5 Pandemic Trends Here To Stay - For The Better?

As family entertainment centres around the world reopen as the vaccine rollout continues, it’s been amazing to see our customers and other FECs we speak to welcoming back guests.

However, it’s still quite not “pre-COVID” business as usual yet, and whilst we do think face coverings, temperature checks and socially distanced queues will all eventually become a thing of the past there are definitely a few things we think trampoline parks and other FECs will have to consider moving forward for the long term and in our opinion, it’s not all bad for your business. 

Capacity control 

With the increased demand for slot bookings because of venues looking to control footfall and know who is in their park, it neglected the need for customers to spend time queuing to get into a venue as their visit was all set for a specific time slot and underlined the importance of a great booking process. Less time spent queuing = a better customer experience.

Looking beyond this, we also see dynamic pricing becoming a big feature in controlling capacity as venues will look to distribute different pricing tiers to better spread customers out across a day or week – this can be done manually by looking at your reporting data and working out what makes the most sense for your business in terms of how you adjust pricing. 

We’re also looking to develop this area of our technology, so that pricing will automatically adjust based on AI – similar to how airline pricing fluctuates – giving you a far more intelligent system than that of your competitors. 

Cashless trends

Cashless trends are something we absolutely think are here to stay. Obviously this became a larger focus during the pandemic to reduce human contact, but in turn we’ve seen it become massively preferred by customers just because of how easy it is to jump on your iPhone or Android and use their own payment method to pay for products in a venue. 

The flip side to this of course, is that most FECs main guests are children who will not have Apple Pay or Google Pay enabled on their mobile devices. So in terms of how FECs can ensure they offer a contactless payment solution for children who may be in their venue, we have seen the continuing trend of RFID wristbands which can be preloaded with a cash value and can be used in your venue – we find this is particular popular with children attending group events or parties. 

Having less cash spent on site means you’re more likely to “lose” cash, meaning greater income for your venues. 

Contactless ordering for food & drink

Linking into the above, contactless ordering has no doubt been one of the biggest areas of COVID-19 induced growth, with QR Codes resurrected from the dead and now used throughout the entertainment and leisure industry – and consumers absolutely love it as it makes their experience far easier as they can order easily and efficiently, making the payment from their mobile device. 

So how does this benefit you as an FEC operator? Well firstly, it allows you to reduce overheads in terms of staff required as all orders can be done via mobile device and sent straight through to the kitchen.

Secondly, we’ve seen this increase the food and drink sales of our customers by up to 20% in their venues. There are a couple of reasons for this, the first one is the increased ease of efficiency of ordering and reduction in wait time means customers are more likely to order, and the second reason is that ordering via this way has shown to provide a higher value spend per order as consumers are more likely to increase add ons to their order and be upsold. It’s a slightly different use case, but Taco Bell see a 30% higher value order via mobile ordering as opposed to in store orders!

Looking at how this can be expanded to further increase customer spend with your business you can also allow customers to pre-order their food for the day during your online booking process. 

Increased focused on cleanliness 

The coronavirus pandemic shifted public cleanliness to the forefront of people’s focus, with an increased emphasis on personal hygiene. 

This has shifted consumer expectations on what they expect to see within an FEC – hand sanitiser placed throughout the venue and active cleaning after each session will only increase consumer faith in your ability to ensure your venue is in as close to pristine condition as possible for them.

Additional income

With venues forced to close for long periods of time, we saw a number of companies thinking outside the box and expanding their business to look to develop a secondary source of income.

We saw some customers introduce web-stores to sell items separately via their site, such as branded merchandise, food and drink offers, such as sweet goody bags like you can see from our customer Boost Trampoline Parks here

Of course gift cards will always be a secondary source of income you could look to introduce, and these are particularly popular at Christmas (for obvious reasons!) but also can be a viable item to sell year rounds as ideas for birthday gifts. 

We hope this has given you some insight into how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the future of FECs for the foreseeable future – although not necessarily in a bad way, if it allows family entertainment centres to provide a better experience to guests and also diversify their income.

If you’d like to find out how BookNow Software can work with your business in embracing and implementing the above, just get in touch via the form below – looking forward to hearing from you!

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