Identifying the right child care solution is one of the biggest decisions for a working parent—and it requires a lot of research and needs to be experienced firsthand in order to have peace of mind.
That’s why the early education and child care franchise Lightbridge Academy offers quarterly Open Houses. During these Open House Weeks, families are invited to visit any of Lightbridge Academy’s 41 franchise locations to meet the center staff, tour the facility and learn about the educational programing and what makes the brand so special as The Solution for Working Parents®. The brand also offers a special incentive to enroll during the Open House period which most recently enabled new families to receive up to “One Free Week”.
“The decision making process for child care is dramatically different than choosing a restaurant for dinner that night—it could take up to six months. It is as much an emotional decision as it is about the quality of the educational programs and services. We know the importance of trust and even a parent’s gut feeling about who is caring for their child,” said Royce Stozki, Brand Advertising Manager for Lightbridge Academy. adding that the brand offers flexible Open House hours to demonstrate its dedication to busy working families. “That is why we work hard to accommodate and support the schedules of busy working parents. Sometimes a spouse can’t make the initial tour, or grandparents involved in the final decision want to take a tour too. We continue to nurture the relationship even after the initial tour to help them along their journey.”
Working together as a brand, all Lightbridge Academy centers conduct their Open Houses and associated advertising campaigns at the same time. This consistency in execution helps to generate awareness while they are also working on the local level to generate buzz and referrals across all centers. The power of the Lightbridge Academy brand is leveraged and results in increased enrollment.
“It’s a great chance to get to know local families and form relationships, whether they enroll or not,” said Vishal Ajwani, a franchisee in Fanwood, New Jersey. “Sometimes, it is just a matter of timing. We have a lot of families that come in and enroll that day, and many that come back later to enroll.”
Stozki said that Open House Week always draws in new and returning prospective parents. “Our franchisee owners look forward to Open House Week, it helps to focus their enrollment efforts. Lightbridge Academy is a value based service and therefore, we do not offer many discounts. Open House is an exception and provides an opportunity to help new families transition into child care and make the commitment to move forward.”
Enrolled families also receive a “thank you” bonus every time they refer a new family. It is just another way Lightbridge Academy helps to build their community of families. “Nothing is more valuable than a referral from a Lightbridge Academy parent and we believe it is important to show our appreciation.” explained Stozki.
As a component of its best-in-class franchisee marketing training and ongoing support systems, Lightbridge Academy provides owners with everything they need to host successful Open Houses. From checklists to detailed advertising plans, the brand utilizes a combination of hyper local direct mailers supported by an array of digital advertising, such as targeted display ads, pay per click and social media advertising.
“Each center also has its own webpage and Facebook page,” said Stozki. “We encourage franchisees to use them to post the flyers and share what is happening inside their center outside their four walls.”
“Lightbridge has great guidance, and a great process in place, and they execute it well,” said Ajwani.
Lightbridge Academy strategically plans Open House Weeks based on seasonal enrollment trends. The brand sees an increase in younger child enrollment in January, as caretakers like grandparents are no longer able to take the children outdoors to play and they seek more socialization. Lightbridge begins raising awareness about summer camp during the January Open House, and the team reinforces it throughout the April Open House when pre-K is a primary focus. August is a chance for parents to enroll their young children for the upcoming school year. And October is a second-chance enrollment month for families who haven’t found the right fit yet.
While tours and information are readily available for families anytime outside of quarterly Open House Weeks, parents love the low-pressure, relaxed atmosphere of Open House. Many centers go a step further by to host family-friendly events after-hours or on the weekend, to enable Lightbridge families to meet new families and share their experiences.
“We try to create really fun events,” said Ajwani. “On a Saturday, we host an Open House, provide tours and every classroom has a different activity going on, like gymnastics, sports, face painting, arts and crafts, tech demos and yoga.”
“My own children are enrolled in Lightbridge Academy, so we went to the January Open House and crafted our own snowmen,” said Stozki. “In August, some owners hosted Splash Playdate on the playground with their built-in fountain sprinklers. The events offer a more casual setting for parents to gather information and get comfortable with their decision to make Lightbridge Academy part of their extended family.”
The startup cost for a Lightbridge Academy franchise ranges from $549,228 to $767,635, including a franchise fee of $40,000. To learn more about franchising with Lightbridge Academy, visit https://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/