Q. How do you capitalize on the Thanksgiving to New Year Holiday period?
Ed Arrighi, American Shooting Centers, Houston, Texas
A. Before addressing how we at American Shooting Centers located in Houston, Texas, capitalize upon the Thanksgiving to New Year period, it is first necessary to understand a little about our facility because we are somewhat unique. First, our name is plural. That does not mean that we own multiple facilities. What it represents is our 563-acre facility being laid out in such a way that we have three separate “Centers” of operation spread out over about a mile. Our Rifle/Pistol operations are in the center of the property; our Retail and Corporate Sporting Clays courses (five in total) are on our west side; and our Trap/Skeet/5-Stand complex is on our eastern side. Each center has its own Pro Shop with the supplies and accessories needed for its activities. Though each center has slightly different requirements in order to best service our guests, we use a number of similar seasonal enhancements to maximize our guest experience during the holiday period.
First, since the holiday season coincides with our hunting seasons, which are a big deal in Texas, we extend our hours of operation to include a seven-day week at our Rifle/Pistol ranges. Our pistol, 50-yard rifle and 100-yard rifle ranges are all lighted, so we can maintain our 7p.m. closing times even though it gets dark around 5:30 during the holidays.
Secondly, all our Pro Shops will have various Christmas decorations and maybe even some holiday music or videos playing.
From a marketing standpoint, we really push our Gift Card program, both onsite in all our Pro Shops and Corporate Centers, on our website (www.americanshootingcenters.com) and through social media (Facebook). We also offer Gift Cards for clay targets and are very successful selling rounds of 50 or 100 at our Sporting Clays Pro Shop and “Tokens” (our form of money) at our Trap & Skeet Pro Shop. Probably the majority of our Gift Card sales are simply the card itself, which allows the recipient to choose their own gift.
In terms of merchandise, we will have in stock lots of $25 to $100 items that most shooters would like to receive. This merchandising process for us begins months ahead of time, in the summer, when we determine what new items we feel will be successful and then allow for the ordering lead time to make sure we have them when we need them.
Lastly, we make sure our staff is reminded to make an extra-special effort to offer holiday pleasantries to our guests.
Ariana Hix, The Range 702, Las Vegas, Nevada
A. ‘Tis the season for family, friends, charities and giving to those less fortunate than us. It is also the season for all things with the words “party,” “cocktails” and “special events” in them. During the holidays we all love to be invited to participate in special occasions, charity events and corporate parties where we can get all dressed up and have a great time with family, friends, business partners and coworkers. During the holiday season we have to be able to find that nice combination of social gathering and giving to charities that are near and dear to our hearts. No one understands this more than us at The Range 702.
It is not a matter of how we can capitalize on the holiday season, but that we maximize the options and availability to those looking for something new and exciting and not your everyday event venue. We can accommodate anything from charity events to corporate holiday parties. It makes giving a lot easier when you can “shoot out cancer” in a friendly competition. The Range 702 helps create the gathering of a lifetime. Our facility has the maximum occupancy of more than 600. We offer full facility buyouts, and our VIP Suite can be rented out on its own accommodating 40 people comfortably. We offer many catering options from light snacks to full meals. We also offer alcoholic beverages of beer and wine or full bar service through a third-party vendor with the understanding that you shoot first and drink later. If it is a competition our customers are looking for, we also do custom targets for the charity or company that is the highlight of the event. We offer machine gun options from two firearms to a 13-firearm experience, or customizable packages are available upon request. The Range 702 is not only a premier venue, but we are also a one-stop shop for all of our customers’ gift-giving needs, from a full retail sales department to the gift of education and training. The Range 702 offers classes to meet everyone’s needs both for men and women.