Hosting parties at your facility is an excellent way to bring in additional revenue with very little extra expense. Developing a party program specific to your customers’ needs and the amenities of your facility is easier than you think.
Evaluate Your Amenities and Options
The type of facility you operate has an impact on the type of party options you can offer. For example, if you operate a community pool, offering an hourly rate based upon the number of guests is both easy for staff and acceptable to the guest. The rate can be increased if the facility is being used solely by the party or reduced if the party is during public swim hours or shared with another party. If you operate a waterpark, a more complex party offering is appropriate. Facilities with amenities such as concessions, shade rentals, locker rentals, and tube rentals have unlimited possibilities for developing party packages.
There are also opportunities to increase in-park spending during parties. Offering an upgrade from cupcakes to ice cream or larger shade rentals give some flexibility to the customer. Offering creative “party only” options such as an appetizer basket, front-of-the-line passes, designated party game host, or cabana server also enhances the party experience. Offering a few add-on options for your party guests can easily increase the amount of revenue generated per party.
Determine How to Structure Your Packages
For facilities with more complex party package offerings, there are a few different schools of thought for execution and marketing.
Total Package Included- For this option, the marketing approach is to “make it easy” on the guest by offering all-inclusive packages based on the number of guests. For example, there may be a 15 guest package for $300 that includes a large cabana rental for the day, 15 guest admissions, tube rentals, locker rentals, pizza and soda, and cupcakes. While this may initially seem like the easier option for the guest, how often do party guests forget to RSVP or decide not to attend at the last minute? If your facility chooses to offer the packages this way, it is important to discuss how those types of situations will be handled. Is there an additional per person rate or do they automatically move up to the next package level? If not as many guests show up as expected, are they permitted to move down a package level? This can create additional stress for the guest on the day of the event, which is what they were trying to avoid in the first place.
Build-it-Yourself- The Build-it-Yourself option places a majority of the planning on the guest organizing the party. In this option, the guest is asked a series of questions such as:
The question list can continue on to allow the guest to completely customize their experience. This marketing approach allows the guest to completely control every detail of their event and have it their way. While some guests may find this level of customization exciting, many will find it unnecessary. Coordinating all the details regarding food can be problematic for staff when there are multiple parties happening concurrently.
Per Person Package- This option is a blend between the Total Package Included option and the Build-it-Yourself option. You can offer different levels of party packages with a per person price for each level. For example:
Because shade rental size is determined by the number of guests, it is recommended that space rental is an add-on fee. The marketing approach for this type of package is that it does not matter how many people arrive (though it is easiest when you obtain somewhat of a headcount beforehand to ensure food availability and shade rental), because the price is based on a per person rate. This is also easier on the staff since everyone is eating the same type of food.
While you may find that one particular option works better for your guests or type of facility, the Per Person Package option seems to be the most popular since it provides flexibility for pricing for the guest, but ease of execution for the staff.
Set Yourself Apart
Pool parties are commonplace during the summer season. Research the offerings in your area and find ways to set yourself apart from the competition. Offering a complimentary party host to assist with fun games is memorable for the guests and not too hard on the budget as long as you schedule one party host to rotate between several parties. Providing a cabana server allows you to keep an eye on the party and ensure it is going smoothly as well as increase in-park spending by recommending an additional pizza or drink refills. While celebrating your special occasion is fun at a pool or waterpark, making the experience memorable and unique to your facility will encourage them to tell others about their experience and return each year for their end of the season team party or birthday extravaganza!