It happens once a year for all of us, whether we want it to or not: birthdays. As adults, we might dread them, but as kids, we couldn’t wait to attend them and have them ourselves. The entertainment industry is full of them, and Frank Price has been ensuring birthday party success for over 25 years now.
To better understand how to easily make these events enjoyable and profitable, Frank offers 6 things every great FEC’s birthday party needs to have:
Begin with a get to know you game with high energy to set the tone. “Toss something in the room around a circle,” Frank says “and when kids catch the object, they say their name and their favorite princess, animal, cartoon – anything that goes with the theme of the party.” This will help all invitees to feel welcome, and themes the experience right from the start.
2. Ideal Numbers
From start to end, an ideal party should be “2 hours long with a clear start and end time,” says Frank. “Don’t leave the parents to do the supervising by letting the party kids run around for the last 30 minutes.” In other words, finish the party as a group just as it was started, as it’ll lead to less chaos and more fun.
For an ideally staffed party, Frank suggests “one host who stays with the group the whole time, plus a runner to get food and props to the room, and support from a park supervisor who oversees the venue.” This allows the dedicated party host to be engaged with the kids for the entirety of the party, adding priceless “memorable value” (see #6 for more on memorable value!).
3. The Extra Mile with “Imagi-Theming”
Tangible themes – plates, napkins, wall decorations – “those are for the parents,” Frank says. The most effective theming with kids, he argues, is imagination-based theming, something he dubs imagi-theming; “When a party host lines a princess-themed party group, they ask each person to get up and do their princess twirl and curtsey as they get in line.” Or a teenage mutant ninja turtle-themed party uses the theme song in musical chairs, and losers are sent back to Splinter to train their Ninjutsu skills on the sidelines. “This imagination-based theming offers higher memorable value than the tangible themes will,” Frank emphasizes. The best part? It doesn’t cost your venue anything extra!
4. Imagi-Theming of Your Laser Maze Challenge®
To make the attraction special for the birthday party, “add a prop like a Frisbee in their hand. Now they’re the pizza delivery guy on an alien planet, and they have to get through the maze without dropping the Frisbee pizza,” imagines Frank. By changing how to interact with attractions like the Laser Maze Challenge, you’re adding value to the experience by making it unique to the party’s theme and group of kids.
5. Surprises for the Birthday Child
“The birthday child is surrounded by their friends, who are there as supporting fans,” says Frank. They, and only they, get to spin a prize wheel, have an extra turn at the crane game, or win an exclusive gift. “You’re better off making it a giveaway they can win because then it’s a bonus value added to the parents, versus an expectation,” says Frank. The key, he says, is to make sure the prize is something a kid would want: “Not like a sweater at Christmas or 20% their next trip in…make it something the child themselves will be excited to get!”
6. Memorable Value
Saving the best for last, Frank reveals the pricelessness of “memorable value,” which is how your brain remembers the party due to high-touch actions from the host. “A great party host who uses their imagination, makes the birthday child feel special, and creates a nicely packaged experience is going to leave the most lasting impression,” Frank says. “Sure, the kids might have a great time at the high-tech attractions, and that might be what brings them to your center in the first place, but that experience can be easily duplicated anytime they come back during a normal day.” With a great party host, there’s something elusively special about that birthday party experience that can only be replicated by booking another party at your venue. Hence, memorable value.
Want more tips and insight on birthday parties at your venue? Check out BirthdayUniversity.com to learn about Frank’s industry-leading training seminars. Thank you to The Wreckroom, Lost in Fun!, Flying Squirrel Victoria, Max Adventures, and Loveland Laser Tag for the pics featured in this post!
Original Posting Date: 6/8/18