The holidays are right around the corner—is your FEC prepared to handle the influx of customers and private events?
Planning for the holiday season at your facility is crucial for running successful private events as well as the general increase in patronage, as your regular customers will be bringing their visiting families and friends to join in the fun.
To make sure you're preparing your facility to provide the best guest experience for your customers, giving them positive holiday memories for year to come, here are 6 essential holiday planning tips your FEC needs.
When's the last time you checked in the heat in your facility? What about the pipes?
Chances are, the answer for many facilities is "not recently."
To make sure your family entertainment center doesn't run into unexpected issues that could have been prevented, run a maintenance check of the full facility before you decorate for the holidays.
Ensure all your equipment is running smoothly and will not only be able to withstand the cold winter months, but also provide hours of safe enjoyment for every guest coming through your doors
Think about where you're located. What holidays does your local community celebrate?
Make sure you're making as many customers as possible feel welcome in your facility when they walk in.
To make things fun, host an "After Hours" party for your employees so they can help you decorate your facility. Play music and order pizza and drinks. This is a great way to get things done, while also showing your staff you appreciate all the extra hours they're putting in to help you during this busy season.
Your customers will walk in the next day to the winter wonderland you've created with a smile on their face, and your employees will be happy knowing they've helped to put it there.
The holidays are a busy time for everyone, especially for those in the holiday entertainment industry.
If you plan on having a "Meet and Greet with Santa" event at your facility, you need to make sure you book him, and book him early.
A quick search on the internet should yield results of reputable "Santas" in the area, and how you can book them for events.
Depending on your location, there may not be an abundance of options to choose from, and you want to make sure you're going to have someone that's not only reliable, but safe around the many children coming into your facility.
Make sure you're looking for—and booking—this kind of entertainment 3 months in advance (at the very least.) Whether it's a band for a holiday party, Santa and his elves, or a crew capable of decorating the harder to reach areas of your facility (such as to hoist decor on the roof or ceiling), you need to make sure you've secured their work well in advance.
If possible, book them this year for the following holiday. You'll both be happy you already have dates secured and one less event to worry about.
The festive fall and winter months mean more—of everything. More parties mean more people, and more people mean more supplies.
Take a look at all the parties you have on the books for the holiday season. This includes anything in January! With all of the extra events you'll be hosting, you're likely to forget ordering what you need to get through the first couple weeks of the new year before it's too late.
Make a list of everything you'll need for each event and document it using your resource management software. If possible, place one large order everything you need, plus a little extra in case of emergencies. It'll be easier to track and organize what you've purchased with one large order, rather than ordering your supplies in multiple small shipments.
Your current staff is likely more than capable of managing the holiday rush at your facility, especially if they've been part of your team for multiple seasons.
The real question is, however, do you have enough staff?
Consider hosting a job fair at your facility to hire extra short-term staff. You'll be well-equipped to provide your guests—especially those paying a premium for private events—with enjoyable and memorable experiences for years to come. Plus, the new employees you hire will be glad to have some extra money in their pockets during the season of giving.
Since you'll have new employees on board, it's a great time to host a training course for operations and best practices at your FEC. Not only will you be able to effectively train the new people you have on board, it's a perfect time to give your veteran staff a refresher course, especially since the summer has likely been slower, and they've been out of practice managing large crowds for a few months.
You'll be able to address any current issues and set expectations with everyone present, as well as motivate them to work hard and enjoy the exiting time ahead.
The holiday season will no doubt bring more customers and increased revenue to your family entertainment center. Wouldn't you like to continue that momentum into the year ahead?
As mentioned before, try to book next year's holiday entertainment as soon as possible, even if it's right after they've fulfilled their commitment to you this year.
That's why it's not only important to provide a great guest experience at your facility, but the people you hire as well! If those you employ feel respected and valued (and have a great time), they're more likely to sign on the dotted line again.
Additionally, if you've heeded our advice in regards to inventory, you're already on track to being well-prepared for your New Year's events around the corner.
While you may not have as many events at your facility throughout the rest of the year as you will during the holidays, it's important to keep a log of all important information.
Keeping a history of how many supply items you needed, the number of staff you employed, as well as the increased revenue you received, are all important things to note. This way, preparing for future events will take less time and thought operationally, so you can focus on what's most important: your guests.
Planning for events can be difficult enough. To help you take the guesswork out of what kind of events you can host at your facility throughout the year, we've released a new guide: Monthly Events Calendar: A Year-Round, Fun-At-A-Glance Resource for Event Opportunities at Your Facility.
It includes event ideas for every single month of the year, as well as promotional ideas to help you market your events to the public!
Click here or on the image below to download your copy.