Earlier this year, we released the 2022 Industry Benchmark Report to demonstrate trends across the youth activities industry over the last three years. One key finding from the report was additional streams of revenue through hosting special events at youth activity centers.
When we polled users to find out which events were most popular, hosting birthday parties were the clear winner. And it’s no surprise – what child wouldn’t want to celebrate their birthday at a dance studio, music school, or gym?
To get the best insight, we conducted a panel interview with four Jackrabbit clients from different parts of the country to share how they manage and host birthday parties at their facility. The panel included:
Jenny Alzate-Myers from Head Over Heels Gymnastics in Vestal, NY
Jessie Westfall from Dynamix Gymnastics in Langhorne, PA
Erin Leiser from Exceleration Gymnastics Center in Toledo, Ohio
Katy Skinner from TEGA Kids Superplex in Lubbock, TX
Their knowledge and successes were instrumental to great conversations and ideation throughout the session. If you didn’t catch it live, the replay is available below!
5 Secrets to Successfully Host Birthday Parties
Generating revenue from birthday parties is the end goal but before you can profit from them, there are certain aspects you need to consider as you add these events to your facility’s calendar.
What should birthday party packages include?
Just like each youth activity center is unique, so are birthday party packages from one program to the next. If you are just starting out with birthday parties, make it easy to manage and ask yourself questions such as:
- How many attendees are included in the price?
- Does the package include any food or paper products?
- Do you want to offer add-ons for additional attendees, food, etc.?
- Should you offer a discount for those that are currently enrolled in your program?
Try to find the best balance between what makes sense for you and your staff to maintain and what is appealing to parents. From there, make sure your pricing reflects your effort and covers expenses!
What are best practices for scheduling birthday parties at your youth activity center?
Birthday parties are a way to utilize space in your facility when classes or practices aren’t being held. By hosting birthday parties at your youth activity center, you can offer more hours to your staff members who are looking to make additional money. The most important thing to consider is making sure you can keep up with the demand!
If you want to offer two parties every Saturday, consider clean-up and resetting time to end one party and get ready for the next. If you want to host parties on Saturdays and Sundays, make sure you have the staff on-hand to fulfill each party before you offer the time slots.
When you start to notice that parties are booking out well in advance, it may be time to consider adding more party slots if you have the spacing and staffing capacity.
How do you encourage staff to work birthday parties?
Speaking of staff, one of the most popular questions we heard was ‘how do you get staff excited to work birthday parties?’ And this question is fair for any special event you host at your youth activity center.
The majority of our client panel found that paying a special flat rate above the normal hourly rate was a great incentive for staff to offer their time on a weekend. Between the higher pay and the opportunity to collect tips, our panel found it easy to staff parties especially when it came to their young adult coaches and instructors.
How can you promote birthday parties at your youth activity center?
Aside from sending email promotions to your current family base, you want to get the word out to the local community and you don’t have to break the bank to do so! Here are some ideas that came from our panelists and attendees:
- Word-of-mouth because you can’t beat free!
- Social media channels that cover your target audience.
- Parent testimonials from previous parties for social media and your website.
- Encourage parents to tag you in their social posts about party fun.
- Collaborate with small businesses in your local community.
With these cost-efficient promotion tactics, you can ensure that parties are selling out each weekend!
How can you manage waivers for birthday parties?
Having new children enter your facility is a great thing but you also want to make sure those families have filled out waivers and you know who is in the building. As a modern-day business, it’s ideal to have your waiver available electronically whether you set it up through your class management software.
Both of these options allow you to collect and manage as many birthday party waivers as you can prior to the party, as well as post a QR code in your lobby for easy access once families are on-site. We’ve even heard of some clients having iPads available to keep the congestion down so party attendees can get on the floor faster!
Learn how Jackrabbit can help you manage party waivers
How to Generate Revenue by Hosting Birthday Parties
Now that you are a party pro, it’s time to start bringing in the extra dough. When your parties are properly priced and you’ve got access to party attendees that aren’t already taking classes at your gym, studio or swim school, your exposure has not only increased, but you’ve got new leads that have already had a great time in your facility.
Whether you offer a discounted registration fee for party attendees that aren’t already enrolled in your program via their party favor goody bag or you want to send occasional emails and newsletters to this new audience of yours, you will gain students from hosting parties. The long-term revenue gain is definitely more impactful than the short-term profit.
As long as the parties are fun (and why wouldn’t they be?), families will keep coming back for more – whether it’s a weekly class, a summer camp, or another party. Having class management software that allows you to track where a lead came from and their history at your youth activity center will just further prove the ROI.
Ready to start hosting birthday parties at your youth activity center? We’ve put together a packet of kid-approved birthday party activities for gyms, music schools and dance studios.
Download a copy of the birthday party activities packet