The never-ending Covid-19 pandemic presents what is undoubtedly the greatest challenges centers have ever faced. Mandatory closures, new cleaning protocols, staffing issues, supply shortages and other challenges have resulted in many sleepless nights and a new normal that seems to be here to stay. However, with this new normal, comes new opportunities to bring in new business and additional revenue.
Embrace the new normal and identify ways in which the center can become a part of the customer’s new way of life. The new normal includes things like transformed workplaces, changed social behavior and modified travel habits. Let’s take a look at a few things that the center can do to tap into this new normal.
Remote work, is here to stay, accelerating the need for companies to provide activities that reinforce cohesion and teamwork. Plan to market the center to companies, most of which have designated funds available to build strong teams. Put together attractive programs designed to deliver a memorable experience, utilizing games such as Rocky Road Race or HyperSquad, great food, and exceptional service. For these customers it is less about the money and more about the experience delivered so do not be afraid to charge for it!
Continued workforce shortages are resulting in current staff being overworked and struggling with motivation. Without a dedicated plan to overcome this, additional staff wind up quitting or the level of service they provide diminishes. There is no better way to motivate and show appreciation than to give employees something that allows them to have fun. This holds true for the center staff, but also other businesses in the area. Promoting center gift cards as appreciation gifts should be on the 2022 marketing plan several times. Remember, gift card promotions can include bonus cash added to the card or earning promotional gift cards based on the amount of purchase. Another option for gift cards is to barter a portion in return for gift cards for the center staff. A win for both parties!
Changed social behavior
Social isolation, remote work and economic insecurities have taken a toll on individual’s mental well-being. Now, more than ever, society is ready to live for the moment. The value of spending time with family and friends has never been greater. Provide an alternative to the mundane. Analyze the packages the center offers and make sure there are packages that tap into this need to share quality time with loved ones and friends. The new norm has sparked an increased need in convenience and automation. Keep it simple!
People are relying on social media more. Utilize social media platforms to stay connected with customers. Posting on social media is inexpensive, efficient and a great way to keep customers engaged and wanting to patronize the center. Bottom line…social media is a part of most everyone’s life these days so leverage it to your advantage.
Modified travel habits
While travel restrictions are more stringent than in the past, many are resorting to shorter trips that do not include air travel or hotel stays. Many families are purchasing or renting recreational vehicles and striking out on family vacations that are more within their comfort zones.
Transform your center into a Staycation destination and put it on the map! Staycation 2022 can be fun for staff and lead to more revenue for the center. Create a selection of fun branded souvenirs for purchase or for use as prizes. Consider Staycation 2022 staff uniforms. How about a punch card or Bingo Card that customers strive to complete by enjoying the various amusements and bowling games offered?
What about a “tour guide” that offers center tours sharing interesting facts about the center and the amusements? Leverage vendors for support. Invite liquor and beer brokers and distributors to contribute content and prizes or invite them to participate in the actual tour or class. Gather the information necessary to deliver fun and educational tours. These tours and classes can be simple but something that the customer finds unique and interesting. Think outside the box. Try something new and different! Today’s customers are more forgiving and understanding than they have been in the past, so do not be afraid to be creative. Don’t forget the swag! Everybody loves walking away with something!
Gather input from the bar staff
- Wine 101 – can be a partnership with wine vendor and food service provider. How to choose, cheese pairing, the process of production, etc. Price can include tasting or other offer of choice.
- Tequila 101 – The many choices of tequila, the history, etc. Offer an exclusive drink and get with food service provider for food options.
- Vodka 101 – Flavored vodka’s are the rage. Choose a brand or ask the distributor to talk about the differences and provide swag for participants.
- Beer 101 – Invite local Craft Brewers to conduct seminars or contact brand managers at local distributors.
Collaborate with the mechanic
- How a pin is made – price includes a customized keepsake pin.
- What makes a “bowling shot”? – Most customers do not have any idea what goes into preparing a lane for the best scores.
- The journey of a ball – what happens after the ball leaves the hand.
Create unique food and beverage options with a clever twist. Get the staff involved and ask for their input.
Non-peak travel days often result in slighter lower fares. Consider having modified pricing on slower business days. Blend in a cause and show your support while driving traffic to the center. Transform slow days into appreciation days for first responders or service industry workers while showing the community you care and increasing revenue all at the same time.
Create themed photo ops to spark the perfect Instagram post. Be sure to brand each op to share in the social media traffic and earn free advertising for the center. Promote a hashtag campaign, #centernameStaycation22 and include on all promotional material, staff uniforms, souvenirs and advertising.
Since customers can star in the show with Youtoons, have a selfie booth with wardrobe additions and let them have a ball dressing up and posing. We’ve even provided a YouToons frame that can be customized and added to the props. Click here for a YouToons Photo Frame and other photo props that can be customized and used to spark a little user generated content. Other props are readily available on the internet at places like Oriental Trading, Big Dot, Rebecca’s and Amazon.
Do not let the new normal weigh you down. Embrace the change and continue to be willing to pivot and think outside the box. Prepare to take the center well beyond your wildest expectations.