A creative look at spaces, savvy waiver management, and a fresh look at food and beverage can make a big impact on your bottom line.

Creators and business owners often dream of capturing the next million-dollar idea to revolutionize their brand or business. And while that’s the way legends are born, the reality is that for many of us, success comes down to the small changes and improvements we make in our daily lives that can take our businesses from fine to fantastic.

Finding new ways to drive revenue and increase profitability is essential if you want to grow. To help you do that, read on for five simple ways to increase profitability in your family entertainment or amusement business today.

No. 1: Reconsider your spaces.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting several industry venues in San Antonio, TX, to help plan tour locations for the upcoming 2024 IAAPA FEC Summit (fun fact: you do not want to miss it). As we visited sites, we asked operators to share a little about what makes their facility unique or what operational insights they would be willing to share with attendees. In one downtown location, we learned the importance of rethinking your space.

In the facility’s restaurant, the operator shared that the sports bar environment provided an excellent atmosphere for weekend patrons coming for food, fun, and sports. TVs on the wall provide a great backdrop for a packed Sunday afternoon in the bar and the restaurant areas. But there was a problem. One area of the restaurant was a little tucked away, without great sightlines to the TVs, and never got much interest from guests.

The general manager hatched a plan to turn that space into its own attraction. He brought in a few cocktail tables, a dart board, a pool table, and a dedicated TV to make the space into a small VIP lounge. Now, guests are calling in just to book the VIP lounge for that exclusive, intimate space for their friends. They’ve found a way to turn wasted space into a revenue generator. This kind of intelligent thinking can help you increase revenue and give your guests something to talk (and post!) about.

Take a moment to think about your space. Are there dark corners that could be rebranded into something better? Could you benefit from reorganizing your game room, cafe tables, or attraction waiting areas? Anywhere you can improve flow, sightlines or just maximize your space can make an impact.

No. 2: Rethink your attraction throughput strategy.

It’s not just space that needs to be overhauled. Sometimes it’s the approach to how attractions are scheduled, sold, or managed. If you’re still selling attractions like laser tag, ropes course, or go-karts without timed tickets, you could be missing out on revenue. To get started, consider your overall attraction capacity, how many sessions you’d like to hold per hour, and consider selling them as timed tickets. If you often sell out of a certain attraction, consider whether sessions could be trimmed or schedules could be tightened to give you more throughput without sacrificing experience.

Capacity ticketing helps you manage a unique schedule, giving your guests a specific time to buy for, and cutting down on waiting for an attraction. Set times also help give your guests more people to play with and against, making the attraction more fun. And, of course, you benefit from a more streamlined attraction experience because staff knows another group is preparing to enter, helping to improve the overall experience and allowing you to eliminate unproductive time.

No. 3: Finesse your food and beverage.

Space isn’t the only segment of your business that might benefit from some of your focus. When was the last time you took a look at your food and beverage offering to determine what’s working for or against you? Periodically, check reports and trends of your menu items to see how items are doing and what you might need to change. And don’t underestimate the power of a good shake-up. Just refreshing your menu design to highlight the items you want to sell can make a big difference.

No. 4: Harness the power of waiver data.

You’ve probably heard about the power of the liability waiver. In addition to helping you in case of an incident, waivers allow you to collect essential information from your guests, attach visit and spending behaviors to their profiles, and begin to gain important information that will help you exceed their expectations.

But are you really using that information? The best operators have a firm handle on the data in their facility, and they use it to:

  • Decide which attraction bundles and party packages are popular and profitable so they can eliminate the ones that don’t move the needle.
  • Understand where the majority of your guests are coming from and where additional dollars may need to be spent to reach new audiences.
  • Create more personalized marketing email, direct mail, and social media campaigns based on demographics and visit behaviors.
  • Entice visitors buying passes or attractions to return or upgrade to a membership.

No. 5: Dream big.

Ok, just because success is made from small actions doesn’t mean there’s no place for the big ones! Do make it a habit to ask yourself and your team to dream what they want to see happen for your guests and business in the future. Consider questions like:

  • What else could we offer to make guests’ day?
  • What else could we be doing that would drive more visits?
  • Who else should we be seeking out?
  • What groups would you like to see visit us for an event?
  • Where can we cut costs?
  • What is holding us back?
  • What haven’t we thought of?

As a practice, taking time to ask and answer questions like these can help stimulate creativity, excitement, and positive momentum, all necessary to achieving everything from small success to legendary status.

Every step you take in the direction of improving your profitability helps drive your business forward. What steps have you taken that have made a difference in how you operate?

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