Don’t fall victim to “if I knew then what I know now” syndrome by carefully considering this advice from some of our operators.
With every decision you make when trying to start or grow your business, you’re faced with the chance that it could be the wrong one. This includes what attractions you add, people you hire, and vendors you partner with. Don't wait to research facility management software until late in the process or you'll fail to have enough time for proper due diligence. Remember, your facility management software touches every part of your facility, from the guests to the accountant, so you need a solution that can meet the most needs of the people using it.
But with so many systems out there that manage different things, how do you know what’s right for you? Consider the advice we’ve heard and make your game plan so you can have confidence that you’ve selected the right solution now, and for years to come.
Here are four mistakes to avoid when selecting a point of sale solution.
No. 1: I wish I had known I would be adding attractions so soon.
Many operators dream big and plan a park or FEC with the latest attractions in mind but neglect to think about what their business might look like in two or five years’ time. Will you want to start with smaller concessions but potentially offer a full-service menu at some point in the future? Will you want to add a virtual reality arena or a larger game room with redemption?
It’s a great idea to review facility management solutions with both the present and the future in mind. While a smaller solution might meet your current needs, be sure that it has the power or the potential to grow along with your business.
No. 2: I wish I hadn't underestimated how much of a hassle reporting would be with multiple solutions.
Imagine you have one system for food and beverage, a different one for online bookings, another to run your game room, and the list goes on. Have you considered how much time you’ll spend each day, week or month trying to get a picture of what’s going on inside your park?
Pulling a report seems like it should be quick but when working with multiple solutions that are not integrated, you’ll need to be trained on the unique reporting functionality of each. Then you'll need to access them individually, enter your report parameters, generate, and export each one into a program before you even get to the point where you can compare it with data compiled from a different system. All this before you'll be able to review your operation and make critical, timely business decisions.
Additionally, if your facility requires the use of safety waivers, a third-party solution prevents you from connecting guest profiles to sales data to understand guest buying behavior or perform targeted smart marketing based on spending habits and other unique data.
In contrast, a streamlined solution that includes a membership and recurring billing component, for example, helps you create a seamless buying experience for guests purchasing various offerings, such as automatically renewing monthly membership programs.
Or with a solution that includes employee staffing and labor along with a point of sale, you’re able to have one place to view and make schedules, give team members one place to clock in and one system to interact with, as well as understand in-the-moment labor vs. sales and other important metrics.
No. 3: I wish I had known my other key systems were not as integrated as I thought.
In this industry, you need software that communicates to uniquely developed offerings such as specifically timed attractions, admissions and event booking systems. Many off-the-shelf solutions that appear compelling for one area of the business don’t have the strength to work with your facility’s attractions or admissions systems.
When starting an amusement or adventure attraction from the ground up, you need architects, insurance agents and financial advisors who are experts in the amusement industry and understand how all the pieces of your facility will need to work seamlessly together. Selecting a food and beverage solution, for example, that doesn’t regularly integrate inside this industry might lead to stability issues, leave you vulnerable to errors when deposits and payments are input manually, and just add more headaches to your life.
If a single solution isn’t an option, be clear about what integrations between systems look like, how they work in real life, and check with current users to understand how often (and severely) system interruptions and outages occur.
No. 4: I wish I understood how much (or how little) customer service I was going to get.
From time to time you’ll need help, training and troubleshooting with every system or attraction that you purchase. Be sure to consider service level agreements, what constitutes a high priority ticket item, response times, office hours as well as long-term relationship offerings when choosing your solution. This is one big reason you should always get client referrals of the solution you’re considering.
You don’t want to second-guess your decision, or worse, find out later that you’ve made the wrong one. Opening a new facility or expanding your current offering should be an exciting time, and it can be if you take the time to find the right partners.
Interested in learning how CenterEdge can help you avoid those common mistakes? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.