Over Easter, I stayed at Centerparcs with my family. To be honest, it’s not my dream holiday destination (I’d much rather be in Santorini or the Maldives) but our two boys absolutely LOVED it. There is every opportunity to be constantly on the go, and that suits them.
Actually, I was surprised by how much I did enjoy the trip; the Centerparcs management do a superb job of running the show and looking after their guests.
From a marketing perspective they are spot on. They have got their dream client very clearly identified – families who like to be active. They are excellent at attracting them – their advertising clearly tells a story that sells the holiday. And, they are great at turning their customers’ problems into value-added services – we were very pleased to find that they now offer a take-away service, including delivery to your lodge and booze. So, if a hard day of aqua-jetting, tree-climbing and mini-tennis has finished you off, you don’t have to get back on your bike and head to the ‘Parcmarket’ to stock up on your favourite red.
Another area in which they excel is extracting money from you and making it REALLY easy to buy stuff during your visit (add-on sales). To be honest, if we’d totted up all the ‘extras’ in advance, we would have quickly realised we could afford a week for four in the Bahamas after all.
Their newest innovation in this department is Stephen-Hawkins-level clever. It’s a green, silicon wristband that you wear during your stay. Not only is this stretchy bracelet the only key you need for your lodge (smart-thinking, as it’s much easier to look after than a traditional key on a fob or a key card), it also operates the lockers at the pool and is totally waterproof.
I have to admit that my one-track, marketing brain had pondered a marketing conundrum last time we stayed at Centerparcs. They have a couple of ‘bars’ (not really my idea of a bar) within the swimming complex, offering drinks, ice-creams, inflatables etc. The vibe at the pool owes a lot to Club Tropicana, without the cocktails or, sadly, George Michael (sob).
What I wondered on our previous trip was how they could ever take much money at these bars. When, no matter how thirsty or desperate for an inflatable parrot you might be, you have left all your credit cards and money inside the lockers in the changing rooms.
This was obviously bugging Centerparcs too because, lo and behold, that smartypants doorkey/locker operating wristband has a third function. You can also charge it up with ‘loose change’ (‘only’ up to the teeny sum of £300!) so that you can buy drinks and other items using it like a contactless card. SUPER-smart thinking.
While my youngest son was busy hosing down other small children with the built-in water guns, my mind was working away on this and I realised it’s a great example of something small-business owners could do with prioritising too. There’s a critical ‘good marketing’ mantra that drives much innovation in retail: ‘make the sale as EASY as possible’.
Centerparcs knows that they’ll take more money if you don’t have to scrabble about for loose change (even taking the new waterproof fivers into account) in your swimming trunks. They’ve invested a huge amount of money into this theory and it is paying off. There were blow-up flamingos and Fruit Shoots a go-go. Obviously, the average small business isn’t going to be able to invest money on this scale, but there are things that you can do that make the sale easier.
- Display your prices.
Even if you genuinely HAVE to tailor-make a quote for every client you work with, make sure that there is at least a ‘starting from’ price on your website. Any confusion around your price will lead to the majority of prospects backing off. Confusion ends in a non-purchase so clarity on pricing is paramount.
- Get a card reader or invest in an online payment system.
If you have a low-priced product that you can sell at an event, such as a book or another piece of merchandise, invest in a mobile card reader so that you can take payment on the spot. Don’t rely on your customer having the cash on them at the right time.
- Have your invoice ready to go.
If you are still sending invoices to clients rather than taking online payments, have the invoices for your standard services set up and ready to go. The quicker you send the invoice the more likely it is to get paid. You want your prospect to receive it while they are still red-hot keen for you to work your magic.
So, the next time you pop to your local shop for a vital, forgotten ingredient or some urgently-needed painkillers (that Club Tropicana vibe has a lot to answer for), think about how easy it is to pay with contactless cards, remember the mantra, ‘make the sale as EASY as possible’, and work out how to apply it in your business.
Need help with figuring a plan for your marketing out? I can’t design a contactless payment system for you, but I can help you work out which marketing activities you should prioritise for the best return on investment. Book your free, no obligation marketing review here.