The Time to Plan Your Reopening is Now

Content Contributed by Embed

The coronavirus (Covid-19 pandemic) will change the way we do business, the way FEC’s operate – and Embed wants to help you lead the way so you can future-proof your business, today.

Right now, in the eye of the storm, you’re in a state-of-emergency, focused on your very survival. You’re not alone. But, astute business people know the opportunity is right here and now, to work smart in the short term (purely tactical) while working on their biz plan (all strategy) and getting their operation ready for opening day, when the crazy-cooped-up homebound families come out and play. Ready to hustle? Let’s go!

ID Challenges Before Covid-19 (The What)

Before these testing times, what were your everyday business challenges and obstacles that you were too busy to address because you were running the operation? This requires serious introspection, but you can do it fairly quickly if you take it department by department (bite-sized portions). Then, consider the consumer journey and your product offering. What was working and what was not? And why (the root cause; was it individual or systemic?).

Spreadsheets are useful here: outline the challenges for each department area. Then, consider the solution for each item. Identify everything you have to do and prioritise (what’s most important? Level of difficulty; what’s easy versus hard?).

The exercise is far easier than you think. Don’t make the mistake of getting emotional. Share it with your leadership or your team and get input. (the wonder of this exercise is the lack of politics or individual political agendas; you are fighting for your very existence! The time is now for each department leader to look at their area and divest what’s not working and invest in what’s working).

Whether you’re a single FEC or multiple-FEC operation, you have individuals (even the jolly high school student) who is more knowledgeable of each respective business to give valuable input on what works and what doesn’t.

This is the time to dream. Even if you do not have a cent in your pocket (we’ll get to that later); identify what you want to do for your business (chief among them is what will you do to ensure your operation is hygienically superior, virus-free. to your competitors?)

You have oceans of time to do this, so do it. It is a worthy exercise and ensures your survival so you come out stronger than before the pandemic.

Get Online. And Stay Online! (The Tactical)

If you weren’t serious about this before, the time is now. Staying online is the key to keeping your brand top-of-mind to your target consumer. They are homebound, working from home or home-schooling their kids, their media usage (especially social media) has skyrocketed! It’s THE opportunity to create ongoing engagement with your target audience. You want them to put your business on their list when they’re thinking about what they’re going to do when they get out.

Campaigns should be easy and straight-forward, include a prize (the incentive to participate): How do you guarantee your target goes to your venue when you reopen? Run campaigns that drive traffic to your venue. Participate and win. Pick one winner per day, run a new campaign every week. This costs nothing but time, creativity and an internet connection.

Examples include:

  • Describe the best time they had at your venue and win.
  • What’s your favourite item on the menu and win it.
  • What do you miss most while stuck at home and win XYZ.
  • Run a photo challenge: post a photo of you having fun at your venue and win.
  • Who would you take if you won xyz prize and why. Ask them to tag that person.
  • Stuck at home on your bday? Win a free princess party or Star Wars party when you get out for you and your friends. Tag 4 friends you’d invite and win.
  • Video challenge: post a funny video of you and your whomever at home, tag our business and the best video wins. Post a video of why you should win the princess party while wearing your princess dress, tag our business and the friends you’d invite and win. 

The first-20 to arrive get xyz for free.

Get the picture? Simple and straight-forward.

The prize needs to be valuable. Don’t give away the farm! But, give away something so valuable that it will ensure they go to your venue and spend. Examples include:

  • Free 2-hour venue-wide all you can game for 2-people. This drives traffic to venue for freebie plus the duration of time ensures they eat. 
  • Free dinner for a family of 4 when they buy game passes.
  • Free for 2 when…
  • Free round of drinks with the order of any 2 appetisers…
  • Free salad bar with dinner.
  • Free SOMETHING GOOD (food for the princess party with the purchase of game passes for party of 6) that ensures the consumer goes to your venue and spends.

The game needs to be easy and the prize needs to be good or you won’t get engagement and/or the winners will not go to your venue to redeem their prize. This is not rocket science: low participation usually means the game is either too hard (high barrier to entry) or the prize is low value.

Digital is also the forum to ask for feedback on future offerings or ask consumers what they’d like to see on your menu, additional games in your arcade, redemption prizes, etc. If you do not want to do this publicly (because you don’t want the competition syphoning your research), then take note of your high-engagers, people who like everything and participate in every promo, and message them directly, asking them if they would participate in a quick survey or if they’d jump on a quick call to discuss ideas you have.

Or, you can do a “hands-up” post, asking consumers to DM (direct message) you if they want to participate in surveys, give you feedback, try new menu items. You will find that people who participate are consumers who are invested in your brand and your brand’s success. They are more valuable than we can properly express here. Engage with them and they’ll be the first at your door when you open.

We curated 15 examples across the attractions and family entertainment center industry that’ll inspire your own campaigns.

Review and Refine (The How)

With your ongoing tactical digital campaign planned and ongoing (and the guarantee/security that consumers will return to your venue), go back to your challenge and improvement list (think of it as an Ops Plan), and work on your strategy for executing your improvements. A strategy simply answers the following question: “how will you execute the improvements listed?” Again, even without a cent in your pocket, take this time to think about the steps needed to execute your plan and take action.

EXAMPLE:  Elevating Hygiene Standards

You know you’ll need to communicate to your target consumer the steps you are taking to ensure your venue is super-hygienic and virus-free. The list of strategies for achieving this (based on your team’s input) includes a variety of areas related to housekeeping (like frequency of cleaning schedule, hand sanitiser at the door and between games, taking temperature before allowing consumer entry, etc. easy to execute and a key to your marketing edge, assures consumers’ and creates peace of mind.

Plus technology: contactless payment system; no more unhygienic coins and paper tickets, or cash payments (which can carry viruses for 3-days), plus you want to give consumer’s the ability to game using a virtual game card on their mobile, which means zero contact, dramatically reduced risk of any ole virus transmission. This will give you a marketing edge.

Worst-Case Scenario: You Have Limited Cash-Flow Or No Cash-Flow, And Think You Are Not In A Position To Make Any Investments. Think Again!

The Time is Now 

You cannot wait for your door’s to open to start planning and executing your come-back. You need to do that now, and act with a sense of urgency. This is the time to get the best deals, every single company is committed to the recovery of the industry. So, while you might have a limited cashflow, there are steps you can take now.

No Cashflow, No Problem.

Make a plan for installation before you re-open so there is no downtime to your operation when you reopen. The time is now to invest time in understanding the product, its benefits to your FEC, and how to integrate it into the business.

Plan Your Reopening Promotions Now.

You might not know the exact date the government will give the all-clear for businesses to open (restrictions lifted), but have a promotion plan ready so you can pull the trigger and execute in real time. This includes a re-opening event: invite your entire social media community, charge a flat rate to attend (sell the tickets online) for a 4-hour party, do an all-you-eat BBQ, free-flow drinks, free-game-play (or highly discounted game play), have a PR Wall where attendees can stand and take a picture and post it on social media with a hashtag for the event, post the pix while your event is happening and encourage attendees to do the same (it will attract more people in real time). The reopening event will communicate the following: it is not business as usual, your business has re-opened and it is better than ever, greater menu, greater packages for family, better bundle deals on games, and more fun than any other FEC for the entire family and friends.

Also, run a social media promotion that counts down the days to your re-opening event; do an online competition (tell us why you should win the tickets to the reopening party? Tag the friends you’d invite, the more the merrier) and give tickets away every single day.

Market How You’re Combatting the Coronavirus

A heavy part of your marketing is your coronavirus-free FEC (remember, peace of mind during these times is critical): marketing your contactless payments technology will give your consumer the ultimate peace of mind. (take pix of your Embed system installation and post on your social media channels, telling your consumers about the measure you are taking for their safety).

You can also market the improved customer experience because they are not standing in line at a Kiosk or reloading station because they can reload their mobile wallet, anytime, anywhere, without touching anything but their mobile device. The benefit to you, as an FEC is a seamless back-end business operation through new technology (less manpower, no repairs, higher operational efficiency).

Your tactical digital marketing plan ensures your business and brand stays top-of-mind for homebound consumers while promotions ensure your business is on the list of top places they will visit when they come out and play! Your Ops Plan ensures your business comes out of this pandemic better than ever, future-proofed! And your grand opening event ensures the crowds come to you first and experience the “new and improved” you.

The opportunity is now. Don’t wait.

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Partnership Is More Important Than Ever At A Time Like This