Successful operator and past RSA president shares how


Successful operator and past RSA president shares how
May-June 2014
Successful operator and past RSA president
shares how to boost birthday bookings
By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
irthday parties can be a tremendous
profit center for roller rink operators. Kevin W Baker, owner/president of Interskate 91 in Wilbraham, Mass.,
has discovered a surefire way to generate
more revenue and income with birthday
parties. As a birthday gift to Rinksider
readers, Baker took time to share ideas to
increase traffic and provide a better experience for your customers while boosting
birthday party sales and improving your
bottom line. The key is a systematic study
of the marketplace.
Assess your competition. Baker has
designed a comparison chart that allows
him to analyze his competition at a glance.
But he also publishes this chart so that
parents can do comparison shopping and
assess the value they receive at Interskate
91 and his competition for birthday party
bookings. He includes his website address,
phone number and location on the chart
along with the words “The choice is clear:
more fun, more options, more yes, more
Start with what you know.
List your own offerings first. For
example, Baker lists the following on
the birthday comparison chart as offerings available from Interskate 91:
Pre-printed invitations, helium balloons, costumed server, game tokens, cake
available, book on-line. At Interskate 91,
SkateCourt Ad 8.5x6.indd 1
Rinksider_MAY_JUN_14.indd 9
Independent Voice of the Industry
the length of the party is listed as two hours
plus; activities include skating, playgound,
laser tag and cash cube. Baker lists the
snacks available (pizza or hot dogs and
soda) and the price per guest ($16.95).
Each of these features is listed as a category at the top of the birthday comparison
chart. If there are other features or items
that make your birthday parties unique, list
those as well.
List your competitors.
Who else offers birthday parties to
your target market? Be sure to list Party
at Home, as Baker does. He doesn’t list
clean up or preparation as categories, or
wear and tear on the home, but you might
want to add that to your chart as many
parents will find the benefit of having a
party outside the home is that there is little
preparation and no clean up involved. On
Baker’s chart, he estimates that a party at
home will cost about $15 per guest.
Baker lists his other competitors as
Build-A-Bear, Chuck E Cheese, Sonny’s
Place (in Somers, Conn.), and Big Adventures (in Westfield, Mass.). Perhaps there
is an ice skating rink, bowling center,
indoor playground or gymnasium, zoo or
children’s museum who also offers birthday parties. List them all. Then do your
research as if you were a parent shopping
for a venue. Create a chart listing each
business down the left side and fill in
the boxes on the grid with the facts you
uncover. What snacks do they offer? What
Mural in one of the themed party rooms at Interskate 91 in Wilbraham, Mass.
extras? What is the price per guest?
Perhaps you’ll find features your
competitors offer that you can add such as
pinatas, ice cream, party hats, and a special
gift for the birthday guest. If you also offer
go karts, miniature golf, batting cages, a
rock wall or trampoline, list those features
as options for your party guests.
Baker suggests that you “track the
competition and what they offer for packages and pricing.” Present your party
options in the chart and show where you
offer more value and fun than your competitors.
Gain a competitive edge with
outstanding talent.
Beth Standlee of TrainerTainment,
based in Fort Worth, Texas, observes that
people involved in activities such as theater are good candidates to host birthday parties. “I’m looking for personality,”
Standlee shared. “You can teach them the
job. You can’t change the personality.” She
advises rink owners to look for people who
are friendly, energetic, and want to be part
of a team–all attributes usually found in
people who are comfortable performing.
And as any rink owner knows, birthday
parties are all about showmanship.
Showcase your talent. Video your
party hosts interacting with guests and post
the video on your website and facebook
page. Actions speak louder than words,
and when potential customers see how
much fun birthday guests are having at
your rink, they’ll want to explore more and
book your business for their celebrations.
10/18/2011 3:10:55 PM
4/20/14 8:28:15 PM

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