Monday, April 6, 2015

8 tips to make communion season a success for your business.

As a continuation to our communion season series of blogs, our guest contributors Luc Bertrand, WAW Balloons, Belgium, Tania Torre, Balloon Express Shop, Terme Vigliatore, Italy, Vanessa Moscardini, Balloon Express Shop, Firenze, Italy and Anne Cahill McGovern, Elegant Balloons, Pearl River, New York, USA share some top tips that will help you to make the communion season a success for your business.

Communion Cross design by Tope Abulude 

Make sure to market well

Design by Anne Cahill McGovern CBA
Anne: We market to "mom's groups” on Facebook, 
local parenting groups on 
Facebook, and local business pages and town pages on Facebook.  On Fridays, we list in about 10 different sites and this has been very successful for the communion bookings. (We also do this for graduations).

We visit our local Catholic churches with "communion" postcards and photos of our work with a "special coupon" the churches will hand these out to the CCD classes (religious education) as long as we are offering something special for them.

Keep it simple

Luc: No fiddling please, we just cannot afford to spend the time on doing that. Simple, clean designs are the way to go… yep, not ashamed to say: we do 3 balloon pieces on a 3 balloon base as well. “How many did you want of them? 5, 10, 15, 20 or more? You just wanted a bunch of helium inflated 11” and decorate yourself? Yep, we can do that.”
Sell easily-transportable designs 
Luc: As we have many clients and we want to help them all, we only go for transportable decor. Anything that folds together or bagged will be sold. Three foot balloons will never be inflated larger than 72 cm (28”) as they might not fit in a car anymore. Transportable decor might even be as big as a Quick Link Arch. A 13’’ helium filled QL Arch made with a base and clusters in between the QL can easily be folded and transported in the big transport bags we have in the European catalog. 

Up to 50 helium filled 11” balloons fit in a VW golf. Five minutes to treat 50 with ultra HI-float, 6 minutes to inflate, 90 seconds to curl the customer please!

Sell cash and carry 
Anne: We try to have different decor available for "cash and carry" and the lower budgets. 
Designs by Luc Bertrand CBA

Luc: Once all the orders are ready in the morning and we open the doors of our shop: grand parents, friends, and family members line up for the balloon-gift they want to buy for the celebrated kid. Oh and not to forget, the parents that totally "forgot” the balloons they wanted to order for the party in the afternoon. Or the ones that say: “We did not want to go for balloons, but the kid was so upset once he found out… Can you please still make something?”

Show the designs that you want to sell 

Design by Tania Torre CBA
Tania: Usually I recommend one or more compositions to decorate homes, bouquets of balloons or bubbles for the restaurant and a more important delivery for the table of bonbonnières.
 In my experience, if the client sees the design in the shop, he will choose it more easily. So my advice is to show always in the shop the bestseller designs for the event of the moment, in three different sizes: small, medium, and big in order to offer to the customer the solution that best fits their budget.

 photo 6129abe3-270e-4801-9a69-216035773f5d_zpsqwkkhb13.jpg
Design by Anne Cahill McGovern CBA

Anne: Photos are so important for booking communions. Once a client sees an angel or a cross they normally are hooked and upgrade their booking.  We normally have at least 1 angel per booking. I have seen a trend that clients are wanting nicer decor for communions.

Offer a variety of sizes to allow for customers varied budgets
Vanessa: Normally we recommend hot air balloons, bouquet for centerpieces or arches, and sometimes columns and characters.

I recommend suggesting a composition for each ten guest attending, two columns, a character, and a hot air balloon with communion favours inside the basket.
Design by Tania Torre CBA

Anne: Over the past 7 years I have seen a trend with clients wanting more than 3 balloons on a weight and shifting away from just "religious" balloons.  
A great marketing tool to show clients a range of design ideas for communion. 

Get organized!
Luc: When an order is processed, we gather the required balloons in strong large envelopes. Write the customer’s name with the pickup date on these, and store in order of the dates. A mark on the order will tell us if complete or the missing balloons will be noted and ordered. When we prepare the orders, the paper will get a fluo green mark,….if fluo red?…it was not yet paid in full.

If ordered ahead, it is written down and a double on a yellow colored page is handed to the client. We tell them to wave the paper if they see customers in front of them waiting in line. Obviously we serve them first… And hear people mumble "next time we will order in advance” (hurray)!! 
Anne: We hire extra staff during this season.

Use air-filled designs and Deco Bubble Balloons 

Luc: Of course we will try to sell air-filled pieces as they can be made in the days ahead.
 photo 01649087-c3c1-47f8-9910-253536732694_zps38891168.jpg
Design by Anne Cahill McGovern CBA
Anne: There really is a very limited choice of foil balloons - although Qualatex® has a beautiful diamond shape foil and some awesome religious latex which is our biggest seller.   
We use 'A LOT' of bubbles because of how long they last and how great they look. We try to keep things simple but nice because we get so busy. We really push the bubbles since they last and are easy to deliver. Most people buy at least 1 impact piece - either a framed cross, an angel, or glitter cross pedestal.

*Please note that not all the communion balloons are available in all countries. To find out which balloons are available in your country check with your local Qualatex distributor or check the latest Qualatex Catalogue. Click HERE to look at an on-line version.

For those of you who are just about to start the Communion season I wish you every success! I would also like to say a huge thank you to Luc, Tania, Vanessa, and Anne who have all very generously shared some of their own experiences on how they prepare for this very busy period along with some great advice and business tips! 

Happy ballooning!



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