HomeTypes of Sk8ingRecreational / SessionRoller Skating Rinks Should be FUN!

Roller Skating Rinks Should be FUN!

If customers aren’t having fun, they won’t be back.

With roller skating, the experience will always be challenging for first-timers. Therefore, it’s up to rink operators to make every experience fun and entertaining, whether it’s the first time, or 101st time. Here are some tips to help make skaters want to come back again and again, along with some hints on why they don’t.

Don’t Make Them Wait

Especially when there is no line at the front door. Many times, I arrive ready to skate, and the box office window is unmanned. And that means the clock is ticking because the session is in progress with a definitive end time. No one likes waiting. And it’s especially daunting when you see the workers standing around, not paying attention that a customer is waiting. Employees need to be at their designated stations and stay there throughout the session. If the line gets long, send out a second employee to “bust the line” and run credit cards through a tablet. Better yet, make tickets available for purchase online.

Tell Them What to Expect

Spell out on the rink website the rules, what it costs, and acceptable payments. If cashless, or cash only, say so. No birthday cakes without a party reservation? List your rules on that, too. People hate surprises, and even though there will be those who claim ignorance, at least you have it out there, and can point to it when you have to explain it to them.

Good Rental Skates

I cannot stress this enough. If people have a lousy time on a rickety pair of old roller skates, they will take them off and never return. But if they can quickly get the gist of what’s under their feet, they will pick it up and start having fun. That’s why rental skates need to be mounted correctly, comfortable, well-maintained, and replaced after so many years of service. That also means NO FRAYED LACES! Rental boots don’t have hooks. Instead they have lace holes all the way to the top. When the aglet has broken off the skate lace, and it becomes frayed, it is a PITA to guide through the holes.  Parents and kids get annoyed. Chick F’la pre-cuts salad dressing packets to make the process easier on customers. Rink operators need to make sure that aglets on rental skate laces are always in good shape.

Upbeat, head bopping music

A good DJ understands what’s appropriate for skaters and what is not. Yet, the DJ position has become automated and the session turns into a snooze-fest. Learn why the Beats per Minute Matter and how to create a vibe for skaters without churning out the same tired songs week after week. If the floor is empty, it’s because your music sucks or your DJ has been replaced by a jukebox with recorded announcements.

Skill Building Activities

Skating takes practice in order for the body to form a memory of how far to lean, how to fall, how to stop yourself from falling, and other skills necessary to remain upright. Games and activities throughout the session, from Ghostbusters, to Reverse Skate, are essential to keep skaters engaged, and become better skaters. Better skaters buy their own equipment, and that means safer skaters, and fewer injuries in your rink.

Knowledgeable and passionate staff

It’s so important to hire skaters, although I see a lot of rink owners who prefer not to, because they don’t want to lose a weekly customer. I will never understand that. If the local gym hired layabouts reaking of cigarettes to man the front desk, would that motivate customers? No. That’s why they hire body builders who preach the gospel of good health. Skating rinks that hire skaters help spread the love and joy of the sport. Customers see the passion and want to share in it. The best part is, you have these people already in your building week after week. You know if they will be a good fit or not.

Teach Skating

Start with a lesson by session where for 10 minutes you meet with newbies in the middle or a coned off area to show them the basics and then promote weekly group lessons. In order to build skating, you need to teach skating.

Rules and Etiquette

Train employees how to respectfully enforce rules and speak to guests without it sounding like a scolding. They are there to have fun. Not get chewed out by a Floor Guard, or Manager. There are ways to tell a parent not to carry a baby on skates without it ending up on Yelp and social media.

Don’t Blame the Customer

Finally, stop blaming the customer when business wanes. Find out why the customer is leaving instead of whining that they’re not supporting your rink. If this is a problem, consider hiring a Mystery Shopper to come in and assess the situation. You may have deadbeat employees who show their true colors when you’re not in the building.

We can help with that, too.

Susan Gearyhttp://https//susangeary.com
I roller skate and I write about. As the former Editor of Rinksider Magazine, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge about rink management, and have developed a network of successful rink operators to glean the best information from.
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