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Seasonal mobile tap tips

For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, our event’s season is heating up, but for those mobile bars in the Southern hemisphere, winter is coming, and with it, a transition out of high events season.

Wherever you’re located, chances are, your mobile bar has a high season and a low season. If you’re one of the few mobile bars that are located in a location suitable for events year-round, this article may still have some tips for you, but the content is mainly geared towards the vast majority of us who are hustling hard part of the year, and chasing business the other part of the year.

My bar is based in Cairns, Australia.  We have 2 seasons- hot, and hot and wet.  Surprisingly, no one is ready to brave a summer wedding in Cairns.  If the wedding isn’t rained off due to tropical storms, it is equally likely to be called off due to cyclones as it is to be called off due to excessive heat-it’s hard to win in a Cairns summer.  By comparison, Winter is wall to wall blue skies, and 27-degree c days, so it is fair to say our work is definitely seasonal.

While we look forward to a break during our ‘off season’, when we first started up I was always looking for ways to keep that bank account rolling during our quiet times.  Some of these will not immediately see the $$$ creeping in but are slow burners and are so worth it over time.

Consider doing some charity events.

We commit to at least 2 free of charge events per year, either charity or community events (and usually dry hire) every year.  These are great for publicity and as such we’ve been featured on the local news and in the paper frequently for free.  Who doesn’t love a bit of free advertising?  But be warned, once you start doing these the requests will keep flying in (see the MB.P resource on Donation Requests!)

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Tap into your corporate market.

Our region is popular amongst the conferencing sector, and these guys often travel in the summer months.  We have found that they book only a couple of months out, so towards the end of our wedding season I start to talk to local events planners to see what they have on and where we could fit.  We usually pick up at least a handful of these, last minute every year.

Seek out local events that occur regularly in down season times.

Not usually our type of thing but local food events are a great source of out of season work.  From food truck festivals to markets and local winery/brewery open days, investigate what’s on in your local area and reach out to organisers.

Build that network.

I like to think of our quiet season as a time to work ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ it which often sees me making time for networking.  There are the obvious routes-meeting new wedding planners and touching base with other suppliers but I also like to network in the wider community.  We have a local Chamber of Commerce and Women’s Business Club (amongst many others!) which are a great place to meet some new people.

To quickly and efficiently build your local network, consider joining the MB.P membership site and enrolling in our “Building Your Local Network UpLevel Challenge!”

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Building Your Local Network – UpLevel Challenge

This 90-day challenge will have you completing a single micro-action each day, ultimately adding up to the single best thing you could do for your mobile bar’s lead generation funnel!

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Consider adding new offerings.

Another take on the working ‘on’ the business side could be using your free weekends to create something new for the market.  A new creation could even help your business move into a less seasonal market space.

Visits your local venues.

Our old truck is a big old rig and so venue visits are a must for us.  I like to use the quiet season to visit new venues in the area to see where we could fit with them.  There has been more than one occasion where one of these visits has led to a booking within the week so don’t discount reaching out to people!

A quiet word on discounting.  I have seen many mobile bars panic during the quiet season, offering huge discounts to try and entice people to book.  We do not do this.  I made a decision early on in business that I wouldn’t discount.  Not only does it devalue your product but it also upsets those who have booked at ‘full price’ leaving them feeling ripped off before they have even experienced your fantastic services.  Yes maybe we do lose business to other bars who offer a vastly discounted service but I feel we make up for it by working fewer events at a higher cost.  Everyone wants to work less hours for more money right? 

There are exceptions-for example, a 10% discount advertised at a wedding fair to attendees is a different story or a small discount to an easy-going repeat client who asked nicely.  I will leave you to decide where those exceptions lie for your business.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but these are tried and true methods we have used through our now 4 quiet seasons and help us keep rolling all year round.