Blog/ Family Entertainment Centers

10 Ways to Run a More Profitable FEC

Family entertainment centers are not the easiest business to be in.  High costs related to equipment, maintenance, staffing, and utilities, and fluctuating revenue amounts depending on your ticket structure.  Therefore, FEC operators should always be on the lookout for ways that continually drive additional revenue while simultaneously reducing costs.

With greater profitability comes greater opportunity to serve your audience, with new and innovative attractions, facility enhancements to stay relevant with current trends, and allow you to do what you set out to do - serve the families of your community with world-class entertainment.

Here are ten ways that you can increase your FEC’s profit margins.


  1. Sell tickets online

Many family entertainment centers still do not sell tickets online.  By committing guests in advance, you secure their revenue, improve your cash flow, and ultimately increase your overall attendance.  You also have the opportunity to present add-ons for guests to buy in advance of their visit, which increases per capita spending.


  1. Optimize sales for mobile

Allowing guests to buy in advance is one thing, but allowing guests to book easily on their phones takes your digital presence to a new level.  Optimizing your e-commerce for mobile removes a considerable amount of friction generally associated with buying online - like getting off the couch, sitting down at their computer, and pulling out their credit card.  Buying online takes away all those steps.


  1. Create arrival timeslots or reservations

When capacity restrictions were put in place throughout the pandemic, many venues switched to timed ticketing or blocks of time during their standard operation.  Allowing guests to arrive at their leisure can make it difficult to project staffing needs and inventory, but when guests reserve a specific time or even a broad timeframe, you can plan that much better.  It also gives you the opportunity to theoretically have multiple days within the same calendar period.


  1. Sell gift cards

If you are requiring reservations or timed ticketing, but your guests aren’t sure when they’d like to show up yet, selling them a gift card can be the next best thing.  The guest can still make the purchase, and then apply the gift card toward a reservation when they’re ready.  And of course, gift cards make great gifts for fans of your center, whether for birthdays, holidays, or any special occasion.


  1. Sell birthday parties online

Just like selling tickets, allowing guests to book birthday parties online - and yes, on their phone as well - can amplify the number of parties that are booked.  By reducing the need for sales agents who are taking inbound calls, you can focus your labor allocation more strategically.


  1. Offer annual passes or memberships

Annual passes aren’t just for theme parks, and memberships aren’t just for zoos and museums.  Offering your guests a program that keeps them coming back for more ultimately increases their lifetime value.  While they may spend less on each visit, don’t confuse their lower per caps for lower profitability.  As they return more, even if they spend little or nothing on their visit, their long-term value to your brand (and your P&L) is much higher than your transient visitors.


  1. Implement self-service kiosks

Selling online does not need to replace selling onsite fully.  With staffing being one of the biggest challenges facing our industry today, implementing self-service kiosks can reduce your labor spending and therefore boost your profit margins.  While you don’t need to leave them fully unattended, staffing one staff member to four kiosks is still much more optimal than one staff member to one register and assisting guests one at a time.


  1. Collect guest feedback

How can guest feedback impact profitability?  I’m glad you asked.  When guests are prompted for their perceptions related to their visits, you can gain the necessary intelligence needed to continue improving the experience in the long run, which of course, will lead to higher satisfaction and attendance down the road.  In the short term, you now have the chance to resolve a service failure that may have otherwise been a negative online review - deterring others from visiting.


  1. Digitize waivers (where applicable)

For the more extreme attractions, such as high-speed go-karts, ropes courses, and trampoline parks, waivers are sometimes a necessary friction point that slows down the operation.  However, suppose you digitize your waiver process, meaning your guests sign them in advance. In that case, it will create a smoother arrival experience that allows your guests to move guests into the facility more quickly, getting them to start having fun and spending more money.


  1. Continue the relationship beyond the visit

Use your guests’ data to your benefit.  With the guest’s contact information, such as their name and email address, you can keep the conversation going after their visit by prompting them for feedback and creating targeted marketing to them.  New specials, new attractions, and more reasons to visit can now be sent directly to your guests who have been already and are more likely to return.


Of course, the list can go on in terms of the best ways to generate more revenue and reduce your costs; however, in the meantime, these are all quick items that you can get started with right away and see immediate results.  To learn more about how ROLLER can help you run a more profitable business, reach out to us today.

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