 report instead of having to try to manually add up different numbers from multiple sources."
Would you recommend this software to others? "Yes, absolutely. Overall, it's been a great experience. It's been good working with the Party Center Software team. And my staff has been very appreciative of the time we've saved them by not having to spend all their time on weekdays booking parties."
Additional Comments "The other phenomenon that we've experienced with having PCS, is because customers can see the schedule online, it's sinking in more that our party spots fill up. We used to have it where it looked like our party schedule was wide open because everyone was waiting until the last minute to book. And then it would create this big logjam and kind of this scheduling headache at the end. Now, as people are seeing spots fill up, it kind of causes this chain reaction where we're starting to fill up more in advance, which then leads to people booking earlier and earlier, and it's helping us a lot with our scheduling and our logistics planning."
"Interestingly enough, the number of parties on Saturdays actually went down after switching to Party Center Software just because we're not double-booking anymore. We used to have more parties than were mathematically possible for a given day!"