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Maximizing birthday party bookings at FEC’s

Are your birthday party bookings starting to lag compared to expectations?  It’s probably not because kids have fewer birthdays; it might have to do with your technology.  With millennials taking an increasingly large size of the pie chart mapping parent generations, the “digital natives” have a newer way of doing things than their predecessors.

If you are taking a hard look at the technology that powers your party bookings, here are four aspects of the process to consider.

 

Allow guests to book online without an agent

If a guest pulls up your website, scrolls to the party page, and is greeted with an invitation to call a number to learn about party options and to book, you’re losing money.  If guests are unable to complete the transaction without being guided through the process, there is a significant gap between the bookings you are getting and the bookings you could be getting if parents could book directly through your website and complete the entire administrative function.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t still employ sales agents to take reservations over the phone, but that your sales representatives can make better use of their time by actively prospecting new business than waiting for the phone to ring.

 

Create intuitive and simple options

It’s easy to make a birthday party complex.  What attractions does it include?  Does it include cake or is the guest bringing their own?  How many guests are there?  How long is the party?  What pizza toppings are allowed?  With this in mind, creating a few options that hit all the major points makes it easy for a guest to select without getting overwhelmed.  Take an approach similar to small, medium, and large, or bronze, silver, and gold, each with ascending features and benefits the higher up the ladder they climb.  If you want to get creative in naming your parties, be careful to not confuse your guests with names that are clever but don’t resonate or indicate a beneficial difference when compared to the other options.

 

Seamless booking experience

This is an important one.  In addition to enabling your guests with the ability to book online, the actual experience of going through the process must be seamless, intuitive, quick, and clear.  This includes limiting the amount of information required to just what will be necessary to complete the transaction - then automating a follow up after booking.  It also includes payment methods.  Are you accepting all major credit cards as well as alternative forms of payment, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay?  Do you require a deposit, or bill the entire party immediately?  With services like Afterpay, you can widen your demographic but presenting your guests with a monthly payment plan is an easier pill to swallow.

And lastly…

 

Optimize for mobile

As of 2021 more than 80% of all online traffic is mobile, and more than 65% of web traffic is coming from Safari, indicating that they are using an Apple device (source).  If your website, and precisely your booking page, is not configured for mobile sales, you miss out on opportunities for guests to book while they are on the go.  Mobile-optimized point of sale should not just be for standard tickets, butshould include all that you have to offer, and it should be just as seamless and intuitive as booking on a desktop.  Not only are smartphones the predominant way that people are interfacing with the internet today, but we are conditioned to transact from our phones, given the rise of Uber, DoorDash, and Amazon over the last several years.  Birthday parties should be no different.

 

As you review this list, are you serving your guests in the best way possible so that you can gain their business and make it easy for them to book?  If not, it may be time to start looking at how you can leverage technology to increase your birthday party bookings.