“I want to book more birthday parties at my family entertainment center.”
Does that sound familiar? It does to me. When I talk to new clients, party booking is every FEC owner’s #1 priority.
Birthday parties are the bread and butter of skating, bowling, and family entertainment centers across the country. Cheap date nights, concession sales, and special events boost sales and build community, but nothing has a higher profit margin (and potential for 5-star reviews) than booking parties. But in the nebulous world of digital marketing, are there practical, measurable steps businesses can take to go from “show me the parties” to “sorry, we’re booked”?
7 Tips for Booking More Birthday Parties at Your Family Entertainment Center
Do the research.
How can you book more parties? Throw great parties! It may seem like a no-brainer, but the best way to earn a reputation for excellence is to exceed expectations. That means researching what parents want, purchasing the latest novelties for kids to show off to their friends, and upping your party game based on feedback from customers who have been there, celebrated that.
Lay the groundwork.
You never know where customers will find you online. Keep your bases covered! Listing services help businesses streamline the process of updating hours, addresses, and contact info online. That means you can stop worrying about customers calling an old number or showing up at the wrong address. Don’t have time to keep up with the madness of social media? At a minimum, your business pages should have a cover photo, basic business info, and a link to your website so the customer journey doesn’t stall out on an empty newsfeed.
Build an easy path.
An easy path for customers = an easy climb into the green. The first order of business is to create a user-friendly (and mobile-friendly) website. Flashy web designs may be fun, but the most important thing is to make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for and take action. Want to capture customers while intent-to-book is high? Integrate party booking software into your website. You’ll get the two-for-one benefit of booking parties immediately and capturing customer data (put a pin in that; we’ll dive deeper into data in step #7). By having an online booking platform, you’ll virtually extend your business hours to accommodate those moms and dads scrolling on their phones before bed.
Pay your dues.
We all have to answer to someone. When it comes to digital marketing, Google is the boss. Luckily, this bigwig search engine regularly hands out hints on how to succeed in business (without looking like you’re trying). It’s all about SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the checklist Google uses in your website’s day-to-day performance review. If you satisfy their requirements, they’ll rank your Birthday Parties page front and center on search results pages. Slack off or try to game the system, and you’ll find your website buried on page 5 when parents Google “best kids’ birthday parties near me.”
Spread the word.
You have a wealth of knowledge. Share it! From publishing blogs with your best party tips to sharing birthday pics taken at your bowling center or skating rink, the best way to attract new customers is to show them the fun they’re missing. Engaging with your community on social media is a great way to build relationships and develop customer loyalty. Posting helpful blogs, high-quality website content, and thoughtfully-answered FAQs will prove your authority to both your community and Google as the party planning pros of your area.
Deliver what you promised.
Okay, this is the big one. You did the work, found the customers, booked the party. Now it’s time to show up! Deliver unbeatable service, make sure the food is fresh, and train your staff to go above and beyond. When customers are satisfied with their celebration, they’ll tell their friends both online and IRL (that’s “in real life” for you non-Millennials/Gen Zers). That means your virtual reputation (basically, step #5) gets a boost without you lifting a finger.
Draw customers back in.
You engaged customers, scored the party booking, and wowed guests into leaving a stellar review. Your work here is done . . . right? Not so fast! Remarketing is my favorite part of digital marketing. Why? You’re working with customers who already love your business. That means they’re more likely to interact with your brand online, visit your facility for an after-school playdate, and book future birthday parties at your skating or bowling center. Ready for that deep dive on customer data? Creating segmented email lists gives you the ability to turn one-time customers into repeat customers by sending them just the right message at just the right time. Send repeat customers a special email offer or serve them a specific Facebook Ad when their next child’s birthday rolls around. After all, it’s much more profitable to keep customers than to convert new ones.
Are you ready to start booking more birthday parties? Give us a call or fill out our contact form today!
This post was originally written by Taylor Brantner and recently edited by Taylor McGlamery.