Your birthday party experience can be a guest's first exposure to your business, so it's essential that you deliver on your promises.
Birthday parties are great offerings for your business and can bring in an entirely new audience. But those brand new guests (and their parents) are making decisions about not just parties at your facility, but also your entire experience, from the moment they first engage with you.
That's why it's essential that you develop a party experience that you can deliver again and again at the right level. Here are a few steps to help you do just that.
No. 1: Start delivering a great experience before the party.
When you book a party, whether online or on the phone, you are setting the stage with the party parent. Start to build confidence by offering popular upsells, reviewing the party flow and other important details, and giving the party parent everything they need to plan the event.
Electronic invitations with links to necessary online liability waivers can be a great asset to party parents, their guests, and your staff. By allowing parents to send invitations and links to party attendees, you're helping them collect RSVPs so you can streamline check-in and manage the guest count on the day of the party. They're also a win for guests who don't have to take time away from the fun to complete a waiver onsite.
No. 2: Reduce check-in pain points.
In addition to helping guests prepare for their visit in advance, make sure that onsite check-in is seamless. A greeter or line buster can be a great addition to your admissions staff at busy times. They can help manage first-time visits, direct traffic, and help tardy guests check in and connect to the right party.
Your birthday child (and, by extension, their parents) should be the center of your party host’s attention – ensuring they receive the star treatment and that you’re managing the right flow of the party. Greeters, party hosts for the next wave of parties, or runners can manage latecomers and help them know where to join their party. This can easily be managed away from Admissions using mobile POS stations. Team members can quickly check in party guests and validate liability waivers, ensuring accurate headcounts and necessary add-on invoicing.
No. 3: Ensure that everyone knows their role.
Like it or not, today's consumers have high expectations. And that goes double for what they expect for their children's birthdays. Every staff member working with parties should be crystal clear on their contribution to each party. Managing every detail isn't just about party hosts' roles. Attraction attendants, runners, game room and redemption staff - and everyone else must understand how to recognize a birthday child and interact with them throughout the event.
Birthday parties can be a very lucrative part of your business, but parents expect you to manage every detail. Staff who don’t take charge of the stages of the birthday party put your business at risk. Parents may take control of the party, feeling like they must do everything themselves, and complain and/or ask for discounts afterward. Not to mention that a party without a flow is destined to finish late, which could have a domino effect on the rest of your schedule for the day.
No. 4: Remember that it’s supposed to be fun.
It can be easy to get bogged down in the stress of facilitating a stress-free party but remind staff to have fun on what's potentially the biggest day of a child's year. Helping families have fun is one of the most meaningful parts of working in our industry, and every team member should take fun seriously every day.
One area I've often seen the fun failing is during the safety briefing. While it's a serious component of any attraction experience, it shouldn't be where guest service suffers. When transitioning to a safety briefing, for example, take the time to gain everyone’s attention, center it back on the birthday child and how exciting it is to be celebrating with them. Be sure to use positive language wherever possible to explain the right way to play games or participate in attractions. Check for understanding by asking attendees what they will do when it's their turn, such as:
- Will we run during laser tag? (No)
- What does it mean to jump safely on the trampolines? (no double bouncing, no bouncing in someone else’s square, etc.)
- Who can help you clip your harness on? (hosts or parents, etc.)
No: 5: Keep fine-tuning your experience.
There will probably be times when staff hit it out of the park – and times when they don’t. Use regular party host meetings to share best practices and feedback from guests and the staff. Celebrate strengths and discuss learning opportunities as a group so that everyone can learn and grow. The first step to delivering a better birthday is knowing that you can.
Have tips for a terrific birthday party experience? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter.