Skate on thick ice: How to run a profitable skating rink business
Enchanted by the skaters moving in rhythm and grace, it can be easy to miss the high costs that come with running an ice rink business. In truth, ice rinks and arenas are costly to build and demand a sizable maintenance budget, which means if you are an ice rink sports facility manager, then you will need to get creative with your revenue streams.
As a seasonal activity, ice skating is in demand during the winter, while facility managers need to maintain the rinks without seeing much activity during the rest of the year. With ice rinks generating a significant chunk of their revenue during the months between September and March, facility managers are faced with the unenviable task of balancing their income for the rest of the year.
In such an environment, it is important to recognize the areas where your ice skating rink business can continue to add value out of season. Ice rinks can deliver significant value to their members beyond coaching them in the art of ice skating - from hosting competitive events to simply upgrading the booking experience for members. Exploring these avenues can lead to some healthy revenue streams with the help of a proper business plan and careful execution.
Steps to increase revenue at your skating rink business
- Diversify your offerings
- Make bookings more accessible
- Host competitive events
- Rent your facilities
- Attract your members
At any sports facility, you can improve your revenues either through member engagement, expanding your offerings, or allowing for alternate use of your facilities. Let us look at each of these in detail.
1. Diversify your offerings
Ice rinks give you the opportunity to teach skating in a wide variety of ways. Right from the basics of ice skating to teaching synchronized skating in batches, students can learn at the level that they are comfortable with.
Always keep an eye on what more you can do for your members. Are there any new classes your members might be interested in? How about packaging your classes and making it easy for your members to sign up for the long term?
Look for classes that can be bundled together and offer packages to members through your booking website that they wouldn't be able to find elsewhere. The more you are able to increase your ice skating income during the season, the less you will have to worry about matching it for the rest of the year.
2. Make bookings accessible
Accessibility plays a huge role in deciding how far visitors will go after they land on your booking site. After all, the more convenient you make it for them to navigate, the more likely they will be to schedule a service with you.
Thankfully, technology continues to evolve in favor of a quality member experience. Today, members can schedule the class or package of their choice with minimal effort on their part and receive the details on their bookings almost instantly.
It is important to choose a smart and intuitive online booking system and automate key operations. With the right scheduling and management software for your ice skating rink business, you can help your members view available slots before they schedule their preferred slot, synchronize their calendars once they make their bookings, and keep them updated on their booking status throughout the process.
3. Host competitive events
It is when we compete that we push ourselves to do better! A competitive spirit can drive interest in your facilities and your services and encourage more people to sign up for your classes in the long run.
Host interesting leagues and tournaments by inviting the top skaters in your region, collaborate with your competitors to add some excitement, and introduce a healthy rivalry that ensures everybody gives their best on the rink! Promote events and manage tournament and league scheduling through your booking system, so you can stay focused on delivering a memorable experience to your participants and your audience.
Seasonal events aside, you can also make space for social events and arts performances all year round. This will give you the added benefit of expanding your market base and attracting a healthy revenue both on and off the season.
4. Rent your facilities
Opening up your ice rink for rental use can be a great way to generate additional income. Not only will you allow people to use the facilities as they like, on their own time, you will also be creating a valuable opportunity for your members to conduct events of their own and attract more people to your facilities.
However, before you put up your facilities for rent on your website, it is important to study member behavior and expectations.
- Would your members prefer hourly or daily rentals?
- What facilities are more popular at any given time?
- Is there any way to incentivize members to rent facilities?
Answer these questions before you put your facilities up for rent and you will be able to optimize facility usage and boost revenue generation in the long run.
5. Attract more members
Ultimately, there is no source of recurring revenue that can match the financial support offered by memberships. The sky's the limit if you're offering attractive packages to members at your ice rink. Be it exciting discounts or exclusive packages - even a free class or two every month - this is where your offerings to your customers can earn you their loyalty!
Before setting up your membership plans, do your research beforehand. Look closer at why your customers love your services. Review your pricing and analyze your position as per the industry standards. Identify the best ways you can tempt customers to sign up and create memberships that they'll truly love.
Balancing your membership plans with services and rentals they can avail throughout the year, you will maintain healthy engagement with your members regardless of the season and ensure a high level of activity at your facilities at any time.
Drive your ice rink business plan with the right technology
The key to truly maximizing profits for your ice rink business lies not in following these actions, but in how you execute them. Efficiency will play a major role in determining how well you are able to increase profitability based on every decision you take.
Today, the right online booking system can help you simplify and automate key operations, store and secure essential member data, and communicate with each member through regular, personalized updates. You will be able to save significant time and effort on your operations, allowing you to create a seamless member experience at your facility.
As a scheduling and management software that ticks all of the boxes above, Omnify is best placed to help your ice skating rink or sports facility optimize operations and maximize revenue in the long run. Find out how Omnify is the ideal business management technology partner for your facility and get started today!