Canadian Rental Service

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Editorial: Doing good is the bottom line

In the party rental business, birthday parties and other children’s events can provide a steady stream of revenue, even in the quiet seasons.


March 2, 2011
By Scott Jamieson

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In the party rental business, birthday parties and other children’s events can provide a steady stream of revenue, even in the quiet seasons. Of course, they’re also a lot of fun for all involved. Or are they?

Perhaps less so for a child with special needs. Too often, these children don’t even receive an invitation, because of accessibility and accommodation issues, or simply because of people’s own hang-ups. Many of the more common birthday activities don’t really take special needs into consideration, especially those activities coming from your rental inventory. What does the average bouncing castle hold for a child in a wheelchair?

That’s where TIIF comes in. Short for Total Inclusion in Fun, TIIF is the brainchild of a party rental company called Mr. Giggles Bouncing Castles, which has three locations in the southern United States.

The idea behind TIIF is that birthdays and children’s events should be fun for all children.

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The TIIF program rolled out by Mr. Giggles Bouncing Castles calls for accessibility for special needs children in every type of fun activity. Total Inclusion in Fun has even shaped the way the company builds its inventory of inflatables. According to Phillip Lee, the company’s east coast regional marketing director, the company strives to make sure that children with special needs can use the units.

Obviously, this is important for kids with mobility challenges. Yet, the company has taken a step beyond the obvious. For example, it strives to make sure the interiors of its castles are also inviting for children with autism. Mr. Giggles Bouncing Castles offers inflatable castles that include open fronts, inflated ramp entrances, open roof tops, and fully inflated wall enclosures.

Lee adds that getting every child involved in birthday party activities is the company’s number 1 goal, even above profits. “Our goal is to have a child who faced either a behaviour or mobility challenge to look back on one of the happiest moments of their lives, a moment that took place in one of our
party castles.”

This is great feel-good stuff, but what about the bottom line? This is where public service meets client satfisfacton, and it goes beyond just clients with special needs children of their own.

“Our message of Total Inclusion in Fun has really caught on with both parents and our franchise partners,” says Lee. “When your child is invited to a birthday party that features one of our castles, you will experience a party environment that encompasses every child attending that event. Gone are the days when a child confined to a wheelchair had to sit on the side and watch the other children play.”

Fun is contagious. Adopt a strategy similar to that of Mr. Giggles Bouncing Castles and word will spread. If you truly embrace the concept, market it, and stand behind it, new business will follow.

Other parents will want to make sure all of their children’s friends can join in the fun too, and they’ll come to you for the tools and expertise to make it happen. You will have helped include children in a communal ritual and increased revenue in the bargain. I don’t see a downside.

Scott Jamieson is the editorial director of Annex Publishing & Printing, publishers of Canadian Rental Service and 35 other business-to-business magazines and websites.

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