Avoiding The Summer Slump

How to make the most of your summer

The final summer sprint is on with only 6 more weeks before kids go back to school, depending on where your center is located. Is your once bustling redemption area now empty of guests? It’s not just you…

At the end of the school year, there are typically a couple of weeks when families don’t have a lot going on. It’s easy to get people in your doors and your May and June kick off your summer on a high note.

Then, the slump hits… Kids start summer sports leagues, summer camps begin and competing priorities and obligations take over — not to mention the families who go on vacation toward the end of summer to relish in their last few moments of free time. According to a Gallup study, “July is by far the most popular month for summer vacations, with 51% of Americans saying they will vacation then.” This could leave you high and dry during popular vacationing weeks unless you have a game plan to break through the noise to travelers.

Whether you’re a community or tourist based location, there are strategies you can use to help you avoid the summer slump.

First thing’s first. Don’t forget about your incentive program.

Before summer, we gave you tips on how to build a simple incentive program to help get people in your doors during slow times. A quick example 👇

Use weather reports and community events to determine what kind of promotion you should be running. Running a promotion ahead of the slow days, for example, “This Wednesday, beat the heat with laser tag! Purchase your passes now to get free lemonade when you visit.”

Use promoted posts or ads to expand your reach on Facebook. You also should consider creating a custom audience for better targeting and a more profitable spend. Custom audiences will also help you connect with your community and create the potential for first-time customers.

If you’re a community-based location, you can also use your “competition” of sports leagues and camps to your advantage. Contact local groups and teams to see if they would be willing to give you a sponsorship opportunity. For example, a promotion of a local sports league could be to give a discount to participants who come to your center the night of their games. This can be effective for bowling centers who want to get traffic in on slow nights.

Harness the power of Google.

So, your incentive plan is ready to go. But how do you reach potential guests, whether they be tourists or a part of the local community? The answer is where they already spend a large portion of their time — on their mobile phones. A Think With Google article explains that people research online before venturing out for an endeavor (like eating at a local restaurant or going on an overseas vacation and everything in between). It’s your job to take advantage of that opportunity!

Google Maps | Nearly a third of all mobile searches are related to location and Google searches — google.com and Maps — guide consumers to 1.5 BILLION destinations every year, according to WordStream. Advertising through Google Maps is an effective way to attract both people in the local community and tourists, alike. Anything you can do to make your center easy to find is going to help get people in your doors!

Google Ads | If you’re not sure where or how to start with search advertising, Google AdWords is a great place to start. The platform is easy to use and has intuitive analytics to help you refine your search campaigns. It’s argued that since you can target your audience, AdWords is more effective at converting sales than organic traffic. You can also use the platform to complement your other marketing tactics, like your incentive program we just discussed.

Give your redemption display some tender, loving care.

Spice up your redemption display to motivate more game play. Our Shelf Talkers (pictured below) are a great way to highlight items you want to move. Shelf Talkers create focal points in your wall, making the shopping experience more efficient and enjoyable for your guests. These tags show them what they can get for a deal and what prizes are popular with other guests.

Shelf Talkers work especially well in community-based locations. The “Hot” tags can be an incentive to play up to the next ticket level if you place them on items that are in the high Trade or Saver Redemption Ticket Ranges. If a player sees a “hot” item she wants but doesn’t have enough tickets, she is more likely to spend additional money in the game room to earn enough tickets for that prize.

Discover the potential of your party program.

It’s likely your party bookings will decrease this summer, adding to the slump. Party Center Software tells us that June, July, and August have a significantly lower amount parties booked than most months out of the year. However, most parties are booked between 9 and 11 am. The most popular days for party bookings are Monday and Friday.

Knowing this, you can tailor online search ads to reach people when they’re online wanting to book a party. In addition, you could consider offering a discount for corporate parties during this slow time to get more events in your books.

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Our proprietary Storyboards are a series of pre-designed merchandising layouts, backed by analytics. They’re created with a specific theme or category in mind to engage your guests and make finding the perfect prize a piece of cake.