Using your swim school as a place to host birthday parties is a great way to increase revenue and reach more potential customers. Esther McIlvoy is doing just that at Kings Swim Academy in San Carlos, California. After having a child of her own, she and her husband decided to start hosting birthday parties at the swim school. Esther’s parents own the school and she rents the space from them on Sundays.
This has been a great way to keep the business open longer and reach new folks. Each child that attends a birthday party receives a voucher for a swim lesson. Families dropping kids off for the birthday party get an inside look at the swim school and will be more likely to trust the business since their friend trusts you.
“Birthdays are a great way to bring new faces in the door that wouldn’t otherwise be exposed.” -Esther McIlvoy
After talking to Esther, there were a few important things to consider when you host a birthday party at a swim school.
- Have package options for the family to choose from. One package may be the basics – having the space rented and everything else is up to the family to bring. [Esther provides the paper products for the basic package.] Or you can provide food and cake for the family to make it even more convenient for them to have a party at your swim school. Of course the food package will cost more and even if you don’t make as much money on the food, you give your customer the convenience that they will be thankful for.
- Have a child limit for the packages. Knowing how many kids will be attending the birthday party will help you staff accordingly. If they want to have more kids come, charge a small fee for each of those to increase revenue easily.
- Break the party into two parts. Having a fun, pool time is one part of the party. Having cake and ice cream is a different. Make sure to outline the schedule of activities to the parents so they can be prepared for a swim time and then the celebration. Keeping children away from the pool after they eat is necessary for their stomachs and the cleanliness of your facility. Keep the mess in one area.
- Schedule parties with a break in between. Having a break between the parties is important. You’ll need to clean up and make sure it is presentable for the next group. For decorations, Esther allows families to come in 15 minutes ahead of their start time to set up decorations. Also make sure to have a little buffer time for the folks to finish up their conversations without running into the other birthday party time.
- Require a swim test from each attendee. Some of these faces may be new to your swim school and there is no way to tell if they are a good swimmer or not. You have to test each child. This helps keep the pool safe and prevent fatal accidents.
What have you learned works for swim school birthday parties? What doesn’t work?