As the summer season starts to wind down, many of you are gearing up for your truly busy season – fall. Being busy is good. It may not always feel like it when you go home exhausted, but it is a testament to the amount of people that want to get out of the house and do something different and unique. And, as tired as you may be, there is a certain sense of accomplishment knowing that you had a hand in making someone else’s day special.
I don’t know if you have heard of the saying “Make big bigger”. The theory is that it is easier and less expensive to attract more paying customers at a time when they are already pre-disposed to travel than it is to build something new to fill your slower periods. That is not to say that extending seasons isn’t important – it is just easier to pay for when you increase your revenues during your traditionally busy periods.
March Break at GlowZone 360 accounts for 7.5% of the total revenue for the year. In 2018, they increased March Break Revenues by 10% over 2017 and have set aside those additional funds to do programming in September and October which has historically been a slower part of the year. This 10% increase did not cost any additional marketing/communication money. It was the message and programming that changed.
The fear that many businesses have with the “make big bigger” theory is that the increased attendance may have a negative affect on the visitor experience. It doesn’t have to if you plan accordingly and keep your potential visitors informed. At GlowZone, daily social media posts let potential visitors know the hours and also know when large groups were booked to play. They also provided the phone number and encouraged everyone to call ahead to reserve a time for them to play. This allowed staff to spread pre-booked visitors through the entire day, leaving room for walk-in visitors to be squeezed in. On site, staff interacted and challenged visitors to air hockey and other games in a very public manner to keep people entertained. GlowZone maintained a 4.6/5 star rating on Google through March Break even with the 10% increase in visitors.
I have been thrilled to see so many of you looking to work together to make big, bigger for everyone involved. A Country Path, which is a stakeholder-driven initiative, revamped their website and did a tour route map reprint in partnership with Central Counties to be ready for the busy summer and even busier fall season. All of the businesses realized years ago that in terms of attracting visitors from farther away, they were stronger together. We are also currently reviewing an application to assist market a brand new apple-themed trail that hopes to grow an already busy and popular time of year for the partners.
Even more of you are looking to better understand your current visitors so that you can find more of the same types of people to make big bigger and grow into your shoulder season. This is brilliant and exactly what we are here to help you do. If you spend some time collecting postal codes from all of your current visitors – even if you believe they are all local – for $99, we can do a deep dive through CCT’s Visitor Research Program that will help you better understand how to reach more of them and what motivates them to get out and about. If you want to talk with us about ideas on how you can make big bigger, reach out and we can chat. And then we can help come up with ideas to extend your profitable season.
Best regards, Chuck Thibeault