The holiday season is here! Use these three tips to stay sales-ready in the busiest of times!
With the end of IAAPA week upon us, it's the unofficial start to the holiday season! Things will certainly get busier in the coming weeks, and it can get overwhelming if you're not careful. Make sure your facility is equipped to take advantage of all the sales opportunities this celebratory time of year has to offer.
Read on for three tips to help you maximize every moment of the holiday season.
No. 1: Project an attitude of gratitude.
Whether you’re in sales or on the front line, the winter holiday season can be a little overwhelming, so take time each day to be thankful for your venue’s opportunities. While a phone ringing non-stop can feel like a constant interruption, remember that every time it does, you have an opportunity to make a difference in your community, introduce new people to your park or FEC, and grow your revenue. And, with all that's happened in the last couple of years, people need you now more than ever!
That overwhelming feeling doesn’t just affect our team members. A little empathy for guests can go a long way in making your season more enjoyable for everyone. This can be an emotional and stressful time of year for many people, which may not lead to their best behavior. Practice a little (or a lot) of patience to keep yourself in the right frame of mind. A guest who loses patience while trying to buy gift card stocking stuffers isn’t angry with you (most likely), so try not to take things personally.
No. 2: Position your facility to win—every time.
I have said this before and I’ll say it again: if someone tries to give you money, make it easy for them to do so. Potential guests will call your facility at times when it’s inconvenient for you, so have an online process that will help them easily get information, inquire about a party, or book an off-the-shelf group event package. But understand that someone in your facility must also be able to book a group event should a potential guest call in. Whether it’s a seasoned sales pro or an operations manager, make sure you have an event-savvy team member on whenever your facility is open.
One holiday season, I had approximately six minutes last Saturday to book a friend’s 50-guest graduation party in early December, with food, fun, and a drinks package. I called a trendy bowling-based FEC in Nashville with my credit card sitting beside me. I was behind on planning, and knowing how busy the season is, I was prepared to take any space they had available at just about any price.
My call went to a salesperson’s voicemail so I hung up and called the hostess stand. I explained that I was very short on time, but was trying to see if they had availability on December 9th for an adult party for 50 guests. The hostess was lovely, but she explained that I should email the salesperson because she didn’t have access to the events calendar.
I understand, of course, that sometimes a facility needs to control access to schedules, so I replied, “Would there be a manager who could look at the schedule to tell me if you have the date open for me? I’ll give you my credit card and then work out the particulars with your salesperson when she’s in the office on Monday. I just have to get this booked today because I’m leaving town tomorrow.” She politely explained that there wasn’t even a manager with access to the calendar in the facility, and my best bet was emailing.
There wasn’t anyone in the building who could even see the events schedule, much less book a new event. Please tell me you’re cringing right now.
What do you think happened next? If you’re thinking, “you went on to call the next venue,” you’d be right. I did email the salesperson to see if I got a quick reply. I didn’t. And within 20 more minutes, I had found another venue and placed the deposit.
It's easy to fall into the habit of building systems and processes thinking of what’s in our best interest rather than what’s best for our guests. During this busy time of year, it’s essential to staff the inbound sales office to take those late and last-minute bookings that can make the difference between an average sales season and a stellar one. Enlist operations managers and seasoned team members to fill in where necessary so that your facility is set up to win.
No. 3: Make a terrific first impression.
You’re going to have a lot of people entering your facility for the first time, so do your best to wow them. Help staff keep an attitude of gratitude, as well, and see the difference their roles are making every day.
Set up a table near the front of the facility during your busiest times with information about the different group events and birthday parties you offer. Perhaps use the prize wheel that you take to community events and do giveaways when people sign up for your newsletter or ask guests to enter a drawing to win an event, birthday party, or another exciting item. You’ll get a whole new list of leads to begin prospecting when the dust settles.
It’s also a great idea to check those line management and front desk processes again. Do you need a separate area where guests can buy stocking stuffer gift cards or season passes? Is it clear in your signage at admissions and throughout your park that you offer them? Make sure guests see the right message when they enter your facility, so once you get them in the door, you can continue to wow them with amazing service.
While the season can be stressful, it’s also a festive, fun time of year that can turn guests into life-long fans. But only if you’re ready.
Are you season savvy? Share what you’re doing to be ready for the holiday season in the comments or on Twitter!