There are a few times each week when it’s especially tough to get customers into your sports academy.
However, filling your facility on weekend evenings can be even trickier. That’s when people want to relax and have fun with friends and family, and that doesn’t usually mean getting sports and fitness training.
The Reaper’s Den baseball academy in Columbia, Maryland has a great solution for these times.
“The Den” is located in a community with high property values (great jobs and schools, and within a half hour’s drive of both Baltimore and Washington, D.C.).
As Reaper’s Den general manager Steve Siani puts it, they’re still paying rent on those slower summer weekend nights, so they might as well generate revenue while providing a great service for their clients. I could not agree more, and I think they have the perfect solution for this time slot.
Rock, Hit and Dodge Fridays
On Fridays, The Reapers’ Den charges $20 per family for full access to the facility from 7 p.m. until they close at 9 p.m. Families get unlimited hitting in any tunnels that haven’t been rented, and unlimited games of dodgeball on the indoor turf field.
The Reaper’s Den Staff creates a party atmosphere with unlimited play on their 1970s era jukebox (retrofitted with CDs). Most weeks, the parents chip in and order pizza.
The result is what they call “Rock, Hit and Dodge Fridays” — an event that draws anywhere from three to 20 families each week during a time slot that could otherwise be very slow.
Charging Per Family
The thing that makes Rock, Hit and Dodge special is that it incorporates the whole family, not just the kids.
They’ve found that charging per family instead of per kid has a fun side effect: The parents figure that since they’ve already paid for the whole family, they might as well get in on the dodgeball, too. This often results in fun, all-out games of parents versus kids.
Charging per athlete can be a great strategy for other times of the week, especially on snow days or weekday holidays when parents would otherwise have their kids in school. I recently wrote about how Harford Sports Performance Center has had a lot of success with a similar “open gym” concept for those times, positioned as a way to give parents a break and get their kids off the couch and out of the house.
However, the family approach has unique benefits as an alternative. It’s great for weekend nights, but The Reaper’s Den also successfully uses family rates on snow days, too.
Building a Community
Even if creating a fun family event for weekend evenings isn’t a huge moneymaker in and of itself, it can be a great way to both introduce new families to your facility, and increase customer loyalty and retention.
With these types of events, you can establish your brand as fun, family-friendly and welcoming.
The Reaper’s Den staff hands out coupons for free sessions of Rock Hit and Dodge Fridays at each birthday party they host. From there, they enjoy a strong retention and customer referral rate from those new clients.
Does your facility host any similar events on the weekends? Please leave a comment and let us know.
The Reaper’s Den staff uses eSoft Planner to manage all their scheduling and payments, and they’re really happy with how it has decreased losses from no-shows. If you want to see eSoft Planner for yourself or have any questions, just click here and fill out a demo request. Either I or one of my staff will be in touch with you soon.