It might be the ideal time for roller skating venues. The hobby is making a comeback as a popular entertainment choice, with the industry projected to increase to a market size of $604.18 million by 2029. Videos of tricks on TikTok and Instagram have contributed to this renewed interest, and, of course, you can’t factor out the sheer appeal of roller skating due to the retro aesthetics, full-body workout, and low cost of entry.
While the broader industry news is excellent, this article will help you get things on a roll with a collection of winning strategy ideas.
Know your audience
One of the best aspects of operating a roller skating rink is the broad appeal the activity has – from young kids experiencing skating for the first time to adults chasing nostalgia, there’s plenty of fun for all ages.
You’ll probably understand your current audience, but you can take that to the next level by analyzing your venue’s data. The best software for evaluating your guest data is a CRM. CRMs, like our own, will provide snapshots of the people visiting your venue - including their average spend, visit frequency, purchase history, and more.
This data then helps you identify strengths and opportunities. Do you do well with the 20-30s market and want to keep them returning? Have you got an untapped list of parents who booked children’s parties? How about adding an over-50s roller disco night into the mix?
Your customer data will help you capitalize on these ideas and create a broad and diverse customer base.
Understanding our customers better and leveraging data has enabled us to confidently implement price increases and increase spend per customer.
Once you’ve decided on your market or markets, it’s time to devise a strategy for reaching them. When building a marketing strategy, think about your intent and the behavior of your recipients. Here are some tips to help:
- Conduct platform research: It’s a good idea to reach your audience on the platforms where they spend their time. Look into the demographics you want to reach and which platforms they are likely to use. You’ll then want to look at the types of content that perform well on these platforms and see how you can tap into them.
- Consider an omnichannel approach: Offering your audience multiple touchpoints across digital and traditional advertising spaces can help with brand awareness and cut-through – which is vital in an age where we’re continuously exposed to advertising.
- Have a hook ready: Think about what motivates the audience segment you’re targeting. Will you be throwing an unmissable event, offering complimentary refreshments, or running a special offer? Having incentives attached to your marketing can help with ROI.
Once you’ve considered these points, a strategy should start taking shape, and you can begin to think about marketing tactics that will fuel your roller skating rink business growth. Here are some thought starters for making the most out of your marketing:
- Social media challenges: Standing out on social media can be tricky. Creating challenges and contests is an effective way to cut through the noise and engage your audience. For example, you could encourage customers to share their best tricks, tag your rink, and use a specific hashtag. You could even use influencers to instigate the challenge and offer prizes or discounts for the most creative or popular entries to boost engagement.
- Intuitive processes: Implement an online ticketing system for convenience and make bookings part of your marketing’s call to action. With an easy-to-navigate online presence and a website optimized for ticket purchases, your marketing efforts will be more likely to convert.
- Incentivize loyalty: Turn repeat business into your specialty by offering loyalty and membership programs incentivizing guests to return. You can make member benefits such as discounts, free sessions, and access to VIP events a cornerstone of your marketing messaging. This approach will also help you build a loyal online community.
- Promote parties: Group bookings can be lucrative for your business, and appealing to parents, teens, and thrill-hunters looking to organize a party can be beneficial. Market your party packages on your channels with pictures, videos, and testimonials to show how fun they are. You should also make large bookings easy for guests by optimizing your checkout experience with the right software.
When you’re running a huge business, you want something that is automated so you don’t have to worry about the small details. ROLLER reduces around 40% of the burden of managing party bookings.
Themed nights and special events
Hosting themed nights is one way to stand out in the competitive entertainment industry and grow your roller skating rink business. You can appeal to different audiences throughout the year by filling your calendar with events, such as:
- Roller disco nights: Dust off the disco ball and blast some Boney M. with an adults-only night of rollerskating and dancing. Discos are a great chance to increase food and beverage sales and make extra revenue outside your usual opening hours.
- Speed skating: In-line skating appeals to fitness and athletic-oriented audiences. Throw competitions and tournaments at your rink in a one-off event or over a season. You can even increase cross-sells by requiring participants to have a membership.
- Community events: Establish partnerships with local schools, youth organizations, and businesses. Offer special discounts for group bookings or organize school outings. Events can bring in larger crowds and build positive relationships within the community.
- VIP nights: Roll out the red carpet for your members by throwing exclusive events and promotions. Member perks are an excellent strategy for growing repeat business and recurring revenue, which can have an incredible impact on your bottom line.
Ensuring a safe environment for roller skaters is paramount. By showing that your venue takes safety seriously, you can instill trust in your guests while protecting your business from liability.
An excellent way to show your commitment to safety is to ensure your staff are well versed in communicating your safety protocols and are equipped to handle any questions.
It’s also best practice to have your guests sign waivers, which can be done digitally alongside your online ticket sales. Digital waivers help improve guest experience by reducing in-person paperwork and speeding up entry times – so your guests spend more time skating and less time waiting.
Waivers are streamlined as part of the checkout process, so the check-in process is a lot simpler and faster with ROLLER. It’s a beautiful integrated platform.
Your staff members are the face of your roller skating rink, so their interactions with guests will influence your business's growth and success. To ensure visitors have an awesome experience when skating at your venue, try to implement the following:
- Comprehensive training: When welcoming new staff, give them the keys to your kingdom (literally, if they need a set of keys). Ensure they know the ins and outs of your operations, safety procedures, roller skating advice, and how to make upsells and cross-sells.
- Keep systems simple: Staff can change over frequently in the entertainment venue industry. So, by keeping your systems simple and easy to learn, you can reduce the time it takes to train new staff – which will be a boon to your profits. Industry-specific POS systems, like ROLLER’s own, can help you streamline operations and save you and your staff precious time.
- Provide incentives: By providing your staff discounts, perks, and rewards, you can turn them into your roller skating rink’s evangelists. Consider giving them regular gift cards, free items when they visit, and complimentary passes.
In five minutes, I can have staff checking people in because ROLLER is intuitive enough to do that.
Here are some real-world examples of roller skating rinks that have successfully grown their businesses.
Pigeon’s is a roller skating rink and shop in Long Beach, CA. After running their skate shop successfully for several years, they noticed an increased interest in roller skating. Capitalizing on this data, they opened a pop-up skating rink nearby, which was a raging success. They have since scaled the business and use ROLLER to manage bookings and waivers.
ROLLER’s ability to book sessions and manage waivers was perfect for us, and the whole process for a guest to book, sign a waiver, and check-in is seamless.
Read this next: Pigeon’s Roller Rink enhances the booking experience with ROLLER
Skateworld is a business with two roller skating rinks in San Diego, CA, and Tacoma, WA. They offer sessions for all ages, adult nights, a skate school, and roller sports – so they have a broad audience to tap into. However, they have seen huge success by offering memberships through ROLLER. The strategy has been so successful for them that they plan to open a third venue.
We're drawing repeat customers in way more than we used to. Memberships have been the most positive outcome of switching to ROLLER.
There you have it – your guide to roller skating rink business growth. From making the most of your audience data to creative ideas for increasing visits and guest experience, we can’t wait to see what you implement and what the future holds for your business.