8 Alternative Ways To Boost Summer Profit And Accomodate Field Trips and Groups At Your Indoor Playground Business, Even With Limited Space!
Well, it’s May and that means field trip season is upon us.
Just the other day I chaperoned my son’s second grade field trip to the science museum and PHEW– it was a hectic day.
And it got me thinking about the various requests we would get at our indoor playground facility regarding field trips from daycares and preschools– as well as what worked, and what didn’t.
Because this is the beginning of the SLOWEST open play season here in New York, and for many other areas across the globe. Here at least– we are JUST now getting some days worthy of outside play– and since we’ve been cooped up inside since November– you’d pretty much have to drag us inside during May and June.
Once that July heat sets in–that’s a different story– but May and June in particular are VERY slow for open play here in the Northeast.
And if that’s true for you as well, you may be considering some other ways to bring in revenue and traffic, including field trips and groups.
Now I will say that we DID try to allow groups and field trips during open play hours several times– and this just did not work out well for anyone involved for three key reasons and space restrictions that were really working against us.
1) Our size (2,500 square feet in total with no classroom)
2) The ages we catered to (over 80% of members and people visiting during open-play had babies under the age of 3)
3) Our lack of a classroom (this led to a co-mingling of open play customers and field trip kiddos– which got overwhelming and frustrating for the parents with babies quickly)
Now if you have a bigger indoor play space with a classroom and you’re able to allow these larger groups during your open play hours– that’s amazing and MORE power to you.
But if the idea makes you a little uneasy or if you just aren’t set up to accommodate these groups like we weren’t– I wanted to give you ideas of some alternative ways you can still work with these schools and groups– without scaring away all of your members and open play customers and putting anyone’s safety at risk.
- Afternoons: You can close early and offer field trips in the afternoon
We would close at 1 and allow groups from 1-3 or 1-4. This worked really well for daycares and private, smaller preschools that had afternoon hours
- In-School Playdays: You can organize on-site playdays and bring a mobile playground or soft play set up within schools where you set up your structures or interactive games in the school gymnasium or outdoor an space. This allows children to enjoy a similar play experience while staying within their school environment.
- Playdate Packages: If you can’t seem to accommodate schools during the hours they’d need, you can instead offer exclusive playdate packages during off-peak hours for mom groups or similar organizations. There are groups like MOPS or even facebook groups that have the network and resources to organize such an event. This allows them to have a dedicated time slot to enjoy the indoor playground facility without the presence of other customers. It ensures a safe and controlled environment for the children and a more relaxing experience for the parents attending.
- Enrichment Programs: You can try and develop educational and interactive programs that align with school curricula. These programs could focus on topics such as physical education, team-building, creativity, or problem-solving, incorporating elements of play within a structured learning environment. These may be extra accessible or attractive to you if you have any special training or background in education.
- Themed Play Events: We talk about these types of events all the time on this podcast, but instead of a field trip you can host special themed play events or workshops that cater to different age groups or specific interests. For example, organize a science-themed day with hands-on experiments and games, or a superhero-themed event with corresponding activities and costumes.
- Partnership with Other Venues: Reach out to collaborate with other local venues, such as museums, art studios, or science centers, to create joint programs. This allows for a diverse range of activities and gives children the opportunity to explore different environments while still enjoying aspects of indoor play Plus, this allows both businesses to expand their reach and potential customer base which is a win-win for both parties.
- Outdoor Adventure or Game Programs: You can extend your offerings to include outdoor adventure programs, such as nature hikes, treasure hunts, or outdoor play areas. This way, children can experience both indoor and outdoor play opportunities as part of their school activities. I know Jeremy from Playbound in Chicago is doing this type of thing right now with schools in the area and gaining a great following as a result– and it allows him to begin developing revenue as well as working relationships with schools and other facilities before his physical space is even complete.
- Parent Appreciation Night: If you really want to work with schools or daycares but again can’t seem to allow them to visit during the hours they would need for a field trip, consider reaching out to them as potential hosts for a family appreciation night or end of the year bash. I know for both of my kiddos their preschools rented out venues or pavilions for a “moving up ceremony” before kindergarten– and indoor playground are perfect choices for this because no one attending or planning will need to worry about the weather or allergies or anything like that– that can often put a damper on spring activities. Plus, preschools and daycares likely all have budgets set aside for end-of-year activities or occasional mingling nights for families– so keep that in mind as well
While I talk about summer memberships, mobile events, and classes in other episodes on my podcast– field trips and group rates can be a great way to boost the revenue and profit of your indoor playground business in a BIG WAY– so don’t be shy.
Reach out to every school, daycare, preschool, and parenting group in your local area and ask how you might be able to work together.
Have any questions? Leave a comment or DM me on Instagram here!