Guest Column - September 2011
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Foodservice & Concessions

Make Dollars and Sense Out of Concessions

By Bethe Ferguson

Every business is looking for the "magic bullet" to entice customers to spend more money, especially in current economic times. Concession foods still remain one of the best ways to make a big impact for the recreation industry. They can boost revenue, encourage families to stay longer and return more often, and set you apart from other local entertainment options.

So, what do you do after you've chosen the right concession products for your market? Next, and equally important, is to market them to get noticed. Marketing ahead of time, onsite and after the purchase will increase your sales and let your employees work more efficiently. Here are some ideas for your concession stand, but many will also translate into marketing the recreation facility in general.

Direct Mail

The biggest challenge of direct mail is starting with a quality, targeted list. More than 40 million Americans change their address annually, and those are just the ones who register the moves. Persuade guests to provide up-to-date information with contests or surveys at the site, through e-mail and through Facebook or other social media sites. Use prizes that bring them back for another visit (e.g., discounts on concession items, memberships or recognition in newsletters). Plus, don't forget outside options like mail list companies and the USPS's National Change of Address programs to save money on postage, printing and returned mail.

Once you have quality lists, be sure to keep your guests interested and paying attention to their mail. Send coupons, event notices and deals. Try to segment your list and send tailored mail pieces. Guests will pay more attention and respond better when they feel a connection to a deal or item.