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Competition for Disposable Income Is Fierce: Optimise Your Venue Capacity

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The average person in the UK puts aside 15% of their monthly income for leisure which includes, eating out, shopping and other leisurely activities.

Competing for this disposable income is becoming harder than ever with both the sport and leisure sectors fighting for the same small pot of money. Arguably, leisure doesn’t have the same level of affinity that an individual has with a sports club, but nevertheless having the tools available to optimise your venue capacity is priceless.

Now when I say optimising venue capacity I’m not talking about reworking the layout of your venue… I’m talking about really focussing on the data, identifying trends in product/activity sales and most importantly, the timings of purchases and activity.


You can spend your life analysing data, but unless you are looking in the right places, your time and effort will be fruitless. If you really want to maximise your venue capacity here’s what you need to look at:

What activities do you sell?

1. I know this sounds pedantic but you need to breakdown each set of activities that you offer. You don’t want to get in to the habit of grouping activities together, for example grouping ski lessons together is dangerous given that most see a drop off in attendance once visitors have attained a certain level of competency. 

What sells and what doesn’t?

2. Once you’ve got your breakdown you should begin to look at which activities are most popular and perhaps even more critically, you should look at what doesn’t sell… You don’t want to consume valuable resource and capacity on expensive and underperforming activities.

Most popular time periods per activity

3. By now you should have a pretty good idea of what the bulk of your business thrives off. The next step is to look at peak periods of business against each activity, and with a CRM centric solution you will be able to identify the demographic of visitors at each time period.

Hollywood Bowl (The Original Bowling Company) successfully identified a “Friday Night Fun” demographic which discovered women aged 25-35 years old used bowling as a celebration and in turn recorded the highest value per booking. As an added benefit they also identified that this demographic are the most likely to pre-book via the web which provides invaluable foresight.

It’s amazing how much nuggets of information like this can add to your bottom line.


You now know what sells, when it sells and who your target demographic is for each time period and activity. Now you need to act!

With the insights gathered from your data you can start to think about your strategy. Sweating the asset is key, as you need to focus on maximising revenue per hour and utilising the capacity available. Be clever with your scheduling, try to ensure that you’re not adding additional staffing costs needlessly and try to reduce the amount of longer discounted activities that are on sale.

Chill Factore, Manchester reduce the amount of longer lift passes available during peak seasons… the thought process being why schedule longer lift pass sessions at a discount when you can schedule shorter lift pass sessions at a higher yield.

Needless to say that this is not an overnight job and once the strategy has been put in to action, there needs to be a constant stream of analysis. You need to work 6 weeks in advanced to ensure your venue is on track to hit optimum capacity and you are maximising the revenue per hour and per head. If you see activities that are looking like they won’t sell out, play around with your schedule, add different activities or maybe even move/merge your sessions to another slot (I know this can be time consuming but contact your consumers and reschedule their sessions to help you maximise your yield).

Your jobs not done here either. Although this will help to bulk up your bottom line, there’s a lot more you can do.

  • Research email interaction periods
  • Send targeted and personalised marketing material to different audience segments based upon your understandings of their needs and requirements.
  • Streamline your online customer journey to encourage online bookings
  • Encourage repeat engagement via pre/post visit communications i.e. welcome emails, FAQs and discounted offers
  • Engage in a loyalty programme to incentivise repeat visits

There’s no magic wand that you can wave which makes everything fall in to place. Investing in a flexible, easy to use system that enables you to create a central view of your visitors is the merely the first step of the journey. Building a strategy from the insight extracted through the system is the real power play.

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