MAX-OUT YOUR RENEWALS
Renewing a group is hard work but finding new groups is even harder. It's important that you deliver an amazing group experience and even more important that you treat the group leader like a king or queen. Make sure the group leader’s job is as easy as possible and find ways to make them look good. I have been on both sides. I have sold groups and I have been a group leader and I'll tell you first hand it’s a pain in the butt to be a group leader. Generally speaking a group leader needs to find a date they think works best for their company, family or organization. They collect rsvp's and money in most cases and neither of these tasks is easy or fun to do....if often resembles begging and stalking. As their group date approaches they find themselves answering questions that they might not know the answer to like where to park, what the outside food and beverage policy is, and whether or not their group is guaranteed a giveaway? It's a lot!
You might have explained all of these things when you made the sale but some of your renewals were probably made months ago and they probably weren't taking notes. If you don’t already have this, put together a helpful hints document. Provide it in a form that the group leader can easily forward to their members written as if it's coming from them. Let them answer the questions before they are even asked. Make them look like a superstar. Remember you want their repeat business. You can write them an email with links provided if the answers can be found on your website.
HERE IS A LIST OF TOPICS THEY MIGHT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT:
• Animal policy
• ATM and Credit Card Policy
• Beer and Alcohol
• Birthdays and Special occasions (How to celebrate at the ballpark)
• Bus drivers (Bus parking and driver ticket)
• Concessions and Special Requests (Especially dietary issues and availability of vegetarian, kosher and/or Gluten Free items)
• Customer Relations
• Entrance: Locations, times, policies(Re-entry), accessibility, **Do Groups have a special entrance?
• Family bathrooms/ changing table
• First aid within the ballpark
• Giveaway policy
• Group Pictures
• Handicapped accessibility. Are their courtesy wheelchairs?
• Inclement Weather Policy
• Kids Info: Kid zone, ticket policies, autographs, special concessions
• Lost and found
• Outside Food and Beverage policy
• Retired numbers
• Sign up for on field entertainment, game opportunities
• Smoking policy
• Team Store/ Souvenirs
• Unused tickets
• Water fountains at the ballpark
THE SECRET? GROUP LEADERS
Group leader check in. Do you have one? This is the beginning of the ballpark experience. I'd assume for any new groups you've booked this is probably the first time you are meeting them face to face. In a digital age I feel strongly that you don't want to miss out on this interaction. When the leader checks in you can gather any additional information about their group. Are there any birthdays? Is anyone attending their first baseball game? Maybe you send a mascot or sing if you find out about a birthday. And make sure you point out that the Group leader told you (not that you asked). OVER DELIVER when and if possible!!!!
Are you taking Group Pictures? Pictures are worth 1000 words right? How can they forget the great time at your ballpark and not come back when they have a picture? Plus, when you get your groups to cheer your team name as you snap the photo, it will draw attention to your visitation and your other fans will see how exciting it is to come out as a group. You also don't have to stop at one group picture. Capture the birthday person, the group leader, kids within the group wearing the giveaway. The more the merrier. Capitalize on the fact that people like to pose.
Develop a system to label these pictures. It's worth it to provide this customized group experience (better than finding new groups every year). You can email the photos directly with a thank you, provide a web link or direct them to facebook. Find a way that these groups can see their pictures as quickly as possible. This is also a nice opportunity to include a survey. The game is fresh in their minds so ask how it went. And, read the feedback ASAP. Let's be realistic you will get some complaints. Don’t worry, even Disney World gets complaints. Don't sit on these surveys because if someone has a legitimate complaint it's less impactful to try and remedy the issue months later.
HOW TO SEND THE SURVEY?
Well, we just talked about sending a thank you and including photos of the great time spent at the ballpark BUT you are still asking for something. Are you willing to offer something up in exchange for their feedback? "We appreciate you coming out to the ballpark. We hope you had a great time but always work to improve the group experience. Please consider taking a couple of minutes to fill out the attached survey. As a thank you we'd like to invite you to enjoy 20% in the team store or 2 tickets to another game." Giving up something small might be worth it PLUS 20% off in the store means they shop OR 2 tickets to a game means they return and eat.