Who’s Your Brand Ambassador?

Who’s Your Brand Ambassador?

MarySouthwickI hope you enjoy Mary’s enthusiasm as she shares her extraordinary guest service experience in this week’s blog. We all encounter service providers and each team member is a terrific brand ambassador…. or not! For those of us who travel a lot, every little consideration can matter. I’d love to hear your great service story. Feel free to share on our blog.

Since moving to Comfort, TX my travels are a bit more complex than when I lived in the DFW area. It’s my habit to travel early in the day and often I spend the night at a nearby San Antonio airport hotel.

I play the game of first dropping my bags at the hotel (that way I don’t have to drag them all over the place). I then drive to the offsite economy parking lot at the airport. Finally, I transfer from economy parking to the airport terminal and then call the hotel shuttle to pick me up. I know it sounds convoluted, but it works better than leaving home at 2:30 a.m. to catch a 6:00 a.m. flight!

During last week’s travel, I had an amazing experience. Shuttle driver extraordinaire, Roger, picked me up. He asked if I had any bags and since I didn’t, I shared the economy parking, airport terminal, hotel shuffle I play to best utilize the shuttle. Roger got all excited and shared with me that he can pick me up directly from the airport economy parking lot (suggestive sale for the future). I was thrilled to get this news!

Now mind you, I have asked this question on many other shuttle rides and have never been given this information. I suspect those other drivers may have considered the extra stop at the economy parking lot to be a hassle.

But not Roger. He couldn’t quit being in service. He took his shuttle availability to the next level when he shared that in addition to making my pick-up more convenient, he could also drop me at any local restaurant within 3 miles or suggested I could even enjoy a meal at the hotel. Roger went on to name several places to eat and made suggestions for his favorites.

This kind of service is so helpful for people who are not from the area. His suggestive selling will land me at his favorite authentic Mexican restaurant next time.

My interaction with Roger was amazing. It was as if he owned the Hilton property he was driving for. He was so proud of all they had to offer to help make my stay the best experience it could be. Guess who’s only staying at the San Antonio Airport Hilton from now on. When you consider all the competition in the world today, doesn’t it make sense to cultivate the Rogers of the world.

Who are your brand ambassadors? Do they act as if they own the place? Do you make your guests feel like nothing is more important than they are right now?

You know what’s really cool? I don’t think Roger was trying to be extraordinary. I think he does all the ordinary things a shuttle driver is supposed to do and gives everyone of those little things a LOT of EXTRA!

Building School Fundraising Programs

Building School Fundraising Programs

In our sales coaching program, we teach sales teams to break up their time calling various target markets. We break it down like this:

  • 40% Companies and adult groups
  • 30% Youth groups
  • 20% Church groups
  • 10% Fundraisers

People often ask how to host a successful fundraiser. If you have a student in your house, you know that almost every week there is some spirit night at your local Chick-Fil-A or the band is selling overpriced kitchen gadgets. My least favorite of all is the PTO getting students to sell $20 rolls of wrapping paper or bad cookies so they can make a whopping $2 back for each one sold.

Next up in our back to school series we want to give you five ideas about how to host fundraisers in your center that will bring business to you and to the schools who can make more money!

Fundraising Night

Allow schools or organizations to pick a night Monday – Thursday to host their fundraiser. Set specific hours and give them a percentage of all the sales during those hours. It makes it easier than reminding them they need to bring a flyer or tell the front desk what group they are part of. Work with your POS client on pulling reports or creating special buttons the front desk can use during that time. The goal is to drive weekday business and help the school make money and this is an easy and simple way to do both.

Discount Cards

Discount cards are wonderful and easy. As a parent of three boys, I will purchase a discount card over anything else anytime! There are several ways to do it – give one discount they can use one time per visit per year or create a punch card. The punch card can be good for one offer up to a specified number of uses or create various offers for one-time use. Give the discount cards to the school to sell and they can set the price point. Your return comes from keeping the offers simple such as BOGO offers, special packagings such as a family four pack, or discounted entry. More often it will be families that come in that will need to spend more to cover everyone or purchase additional food or gameplay. We love to work with spinnprint.com for all our printing needs where you can purchase 500 postcards for just $80.00. That’s just .16 cents each with you getting a big return! You can custom design a card for each group and personalize it just for them.

Online Fundraising

If you have an online reservation system, create a special link that goes to a direct fundraising page. Set the page to sell gift cards, packages, or pre-paid items such as buffets, drinks, or game cards they can redeem in the future. Allow them to run the fundraiser for a week so they can reach their family, friends, and neighbors through email and social media. The school or organization would then receive 20% back on anything purchased with their unique link. It’s easy to track and easy to sell. Talk with your POS client to get it set up in your system.

Pizza Party Fundraiser

Another great way for schools and organizations to fundraise is through food. Most can’t make lots of pizzas but you may. Have discounted prices for whole pizzas the organization can order and sell by the slice at their next event. You can cover your costs, get your name to families in the community, and they can set the price per slice. Make it a no-brainer by adding a small delivery fee and deliver to them.

Pre-Paid Game/Gift Cards

Pre-paid game cards or gift cards are a way to make sure organizations have some skin in the game. Pre-load cards with a specific amount of money and sell them to the organization for half the price. They can then turn around and sell them for full price! For instance, sell a $10 card to the PTO for $5 and the organization sells them for $10. When they come into your center, you know they are going to purchase more, and the school can make a great profit.

We hope these ideas help you with fundraising in your facility. Leave a comment, question or reach out to us at marketing@trainertainment.net. We are here to help!

5  Simple Things to Do When Your Website is Attacked

5 Simple Things to Do When Your Website is Attacked

Your worst nightmare has come true. You drive into work, get settled in, and start preparing for your week. You pull up reports, check your website, and bam! you see you have been hacked. This scenario plays out every day thousands of times.
You start investigating why it’s hacked, what got hacked and discover it’s a script written to redirect your traffic to another site. Unfortunately, this is the case on the TrainerTainment site.

This is one of the biggest nightmares for small businesses. And so while our website is being worked on, I thought it would be appropriate to give you 5 tips to recover from such an attack.

  1. Notify your IT department or web manager immediately as well as your employees. Let them know you are hacked and have IT start the process of identifying the malware.
  2. Lockdown all your accounts and passwords. Anything that is linked to your network. This will prevent the attack on hacking other programs and social sites as well.
  3. Find out what got breached. Is it a simple redirect, or something more sinister?
  4. Take action: Clean your site, there are many good sites that will do this for you if you can’t do it yourself.
  5. Notify your customers. Let them know your site may be down for a few hours or days and avoid the site until you give it a green light. This will give you more opportunities to connect with them.

Hope you find these tips useful and we will keep you updated on our site as soon as it becomes available and there are no threats.

FEC Marketing Made Easy: Marketing Ideas For The New Year

FEC Marketing Made Easy: Marketing Ideas For The New Year

Recently I asked a few people if they had already planned their marketing calendar for 2019 and I was surprised so many told me no. I’m huge on planning! I typically start planning in July for the following year. You may be thinking, “Well, you are the marketing director. We don’t have one of those. It’s just me who does the planning.”

Well, I’m here to tell you planning doesn’t have to be hard! I think we can over think it sometimes and I want to help you make it easy. Keep in mind if you want your promotion or event to go off without a hitch, you need at least 90 days before the event to plan and market it properly. That is why planning ahead is so important. Now don’t let that stop you from doing smaller promotions, especially on social media that don’t need 90 days to plan. To help you plan, you can download our 30-60-90 day planning worksheet here.

Today, I want to share with you one promotion per month that could help you get the juices flowing. Start planning out your in center promotion and marketing calendar now. Here we go….

  • January – January 14th is National Dress Up Your Pet Day. Since January is so close, a social media promotion would work great. What could be more fun than seeing great pics of your followers pets all dressed up? Host a one day contest on Instagram and the person with the best-dressed pet could win a fun pack. Be sure to lay out the rules such as tag a friend in the comments, tag us in your picture, and use a special hashtag. This makes the posts easy to find and connects them back to you! Be sure to share some posts on your Instagram story.
  • February – Host a Father/Daughter Dance. It’s one of the best memories I have of my childhood and it’s a fun way to fill the center during the week.
  • March – Spring Break Photo Booth – Set up a fun beach theme photo booth for all your spring break visitors. Have guests take pictures and encourage them to share on social media with a special hashtag for your center.
  • April – Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. Open a few hours early the Saturday before Easter and host a fun breakfast where guests can have a private Easter egg hunt and take pictures with the Easter Bunny. Tickets can be pre-sale and it’s loads of fun!
  • May – Ladies Night Out-Host a ladies night out event Monday – Thursday. Ask vendors to attend and offer food and drinks to all the ladies or pre-sell tickets to the event.
  • June – Summer Reading Club – Partner with your local schools and libraries and host a summer reading program. Students can receive free prizes after they read so many books.
  • July – July 14th is Collector Car Appreciation Day. Host a car show in the parking lot. It’s a great way to get people to come early in the day, bring their families, and stay at your center.
  • August – School Supply Drives are a great way to give back to your community. For every bag of supplies donated, give a free game card, a game of bowling, even a pizza and drink combo. Donate school supplies to a local school in need.
  • September – Grandparents Day is September 9 Host grandparents play date during the week. It’s slower and quieter and they will love spending time with their grandkids.
  • October – You don’t have to go crazy for Halloween. Plan a Halloween Photo Contest on Facebook or Instagram. Have fans post on your page or tag you with a special hashtag and ask everyone to vote for their favorite goblin.
  • November – 12 Days of Thanks – On the 12 days leading up to Thanksgiving, give fans special offers they can cash in each day.
  • December – December 4th is National Cookie Day. Host a mid-week activity where kids come out and decorate their own sugar cookies to kick off the holiday. Pre-sell tickets so you know how many cookies to make and what supplies to buy.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you plan out some promotions and events for the year. The good news is we have made it easy for you. Our Reach Calendar is packed full of national and fun holidays, even more marketing ideas each month, and a weekly goal of who to call for a birthday party and group events. If you are looking for a how-to manual to planning, our Marketing Manual is just the answer. We have packed this manual with promotions that give you a step-by-step guide on what you need to do to plan a successful event.

We’d love to hear about great promotions you have on the books for 2019. If you need help planning your marketing calendar, be sure to give us a call.

FEC Marketing Made Easy: Marketing Ideas For The New Year

FEC Marketing Made Easy Vol. 7 – Back to School Edition

This month we are focusing on back to school. Last week we talked about four school events you should be booking now. You can read it here.

This week we want to talk about marketing ideas for schools. That can get a little tricky. Some districts require you get approval or become an approved vendor before you can work with them. If you create great programs that benefit and inspire students, you are more likely to get in.

Here are eight ideas for marketing to schools and creating long partnerships.

  1. Reading Club

We have mentioned having a reading club for a long time and if you don’t have one in place, start now! Reading clubs are great to host during summer and working with local school librarians is a great place to get the information in the student’s hands before they leave for summer break. If you want to know how to start a reading club, we have a step-by-step manual to help you get started now, market to schools throughout the school year, and have the program built and ready when summer rolls around.


Reading is always a big push in schools and bookmarks are a fun and inexpensive way to reach out to students. Create a fun bookmark with your mascot and logo and have a free or BOGO offer for students to detach. It’s fun and easy, and you will stay top of mind as they read all year long.

  1. Games for Grades and Attendance

Create fun certificates or coupons you can give to schools for straight A’s, A’s and B’s, and perfect attendance. Make the offers different for each level and drop them off at the front office. Schools are always looking for student incentives!

  1. Donation for Auction

Talk with PTO/PTA presidents. During the school year, the PTO/PTA hosts various events to raise money for the schools. Offer a donation item for them to raffle off. A family four pack or even a birthday party will help the school and bring potential new guests at your door.

  1. Teacher Weekday Discounts

Our teachers work hard all week long and sometimes they don’t want to cook when they get home. Offer discounted meals and bundles for teachers and members of the school district for a day. It’s a great way to drive weekday business to your center.

  1. Back to School Social Media giveaway

One of my favorite parts of back to school is first-day pictures. Host a contest on social media for the most creative back to school picture. Make sure they use a special hashtag, like #tttbacktoschool, so it’s easy for you to search.

  1. Advertise

Advertising with a school is a great partnership and opens loads of doors for other activities. Start research now for how to advertise in the student’s folders for the next school year. Reach out to high school organizations and sports teams to see how to advertise in their programs. Trust me; they are still looking for sponsors.

  1. Free Swag

Everyone loves free swag! From pencils, notebooks, t-shirts, and water bottles, they are all great items teachers can use to incentivize their kiddos. You can purchase them for your redemption area and front desk and tack on a few extra to give to schools. It’s just another great way to get your center to be top of mind and build a relationship.

We hope these ideas help you get into schools and book more events. We would love to hear what’s working for your center! Be sure to comment below or shoot us an email at marketing@trainertianment.net.

Holidays and Events to Start Planning For

  • October 4th – National Taco Day – Everyone is obsessed with tacos! Have a special menu item or work with local food trucks to host a special event in your parking lot.
  • October 31st – Halloween is just around the corner. Plan something fun for your guests.
  • November – Host, a canned food drive, to benefit your local food bank. Offer a special, a free game, or even a fun treat like a lanyard for their game card when they bring in canned food.
  • November 26th – Cyber Monday – Create special offers guests can purchase only online for Cyber Monday. Create special packages they can use before the holiday break or special BOGO offers they can redeem at any time.


FEC Marketing Made Easy: Marketing Ideas For The New Year

FEC Marketing Made Easy, Vol. 6

Welcome to the July marketing blog!

We have officially finished half the year and, hopefully, we have hosted some wonderful promotions, events, and had good engagement on social media. Have you planned the second half of your year? If you haven’t, here’s good news: There is still time!

As always, we have an entire calendar that helps with who to call to sell group events and we give you monthly marketing ideas as well. Check out our past volumes to get even more ideas to start planning for next year.

Now it’s time to talk changes in social media. There have been lots of changes this year including quite a few in the past month. So, in this edition, we are going to talk about those changes and what they can mean for your business.

Facebook’s New Level of Transparency

Over the past year, there has been a lot of discussion about Facebook’s transparency concerning where articles and ads come from. Not long ago they added a new info button to most articles. You can click it and see more information about the page sharing the article and what other posts there have been. They are doing the same with ads.

People can go to any page, view the company’s information and see all the ads they are running across Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger. Not only will they see ads that come across their newsfeed, they will also be able to see ads that are not targeted at them. People will be able to view the copy and graphics submitted for advertising, giving users a chance to report ads that may not be legit. Here is the release and a video that Facebook shared about the changes.

Keep in mind when you are giving special offers to a targeted group, people can view the ad and receive the same offer even if they were not targeted. If you are using targeted offers to see what works and what doesn’t, the data could be a little skewed but shouldn’t be enough to keep you from running targeted offers.

The key to assuring your ads are not reported is to create clear content, have great graphics, and don’t spam your fans with too many ads!


For a couple of years now, video has been the leader of engagement on social media. In August 2016, Instagram launched Instagram Stories. It was a way for users to share more content, especially longer videos, without taking over the feed. There are around 300 million active users each day on Instagram Stories.

Now Instagram has launched IGTV. Instagram videos have only been one minute long. IGTV gives users the ability to make videos from a minute up to an hour. The best part of it all is that videos are taken in full-screen portrait mode. That means you don’t have to flip your phone on the side to see the video.

Here are a few ideas for videos you can produce on IGTV that will help you connect with your followers.

  1. Birthday Parties

Birthday parties are big business and people call our center to book birthday parties all the time. We tell them our parties are the best in town but how about we show them? Record a birthday party so they can get the full experience of how great your parties are. Be sure to get parent permission first.

You could show them a day in a life of a party host. Get creative and show people how fun your birthday parties really are!

  1. Back of the House

Do you make everything in your kitchen from scratch? Are you testing new items for your menu? We made our pizza dough from scratch. Most people didn’t know that and were surprised when they found out. We also liked to try new pizzas and would get creative in the kitchen.

Those are the moments you can share with your followers. Think of ways to show them how fun cooking hundreds of pizzas a day is or the size of the equipment. Show them all the new food you are coming up with and have them comment on what you should do next.

  1. Games and Attractions

People come to us because we have amazing games and attractions. IGTV will be a great place for you to showcase what’s coming to your center or even what you already have.

It always amazed me that we would move the games around and people would say, “Oh, you got a bunch of new games.” Nope, it was just hidden in the back. Look at your reports and see what may not be getting loads of play time and showcase it. Maybe someone didn’t know you had it. Or how about opening up the back of a machine and showing how a game works?

What about how safe your ride is? We had a ride with loads of safety triggers. If not done right, the ride wouldn’t start. What parent wouldn’t love to hear about how safe it is!

  1. Meet the Team

Our team is our greatest asset, so why wouldn’t we want to showcase them? Remember, people buy from people. Create a connection with your team before the guest even comes in. If you have a team member of the month, interview them, ask them questions about why they love working there, what food guests have to try, what is their favorite game or attraction, etc. Encourage people to come and say hi.

  1. Interview Your Fans

Do you have someone on your team who is outgoing and engaging? Have them video the center during your busy times. They can walk through the center, ask guests if they are having a good time, what their favorite thing was, and encourage people to bring the family out for fun! It’s a great way to get instant recommendations you can share. Remember, ask the guests permission before you start to record.

Upcoming Marketing & Promotion Ideas

  • National Night Out, August 2nd – Work with your local law enforcement or neighborhoods to see how you can get involved in local activities. Many places have booths or are looking for fun donations.
  • National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, August 4th – have your sales team go out the Friday before and give cookies to businesses you are looking at building relationships with. It’s a great way to get past the gatekeeper!
  • National Bowling Day, August 11th – Offer special bowling prices to celebrate. Bronze Coaching Classes will be held at 14 locations across the US to celebrate too! Register or get more information at https://www.bowl.com
  • Grandparents Day, September 9th – Create a special package for grandparents to come in to have fun and spend time with their grandchildren.
  • National Singles Day, September 23rd – host a fun single and mingle event. Have food and drink specials along with bowling for a great night out.

Have marketing questions? Be sure to email us at marketing@trainertianment.net.


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