Consider these tips when growing your business’ footprint.
Trends change and public interests come and go and both are an endless source of opportunity for any business owner. In the trampoline park industry, diversification is often a top-of-mind consideration with operators pondering questions like: “How can we get more market share?” "How can we continue to thrill our guests and attract new ones?” And of course, “How do we deliver a different experience than our competition?”
Diversification can mean different things to different businesses. Will you diversify your attractions and renovate or remodel? Will you diversify with your branding? Your offerings? Your guest engagement efforts? Or some combination thereof? To determine which direction your business should take, consider these five steps.
No. 1: Know your market.
Conducting a market study ever so often is a good idea—and not just when entering a community for the first time. It’s important to know who your business is up against, but keep it in perspective. Your business is based on people, not (just) prices, so don’t obsess about what local competitors are doing. Instead take a ‘people-based’ approach. Consider the people that you want to attract. What are they interested in? Who are you competing against for their walk-in business? Birthday parties? Corporate events? Many FECs look at competition too narrowly and think their only competition is another FEC or trampoline park. But the fact is variety is the name of the game, and you’re competing against every other type of entertainment, including home entertainment.
No. 2: Tune in to your community.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Amanda Perry, Project Manager for Launch Trampoline Park, about how they build unique parks in their community. When Launch Trampoline Park is considering a new or renovating a park, they invest time and energy in assessing where there is a gap in existing entertainment that their franchise can fill to better serve their community something different. This might mean adding laser tag, game rooms, ninja courses, electronic rock walls or even the franchise’s latest addition at their new park in Prattville, Alabama, the Warped Wall.
But further than that, they endeavor to become a cornerstone of the community by getting tuned in to the causes that are important to their community. For example, in Delaware, there is a lot of community awareness around autism, and Launch Delaware leaders wanted to become part of this important cause. Today they, and now other parks, offer trampoline therapy classes for guests with autism, and participate and host events throughout the year to continue to build awareness.
About supporting causes, Amanda says, “with franchisees and managers having such diverse backgrounds and coming from all over, they are always going to have different connections and program ideas that give back to their communities. It’s great to see what they come up with and how they really become part of their markets.”
No. 3: Become part of something bigger.
On a much larger scale, this kind of community is also achieved when multiple parks band together to participate in causes on a regional or national scale, such as in support of breast cancer awareness or the American Heart Association. Causes like that not only help the programs themselves and tie your business to your community, but also encourage staff to come together for a common goal. When it comes to forming unity and breaking down barriers, common causes can do wonders for teaching empathy, how to work together and can boost team morale.
No. 4: Stay connected to what’s changing.
The balance between knowing whether something is a trend you need to jump on or a fad you need to leave alone is delicate. But it is critical that you stay in-the-know when it comes to industry and consumer trends. It’s no secret that the tide has been shifting for some time and more consumers are expecting more sophisticated dining experiences, including those offered by an entertainment venue. When considering your business’ potential, does it make sense for your business to offer the same things you did when you opened? If you’re just starting out, is your dining experience one that will make your business stand out in the crowd or get lost in it?
Another way that Launch diversified its offerings was in the planning of their food and beverage operations. They knew they wanted to begin with a café experience that went beyond typical concessions. They made the decision to build a café into every park so they would have the opportunity to offer more variety now, and in the future. “We just wanted to do it better, so we offered typical café fare but provided a sit-down space for families to come together, spend more time in the park enjoying and watching, but more importantly conversing while they’re out. It’s great to see the kids engaged not just with our trampoline attractions, but with their families, too.”
No. 5: Always keep your mission in mind.
While it can be tempting to jump on the next fad or trend, remember that not every trend supports your park’s mission and identity. Take care to ensure that whatever attraction, program or offering supports your facility’s mission or whether it would dilute your message in your market. If your mission is to provide extreme fitness for kids and adults, for example, everything you offer, even the way you engage with your guests on social media should support that messaging.
Trying to be all things to all people puts your business at risk for confusing the very people you’re trying to reach. It’s best to have a clear focus of who your park wants to serve, what’s already available to them, and delivering a unique, memorable experience that links your facility’s heart with the people around you.
How does your facility stand apart from the crowd? Share your ideas with us in the comments or on Twitter!