How the Return to In-Person Events Impacts Attraction Venues

Group events took a significant hit in 2020 when the pandemic dictated that large gatherings were unsafe to participate in.  Considering that groups and parties make up a lion’s share of revenue in family entertainment businesses, it’s refreshing to see that they are resuming, and that the demand to get together has only accelerated.  With that in mind, the landscape of the attractions industry has changed, and so has the environment of birthday parties and large events.  There are new factors in place that carried less importance prior to the pandemic that must be on your radar as we move toward the future.

Here are five questions you should be asking as you begin to see the reemergence of group events.


Can they book online?

First and foremost, the ability to book on your website, without the aid of a sales representative, is critical.  While many guests may still want to book their event with an employee and therefore there should always be staff available to make the sale, parties and events should be a part of your online ticket platform.  By providing guests with the opportunity to book online, you are likely to capture higher volumes of bookings.


Can they book on mobile?

In addition to parties being available to book on your website, is the purchase experience optimized for mobile?  Parents nowadays are a different generation than parents from 10 years ago, and are more inclined to use a smartphone or tablet as one of their primary devices, and booking birthday parties for their children should be taken into consideration.  In order to see more sales naturally occuring, you must identify if you are where your guests are, and if not, focus your efforts on offering parties and events to be booked seamlessly on mobile devices.

Side note: if the guest books their event online, whether desktop or mobile, don’t forget to make a personal contact afterward to thank them for their booking.  Technology should enhance your guest service, not replace it!


Do you offer buy now, pay later?

Needless to say, a birthday party or group event is a much larger transaction than a standard visit, and the cost alone can turn people away.  However, one of the latest emerging trends in payments is BNPL, or buy now, pay later.  If you offer for your guests to break up the entire cost of the event into smaller chunks that can be paid over time, it takes away the hesitation of putting one large transaction on a credit card that might not be paid off before the balance is due, or needing to save up in advance of the event.  The flexibility of buy now, pay later can broaden your audience to now include those who may have been unable to book an event with you previously.


Are guidelines and restrictions made clear before booking?

What information do your guests need to know prior to visiting?  Are masks required to enter?  Do you require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test?  Have all restrictions been lifted?  With the pandemic still causing a fluctuation in policies and procedures across all industries, attractions are no exception, and the communication must be clear.  With parties and events often booked by an individual or parent, you must ensure that any guidelines or restrictions are properly communicated across all party guests prior to arrival, so they know what to expect and what is expected from them.


Is your tech ready to handle large groups upon arrival?

When your party guests show up, what happens?  If there is a lot of standing around, waiting in line, frustrated staff members, and a hectic entryway, you might not be leveraging all of the tools available to help you.  If your venue requires waivers, they should be completed and attached to each guest’s profile after the purchase is complete and before they arrive.  The group arrival process should be organized and efficient, and any friction points should be anticipated.  If a guest arrives without a waiver signed, it should not derail the entire experience but should be able to be noted quickly and rectified seamlessly, minimizing any delays.  The quicker your guests check-in, the sooner they’ll get straight to having fun and enjoying your venue.


As group events continue to rebound , consider these questions to ensure that you are able to best serve your guests.