If you're an FEC owner or operator, now the perfect time to re-evaluate your party packages, and pricing, and start planning for the holiday season.
Yes, you heard me right -- it's never too early to start planning! October is here and before you know it, busy season will be in full swing.
That's why in this article, we're going to go over why it's so important to start planning early and what you can do to attract more customers, add value to your packages, and make this holiday season the best and most profitable yet!
5 Tips for Creating the BEST Party Packages this Holiday Season
Soon enough, customers are going to start searching for party packages that will give them the best bang for their buck this holiday season.
That's why it's so important to take the time now to think about what you can do to improve your packages and add value to your customer.
1. Look at the data
At Party Center Software, one of our goals is to provide our customers with the insights they need to plan for the year ahead.
To do this, we analyze data from the thousands of parties booked each year through our system and publish our findings in an annual report.
Data from our 2021 Online Booking Study shows that creating additional incentives or upgrading your party package value by adding food, beverage, and other add-on items can set your facility apart from the competition and help you boost revenue.
Before you start planning, be sure to read our 2021 Online Booking Study for more information on industry averages as well as potential opportunities that exist for your business.
Additionally, take a look at your data! If you’re a Party Center Software customer, you can pull various reports from your software that can help you identify new opportunities.
2. Focus on providing a great guest experience
Do your party packages include special experiences or a discounted group admission rate?
Far too often, we see family entertainment centers and event facilities view their party packages as a way to secure a dozen or so more walk-ins. They might take $2 off admission per person, but still charge full price for everything else—food, beverages, gameplay, etc.
While this strategy works well for some facilities, it's important to note that this approach focuses on discounting and volume versus experience and value.
Creating party packages that offer a high-value guest experience over lowering costs slightly just to get a few more people in the door will drive more revenue in the long term. Doing this will also reduce the strain on high-volume parties.
Here's an example of the two packages in action:
- Holiday Party Package Scenario #1: Each "Basic Party Package" costs $105. Let's say you have six of these booked on a Saturday afternoon, and each of these parties will have 10 attendees.
You would earn $630 for creating a memorable experience for 60 people in total. However, with this many parties and people, you'll likely need to hire multiple hosts. This situation has the potential to cause major confusion when trying to meet the needs and expectations of your many guests.
Not only does this go against your commitment to ensuring a seamless and positive experience, but the need for extra staffing will also significantly cut into your party profits.
- Holiday Party Package Scenario #2: Each "Ultimate Party Package" costs $250. Let's say you have three of these booked on a Saturday afternoon, and each party will have 10 attendees.
You would earn $750 for creating a memorable guest experience for 30 people. Since you have half the amount of parties, each party could be managed by a single host, allowing you to earn a higher profit per party.
Which of the two scenarios do you think is more likely to generate more positive reviews and return visits?
If you answered Scenario #2, well done!
Parties should be a special experience, well beyond what a normal walk-in would receive. Otherwise, any future business you could have received from those party guests or their referrals is slim-to-none.
3. Build valuable party packages
The fall and winter months are full of opportunities. From maximizing the back-to-school season to hosting upcoming holiday events, there are plenty of ways you can increase your facility's revenue.
Many family entertainment centers and event facilities have adopted the "Good-Better-Best" model to tier their party package options.
With this model, you'll offer a lower-priced, basic offering, one that still holds value and appeals to customers. You'll also offer second and third-tier options, which are higher-value.
When using the Good-Better-Best approach, it's important to name your products well. Which set of party package names sound more appealing?
| Party A
|| Silver Party
| Party B
|| Gold Party
| Party C
|| Platinum Party
If you're looking to increase your revenue, especially during the holiday season, I hope your choice was "Set B".
Platinum is the best. Gold is more valuable than Silver. And Silver still sounds pretty nice.
- Platinum Party Packages offer the highest incentives and make guests feel like royalty.
- Creating a Gold Party Package is key for your business. Your guests will feel better about not spending too much, but will still feel excited about the additional value they'll receive compared to the cheapest option.
More often than not, your Gold Party Packages are going to be the most popular option at your facility. Explain this option's added value without sounding overly “sales-y,” and watch people who would have purchased the Silver upgrade to Gold!
- A Silver Party Package is still a solid choice—don't skimp out on the value with this one. Having an affordable party package option that still includes exclusive add-ons and a great experience shows customers that your facility welcomes everyone and anyone, no matter their budget.
Brainstorm what party package labels suit your family entertainment center or event facility best, but please, a word of advice when it comes to naming them: "Bronze" is better left on doorknobs!
Make the most out of your party packages
Renaming and adding items to your party packages will allow you to charge more for them. If you've created your packages effectively, you'll still see business flow—or even better, increase—because your guests will be more excited about their purchasing decision.
All customers want to feel like they received the most value for their dollar. So, during the holiday season when it's easy to get caught up in overspending, your guests are going to take advantage of the best deals you're offering.
Can you spot the difference below?
|Kids' Holiday Party A
||Kids' Holiday Party B
| 3 Pitchers of Soda
|| Unlimited Soda
| One Ice Cream Sandwich
| Make Your Own Sundae!
| Discounted Admission
+ Skate Rental
| Admission + FREE Skate Rental
- Soda: I know what you're thinking."Unlimited soda?! You're taking away a huge "silent" money maker!"
Realistically, unless your parties are full of kids with superhuman stomachs, there's only so much soda a child can drink. You may wind up giving out another 2 pitchers total, which is far from a hit to your overall total.
Your goal is to book more parties around the $250 range, so that's quite a bit of a markup. Make your guests feel like there are no limits to the fun they can experience.
- Ice Cream: Before we go any further on this subject, let's be honest: your employees are eating your ice cream sandwiches when no one is looking.
One gallon of Neapolitan "Party Pails" at Kroger will cost about $9.00 after tax. From there, you are only some syrup and sprinkles away from offering more fun, more personalized, and more Instagrammable experience. And, it's at a more affordable cost to you.
Remember: you're selling the experience, not the
- Admission + Skate Rental: Think Fast: when you order a combo at McDonald's, what is the exact discount on your drink?
The point is that no one wants to do the math to determine if they're getting a good deal. If two options are going to cost the same, but you can change the words to make it simpler for the guest...do it.
4. Create an effective party package promotion plan
Creating an effective marketing plan for your events is key to generating interest and increasing party bookings, especially during the holidays when many of your regular/local customers will want to bring in family and friends from out of town.
Put yourself in your customers' shoes. Where are you most likely to grab their attention? On Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? What about email? Are you sending out regular promo emails or monthly newsletters?
Are you setting up booths at local markets, trade shows, and fairs to spread the word?
Are you promoting upcoming events at your facility via signage and promo items, or are you sending out direct mailers to encourage customers to return to your facility?
Make it a point to advertise your holiday events and party offerings consistently across multiple communication channels for the best chance of well-attended events.
5. Make purchasing your party packages easy and convenient for your customers
Some customers will navigate to your website from their computer weeks or months in advance of when they plan to book a party.
They might be signed up for your email newsletter or they follow you on Instagram, so they might be consistently reminded that you have certain offerings or specials going on.
However, the majority of people turn to their mobile phones during their busy work day to start researching potential party options a mere week before their desired event date.
Here comes the big question: how easy do you make it for customers to book parties with you?
Do you have a reservation or "contact us" form on your website? Do you not have a form at all and simply direct potential guests to give you a call at the facility?
Make it easier for your customers and your facility during this hectic time of year by offering what everyone wants and expects in this day and age— an online party booking option.
Online booking software allows your guests to pick their preferred party date and time at your facility, without having to coordinate with you via form or phone call. As a facility owner, you're then able to immediately collect their deposit and know exactly what's happening, when, and for how many people without having to play phone tag.
In the time it takes to get in touch with a potential customer who submitted a form or left a voicemail when you were closed, they may have already found somewhere else to go and spend their money.
Of course, you'll still want to call and confirm online bookings with your guests, but now the conversation will be different. The purchasing decision has already been made, so your focus can
now be about what will give your customer a successful guest experience, and not locking down a "sale."
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Hosting a Holiday Party: 4 Elements to Book & Host Great Parties at Your FEC
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