Party time

  14 July 2014

The best way to get the most from an asset is to use it as much as you can. In these times of extended opening hours, showrooms trade from early morning to early evening, day in, day out. But otherwise they are empty and silent; expensively lit, and at best merely showcasing your product range.

 But what if you could keep them busy, as close as is reasonable, to 24-7 use? Some US retailers have found a way. They provide space within the dealership for everything from business meetings to a kids’ party, for free. Tables and chairs are offered as part of the deal and it’s up to the event organisers to dress the location and provide catering and entertainment.

The retailers who have tried this tend to leave vehicles on display and so far report few problems with damage. And it’s up to the party-givers or event organisers to clean up after the fun’s been had. Retailers report that most are as good as their word. And if they’re not, showroom staff contacts for emergency cleaners, who’ll step in quickly and minimise downtime. The bill is, of course, passed to the organiser.

There’s no doubt that mixing business and pleasure in this way can help to sell cars. The outcome is anything from warm feelings towards the retailer and the brand for being such good sports in hosting an event, to next-day sales coming from guests who sight a particular model and fall in love.

And the very fact that the showroom is busy at night can potentially spark interest from passers-by. Drawbacks? There are, of course, staff costs: you’ll need someone to handle bookings and also to be on hand during the event. Obtaining additional insurances could be a potential hurdle, while parking also requires careful advance planning if the event is likely to draw a crowd.

But we can see how the idea could catch on, bringing with it bonus sales for retailers and memorable occasions for car fans. Food for thought?

Ray Castle

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