Batting cages are a central feature in my own sports facility and in many of my clients’ facilities, so I know how just how tough it is to keep profits up when the spring hits.
Having a 12-month marketing plan for your sports facility can help prevent the slow season‘s revenue dip, but it’s not enough to just have a plan; that plan must be compelling enough to draw your customers indoors when they can go outside instead, and are already spending a lot of their time at games and practices.
Here are a few ways you can keep people using your batting cages throughout the spring.
1. Invest in technology
Upscale, advanced baseball technology can offer perks that players can’t get outdoors, such as detailed stats and feedback on batting habits. One of my eSoft Planner clients has both a HitTrax and ProBatter machine to create a full sense of game play in his indoor facility. At my own facility, we have a HomePlate pitching machine, which can vary pitch type and speed with unprecedented levels of customization.
But a big equipment purchase can hurt instead of help if you don’t have a plan to make money from it. That’s where the next step comes in. (Click here for more on how to evaluate a new equipment purchase.)
2. Sell memberships around that technology
The lack of dependable, recurring revenue is one of the top reasons sports facilities fail. Great memberships eliminate that problem and keep your numbers up even during slow periods.
Great, solutions-focused memberships also improve customer retention, because they give clients discounted access to what they really want.
At my facility, we introduced our HomePlate machine with an Ultimate Hitting Membership. Anyone who buys this membership gets priority access to the machine and discounted rentals, as well as discounts on baseball merchandise and baseball lessons. As a bonus, we offer real leather baseballs for use with the machine.
To give clients an even bigger incentive to buy the membership, we discounted it for the first month it was available, giving clients a 6-month membership at the 12-month rate. The discounts are well worth having steady revenue in the slower months.
3. Bundle Your Services
If your batting cage facility doesn’t have the capital to invest in fancy new equipment right now, you can still put compelling packages together for your customers that will keep revenue flowing throughout the year. A few ideas:
- create long-term VIP memberships or restructure your existing memberships to include top tier levels that include bonus discounts and scheduling perks
- create long-term custom packages for individual clients
- diversify your offerings with complementary programs, such as speed and agility for your most popular sports
4. Be Consistent with Marketing
It’s pretty common for small business owners to get overwhelmed during the busy season and neglect marketing efforts, only to hit the slow season and frantically step them up. But if you can keep your marketing up throughout the busy season, you won’t find yourself facing a sudden business lull. It’s all about creating a plan and sticking to it; the same plan for each event.
5. Send Reminders for Inclement Weather
Stormy or wet weather can drive your clients back indoors, but only if you remind them that you’re available. Send timely reminders via email or social media – you may even want to offer discounts to get your space booked up quickly.