Whether you’ve had a hard winter or just fancy opening up new revenue streams, you may be considering farm open days. This is an option which countless farmers across the country now make use of regularly. And, done right, it could well be the thing which takes your farm from good to great. The question is, how can you make sure every open day you host goes down well with your guests?
If you’re used to being alone with your animals and staff, the idea of opening up to the public can be daunting. What if they don’t understand your vision? What if they don’t have a good time? You may even convince yourself that you’ll never sell another product if people have a terrible day when they’re with you. And, in many ways, there is some truth to that. The impression you make here does matter, and it’s no good pretending otherwise. But, impressing with an open day is easier than you might expect. In truth, there’s a simple formula which pretty much guarantees you decent success here. But, what is it, and how can you implement it to your open days?
Appeal to the kids
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Always appealing to the kids is, by far, the best thing you can do on days like these. The majority of guests coming through your doors are going to be young families, after all. And, if those kiddies have a good time, you’re sure to win their parents around as well. So, whatever you do, do it with kids in mind. Think of activities every child will love, like tractor rides and lamb feeding. If you want to go all out with this, you could even read up on certain animal facts or study something like this Master of Education online to make the day educational as well as fun. The more expertise you can offer, after all, the more those families will be happy to pay for the privilege. If you want to keep things casual, even offering talks about the animals or practices you have on the farm could serve. You could even bring in volunteers who can provide things like face painting and hair braiding. As a general rule, the more variety you offer, the better the impression the day will leave on your guests as a whole. So, go all out and, if in doubt, ask your kids what they would enjoy most about an open day like this. They’re the pros when it comes to this subject, after all.
Make the animals the main event
Whatever you want from the day, it’s worth always making your animals the main event. That’s because these are the heart of your farm, and you can bet they’re what your guests really want to see. And, let’s be honest; it’s difficult not to have a good time when you’re in the company of cute creatures like these. By allowing your guests to get stuck in with lambs, rabbits, calves or horses, you can pretty much ensure success. Even better, the animals will do the hard work for you! They also bring plenty of added earning opportunities. You can charge for animals feeds, pony rides, rabbit holds, and all manner of other things. All of which will soon see your income from events like these rocketing. Bear in mind that you will need to consider health and safety here. If a rabbit bit a child, for example, the impact would soon have a ripple effect on your reputation. Make sure that you’re only choosing your calmest and most well-handled animals for this cause. Make sure, too, that you have trained staff on board overseeing any activities like these. If you’re offering pony rides, it’s also worth noting that you will need insurance. As long as you’re thinking about hosting a few open days a year, though, that’s an expense which will soon pay for itself.
Keep your prices reasonable
Speaking of prices, it’s worth keeping yours reasonable. Many farmers make the mistake of charging high prices for small open days. The trouble is that this will soon undo their efforts if their prices don’t match what they’re offering. Families certainly make a repeat visit. That then leaves the farmers out of pocket in the long-run. By comparison, keeping prices down ensures good value for money, and returning customers. By charging no more than £5 on the gate, and keeping activities to £1 or less each, you’re sure to see more money coming in. You may even find it beneficial to charge nothing for entry and just rely on income from activities. Remember that this day isn’t all about pulling in cash. It’s also about getting your name out there and building a reputation people can rely on. That’s something money can’t buy, and may find that you benefit far more here by keeping entry etc. down. At the very least, you should include free admission for kids to encourage as many families as possible.
Get stuck and speak with people
This day is all about your farm, so it makes sense that you also need to get stuck in and speak with your guests. You could probably run days like these with your staff, but that’s not the point. Remember the marketing aspect of these events. You want people to know and value your company name. Your best chance at making that happen is to put a face to the brand. It’s something companies do all the time with social media, and it could benefit your farm, too. If you speak to and make connections with guests, you pretty much guarantee customers for life. They’ll then be able to value you as a wholesome family brand which they go out of their way to support. And, the moment that starts happening, your open days have become as successful as you could hope. So, stop hiding away. Get out in the crowd, and don’t be afraid to approach people when the day gets underway.
*This is a collaborative post