Think You Can't Make Significant Money on Black Friday? Think Again: A Speed Session Preview

By Jenise Jensen | Posted on July 8, 2013

In this blog post, written by Jenise Jensen, Administrative Manager – Recreation, in the Town of Breckenridge, CO she shares a secret - Black Friday can be for park and recreation agencies and can bring your agency big bucks without breaking your budget! 


Speed-Session-Preview-Black-Friday-AIt began with a challenge.  We’d tried doing online sales in the past on Black Friday, with reasonable success.  We simply offered a 20 percent discount on anything available to purchase on our website, such as memberships or program registrations.  We’d done all the traditional marketing:  flyers in the facility, posting on our website, and running a few newspaper ads.  And we had racked in revenue in the $20,000 range - pretty good for additional revenue in one day during the holidays, right?

But this year, the Recreation Director gave us a challenge to do the promotion without any discounts. No discounts?  Isn’t that like salsa from New York?  

Whoa, back the horses up ……….how do we get people to part with their hard earned holiday shopping dollars without offering them a discount?  Everyone’s looking for “THE DEAL” over the Black Friday holiday shopping weekend, right?  After all, I’m not the only one standing in line in front of Target on Thanksgiving night, waiting for “THE DEAL” to begin.

But then we thought about it………a DEAL is different than a DISCOUNT.  A deal has perceived value, versus a numerical discount.  And that’s when the fun began.  After some group brainstorming (dare I say, brain-bashing) we hit upon the idea of a new pass product for the winter season.  Like many Recreation Centers, we have annual memberships, six-month memberships, monthly memberships and punch passes.  But a winter season pass, effective when purchased on Black Friday, until the end of the winter season (which locally is considered the last day that Breckenridge Ski Resort is open in April) is about a four and a half month time period.   We took the cost per week for a six month membership and calculated it for four and a half months to come up with the price point, and perhaps we rounded down by $10, but, drum roll please…….the Winter Season Pass was born.


Black Friday promotions aren't just for big stores - your agency can make some serious money too. During the Speed Sessions at the 2013 NRPA Congress you can find out how.


Now that we had a product, we created our marketing plan.  Gone were the days of the “look-what’s-new-in-the-recreation-department” black and white ad in the local newspaper.  Before you could say Yee-Haw, we had a weekly color comic series featuring aliens, radio ads (which included a new trial of Spanish radio), morning show appearances on local TV, and an out-of-this- world FREE “commercial” on the local government public TV station.  

Yes, there was a bit more to it, and to find out those details, plan to attend the “Want to Know How To Make $100k Online On Black Friday? Here’s How” speed session at the 2013 NRPA Congress and Exposition in Houston, Texas, from October 8-10, 2013.  Suffice it to say that in the last two years we have generated $97,000 and $129,000 with this promotion.

So come one, come all, bring your cowboy hat and spurs, and I’ll be seeing you in the great state of Texas for the NRPA Congress!

Don’t miss Jenise’s session in Houston on Wednesday, Oct. 9, starting at 9:30 a.m. Register now and we'll see you in Houston, where Great Ideas (like Black Friday deals for rec centers) Start! Join the conversation about Congress on social media by using the hashtag #NRPACongress on Facebook and Twitter! 


About Jenise Jensen:

 Jenise-Jensen-Speed-Session-Blog  Jenise provides administrative leadership and strategy in the management of the Town of Breckenridge Recreation Department, which includes over 200 employees.  She oversees department systems and processes, coordinates the Department’s $4.7 million annual operating budget;  oversees marketing strategy for recreation programs and facilities; and provides departmental human resources support . Jensen, a graduate of the Colorado Mountain College, is a member of the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and a member of the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), which awarded her team a 2012 Columbine Award for Innovation for Black Friday marketing.