We all like to do different things in our free time. For many people, their idea of fun is going out to their nearest recreational centers or businesses with their friends and family. Examples of recreational businesses include sports arenas and games, movie theaters, music and dance venues, fishing trips, paintball or laser tag, and so much more.
Basically, any business that focuses on providing an entertaining and even relaxing experience to its audience can be considered a recreational facility, excluding adult businesses.
If you own a recreational business or are planning to start one, it’s important that you know how to sell it. The thing about recreational businesses is that you’re not selling a product. Normal product marketing may or may not work when it comes to recreational businesses unless part of your business is selling merchandise. With this type of industry, what you’re selling is essentially an experience and a guaranteed good time. You’re enticing customers to have a unique experience with your business, have a fun time, and create new memories.
But how do you sell a ‘good time’? That’s where recreation marketing comes in, and here are some tips to help you make it work:
Offer off-season deals
One of the unique challenges presented to most recreational businesses is what to do during the off-season. This is especially true for outdoor sports that rely on seasonal holidays and events, such as skiing or surfing. If you’ve been struggling with attracting customers during the off-season, then you can offer off-season exclusive deals to get people to come to your business all year round.
The easiest way to do this would be by offering discounts on ticket sales or group deals. If you time it right, you might be able to get as many people to come on off-season days as your in-season days. What’s more, off-season days can be much more beneficial to both you and your customers, since there are fewer people to control and fewer lines as well. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Use technology to your advantage
Ever wonder why old-school arcades and amusement parks are fast falling out of business? While the retro vibe and aesthetic of old-school arcades are still something that a lot of people actively seek out, the truth is that most arcade games have now gone out of style with the new focus towards home consoles and gaming, rendering most arcades obsolete since one can now easily access these kinds of games on their own smartphone or gaming console without having to leave their house.
The bottom line is that the technology being created now far outstrips the technology of yesteryear and without any growing innovation in the industry, any business could be easily left behind by both time and its customers.
Technology is a boon during these modern times. If it’s been a while since you updated any of your facility’s tech, it’s time that you did that now. For example, if you own a batting cage or a shooting range, the facilities and assets that get used every day or so can rapidly deteriorate over time, or get outdated as newer, more efficient technology gets invented. Updating to something more modern, like an advanced electronic targeting system for a shooting range, can help bring in and keep more of your customers.
More than just the engineering side of technology, you might also want to consider updating your old system and software and integrating more cloud-based functions to streamline operations and customer service. In short, technology is your friend and you should use it as much as possible for your own convenience.
Maximize the power of social media
Nowadays, everyone’s on social media. Social media marketing is practically an industry standard for every business sector at this point. You can’t market online without turning to at least one social media channel. Use that to your advantage when marketing your business. Create one or two social media pages for your business and connect with your customers on a more personal level.
You can curate your content to appeal to your target audience, or you can even set up an email marketing campaign and offer exclusive deals and discounts to anyone who follows you on social media. You may even allow a place for reviews. For places like recreational centers, especially, word of mouth is a powerful tool.
If you manage to give even just a few customers a good and worthwhile experience, you can be sure that they’ll remember it and are more likely to recommend it to other people, so it’s essentially free advertising. Use social media to your advantage in getting your name out there and appealing to a wider audience.
Create a meaningful experience
This goes for any business, but especially for recreational businesses where the experience is the product, it’s important that you give your customers a good and meaningful time. A lot of recreational businesses fail is when they don’t give the experience that they had promised their customers, whether it’s through faulty technology, bad service, even something as petty as the weather.
As much as possible, you want to create and curate a wonderful experience for all of your customers that they’re not likely to forget. There are many ways you can do this, but one of the biggest things you can do is just offer excellent customer service and follow up on what you promise in your advertisements or marketing. Customers go to recreational facilities to have a good time — so let them have a good time!
Recreational facilities are supposed to be fun, entertaining places where people can go to have a good time. If there’s one takeaway you should remember, it’s that these places are meant for fun. So make them fun, in whatever way possible.