Looking for ways to create a new revenue stream or beef up an existing one? Look no further than the space all around you. It’s all you need in order to pull in earnings over and above what you make through membership dues.
I’m talking about special events. You have the space. Chances are you have open time slots too. Given these, you have the opportunity to invite community groups, families, schools, and anyone else you can think of in for one-off or recurring events. You just need to figure out how to position yourself as the place to call when someone is looking for event space.
From an event planner’s point of view, pricing is probably the top concern. What you can reasonably charge probably depends a lot on where you’re located — there are facilities in Manhattan that charge upwards of $5,000 just for a kid’s birthday party; joints in small towns probably couldn’t get away with quite so much. Do some research and see what the going rates are in your area. Then figure out how little you can afford to charge. I know that sounds anti-intuitive, but the fact is that if your facility’s primary function is to provide lessons, leagues, games, coaching, and the like, maybe you can consider anything that comes in from special events extra. Keeping your fees low can help make you the most appealing place in town.
On a related note, don’t get hung up on providing extras. Keep those fees low by offering the minimum that groups and families need in order to create their own fun: a space. Maybe a space and a couple coaches, some sports equipment. Too many facilities think they’re competing with other kinds of venues that go all out providing decorations, food, entertainment, and the like. You’re not that kind of venue; you’re a sports center or health club with some space to offer. And many event planners want to choose their own extras anyway. If you feel you must offer more, think about devising package plans: space plus extras for those who want a “just-the-facts” option for those who don’t.
But do be sure to offer incentives. Give free passes to classes, practices, and training sessions to event planners; offer them the chance to secure the space a second time for half price. Brainstorm whatever other kinds of incentives might work best for your facility. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to see the event as a marketing opportunity. Ask your event organizers if you can hand out flyers during their events — or, better yet, flyers with coupons attached. Let everyone who comes know what kinds of classes and services you offer. And, most importantly, make sure you are pulling reports on sales of these programs and offers in your club management software.You will want the physical proof of your progress! If you do it right, special events can be more than just a revenue stream — they can bring you new members and clients, too!