This is a guest post written by Nate Jaehnig. Nate is the owner of AZ Bounce Pro in Arizona, which rents inflatables for school carnivals in his local area. With his experience in this field, Nate has become very knowledgeable about how many people can actually participate on individual inflatable per hour and how this effects your overall carnival income. Not all “bouncy castles” have the same earning potential, so read carefully to make sure you are making wise financial decisions. – Jim Berigan
The primary goal of almost every school carnival or fundraiser event is to raise money for a specific cause or organization. Many carnival organizers do not realize one of the best and most effective ways to raise the most amount of money at a school carnival is by maximizing throughput at each ride or activity at their carnival.
What is ride throughput? Throughput is a simple measurement of the number of participants a certain ride, game, or activity can register per unit of time. Throughput is typically measured as a number of participants per hour. It is the single factor that can have the greatest impact on the profitability of a fundraiser or carnival.
You want throughput to be a high number in order to maximize profitability. A high throughput also results in shorter and faster lines at each activity!
When you are assessing which rides or activities to have at your school carnival, throughput should be at the top of your list when evaluating your ride choices. How many participants can you register per hour on any particular piece? Should you go for the inflatable slide or the sumo suits? Throughput will be your guide when you need to make decisions about which activities you want at your event.
There are three things that affect throughput. Participants per play, transition time, and play time are the three factors that affect the throughput number. Participants per play is the number of people per round that can participate on the ride or attraction. Transition time is the amount of time between rounds at the activity. Play time is how long the ride or attraction lasts per play.
Let’s see how throughput affects carnival profitability by looking at the example of sumo suits and an inflatable slide at a school carnival.
Sumo suits are a popular item amongst older kids at carnivals. It involves two people suiting up in large, over-sized suits and battling each other in a sumo ring. The participant who knocks the other out of the sumo ring wins the game. Let’s examine the throughput of this ride:
-Participants per play: 2 (one in each suit)
-Transition Time: 3 minutes (prior participant un-suits, next participant suits up)
-Play Time: 5 minutes
-Total Time: 8 minutes
Inflatable slides are staples at any carnival. The premise is simple, you climb up the slide and slide down the slide. Let’s examine the throughput of an inflatable slide:
-Participants per play: 1 (this would be 2 for a double slide, 3 for a triple slide, etc.)
-Transition Time: 0 minutes (there is no “suiting up” necessary)
-Play Time: 1 minute
-Total Time: 1 minute
Let’s calculate the throughput for each attraction by using the following formulas:
1. First find the Plays per Hour
(60 minutes) / (Transition Time + Play Time) = Plays per Hour
2. Next find the Throughput
(Plays per Hour) x (Participants per Play) = Throughput
The sumo suit throughput is calculated at 15. The inflatable slide throughput is calculated at 60.
This means that you can get 15 participants through the sumo suit attraction per hour versus 60 participants per hour on the inflatable slide. This shows you that the inflatable slide has a four times greater throughput than the sumo suits! Four times as many people can ride the slide in an hour than the sumo. This makes a big difference in profitability.
How does Throughput Affect Carnival Profitability?
You charge carnival attendees per ride. The more rides that you get during your carnival time frame, the more profit you make. This formula is quite simple! The higher your throughput, the more money you can make on the ride, game, or attraction!
Therefore if the sumo suits have a throughput of 15, and the slide has a throughput of 60, you will need to charge four times as much for a sumo play than a slide play. This will allow you to break even with the slide. Will your guests pay four times as much to do the sumo as opposed to the inflatable slide? If they will not, you will make less profit with the sumo than the slide.
Remember, profitability should guide your decision making and planning for your school carnival. Don’t forget the formula for throughput is a major determinant of running a highly profitable and successful carnival or fundraiser.