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Guest Column - October 2012

Childcare

New Sources of Revenue for Entertainment Facilities

By Theresa Iliff


Multiple revenue streams per square footage—that has been Camp Iliff's business model since its inception more than 10 years ago. Understanding this concept is one of the most important aspects to running a successful business.

Camp Iliff is a 12,000-square-foot Family Entertainment Center (FEC) in Newton, N.J. Our attractions include a five-level indoor soft play unit, a 30-foot high rock climbing wall, inflatables, redemption games with a redemption center, a mini roller rink and a Noble Roman's Pizza franchise. We host birthday parties on weekends and have open play during the week. However, what separates Camp Iliff from the rest of the family entertainment centers is we have a licensed child care center inside our facility. This allows us to generate consistent revenue seven days a week, which many other facilities struggle to do.

FECs, roller rinks, bowling alleys, fitness centers and indoor sports complexes all have down time. It is nothing that any specific facility does wrong; rather it is because our target market (children 5 to 18) is in school during the week. So we have to either get these children in our building during after-school hours or target younger children that are not of school age yet. Coming up with creative ways to eliminate dreaded weekday down time is vital to the overall success of the business. Various children's programs do just that. After-school camp, summer camp, spring and winter break camps, days off school camp as well as full-day childcare programs are the perfect remedy to dreaded weekday downtime.

The benefits of running these programs in a facility like ours are simple. Children's programs do not interfere with our facility's primetime, which is mainly nights and weekends. These programs run during a time of the day when the facility is somewhat quiet. However, the facility is probably still open during these quiet hours, thus paying staff, utilities, etc. Plus, our facilities will be able to offer kids so many more activities and attractions than any typical day care center ever could. Talk about a selling point. Now combine that with the enriching educational curriculum that we provide, and it becomes an easy decision for parents on where to enroll their child.

This concept has been so successful for us here at Camp Iliff that we have been able to help others around the country achieve the same level of success by adding these programs to their facility. We have worked with numerous facilities around the country to get them a childcare license, gain township approvals, market the programs, as well as assist with hiring and training. We also provide a full curriculum and daily lesson plans, with customized daily plans to fit each facility.

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