And what it means for the fun industry

By: Tabatha Bender, Redemption Plus

Look familiar?

Your email inbox probably resembles the above picture to some degree. Each day brands flood your inbox with promotion after promotion to try to squeeze a conversion out of you — especially during the last quarter of the year. In the era of data sharing, companies know more about you than ever before. Marketing messages are increasingly personal and shockingly relevant to your shopping patterns and wish lists.

We are in the Promoconomy era as defined by The New York Times. Where coupon codes and loyalty programs rule supreme and where companies blur the lines of data privacy and solving a consumer need.

Our economy also favors businesses that deliver, “compelling experiences for customers, resulting in consumer allegiance and a profitable bottom line,” according to The Experience Economy. That’s good news for those in the leisure industry considering they’re in the business of creating fun and memorable experiences.

Let’s discuss what all this means for your out-of-home entertainment business.

1 | Resist the race to the bottom

“As soon as you start competing on price, you’re competing with the Amazons of the world,” said Diana Ganz, a founder of the Groomsman Suit, an online suit company that prides itself on not offering discounts. “That is a game that nobody wins.”

The value of your offerings should always come through first in your messaging, as opposed to your competitive prices. Consider what sets your business apart from other entertainment options. Is it your attraction footprint? Is it your staff? Is it your family-friendly environment? Pinpoint your unique differentiator and frame all promotions with that at the forefront. Provide value to your customer base beyond just sales and promotions. And, let’s be frank… we all know the true value of free.

2 | Take the chance to promote other attractions + additional spend

The promoconomy has made the American consumer expect deals. While that may be frustrating (see point #1), it does give you an opportunity to bundle attraction sales. By offering a 10% discount on laser tag with the purchase of a bowling game you satisfy the customer’s want of a deal and you better their experience.

Giving them the opportunity to experience more of what your center offers you keep them in the building longer, which increases the likelihood they’ll spend more $$$. It also levels-up their total experience and will motivate them to come back in the future.

3 | Collect data! But know your boundaries and respect your customers

A quick look in your personal email inbox will tell you that businesses know more about you now than ever before. With first name introductions and personalized content that fits your interests, it seems like brands are your best friend. Creepy, we know… but it speaks volumes when trying to convert your customers on a promotion. After all, our guess is you probably pay attention to something with your name in it over something that doesn’t.

That said, it’s important to ask for permission before invading customers’ space. Here is where it’s important to not blur the lines of data privacy and solving the consumer’s “need” for a deal. As long as permission is given in the collection process, you’re good to go!

Ask customers if they want to sign up for emails when they’re checking out at the sales desk. Receive email consent when booking parties. Offer a discount on an attraction in return for a customer giving you his or her email address.

4 | Capture the opportunity for social sharing

In the world of selfie boutiques, consumers are eager to share their experiences online. This gives you the unique opportunity to capture some free marketing.

The above example from Jake’s Unlimited gives guests the chance to show off their redemption prizes to members of their social networks. Not only is this something fun to do in your center, but it’s also a great marketing tactic for your business.

5 | Consider your value per minute 

In the Experience Economy, Joe Pine says this:

“Everyone goes to the movies. They cost, allowing for regional variation, around 10 cents per minute, just for the admission fee. But Disney theme parks are around 20 cents per minute. So, are you at the level of the Disney theme park? Can you get to that 20 cents per minute in admission fees?”

It’s important to keep tabs on your value within the market. What are local competitors charging for their offerings? How does your value compare to what they have to offer? Is your per-minute or per-hour fee for entertainment comparable to other entertainment options?

Just as you shouldn’t partake in a price race to the bottom, you also should take due diligence to ensure you’re not overcharging your customers. This will do wonders for the longevity of your customer base.