Here are Virtul Business Challenge (VBC) hints for the 2017/18 Virtual Business Challenge. (We’ll be adding VBC Fashion hints on Thursday, October 26)
Pricing, staffing, marketing and layout have remained the same since the beginning of simulation time.
Each screen repair service requires one part (a screen). No other services require parts. Parts are not discarded in normal business.
There should be no bartering, such as receiving goods as payment.
Checks marked Wages should include net pay and withholding.
Only legitimate business expenses should be withdrawn from the bank, by check.
You may run the simulation forward, but in most cases, you do not need to in order to spot the forensic accounting issues.
The store floor has been laid out for you, but it is not necessarily the ideal floor layout. Remember, you control traffic flow with the way you position your products in your store.
The Customer Vision tool is an extremely helpful merchandising tool. (Please refer to the Merchandising section of the Tutorial for an explanation of this tool.)
The Product Info report lists the primary purchase types of the products you carry in your store (need, impulse or complement)
When you open the competition file, you have workers staffed at the various positions. You may not have enough workers staffed during certain shifts. Observe your store to see when the busier and slower customer traffic times are throughout the day and staff your store accordingly.
Some customers may not purchase certain products without the assistance of a salesperson.
Stockers replenish the goods on the shelves. Customers will not purchase what they cannot find.
When you open the file, you don’t have any security set up for your store. Keep an eye on your inventory report so that you may monitor shrinkage. Utilizing the security options for your store that are available to you can help decrease shrinkage.
When you open the file, no advertising options have been selected. Billboard, radio, email and newspaper circular advertising can help increase awareness of your store.
When purchasing email lists, you may purchase lists that target different demographics. Utilize the Market Research option to determine which demographic is primarily shopping at your store.
When you open the competition file, there are no artists booked to perform concerts at your stadium. Use the Book New Event option under the Actions menu to schedule concerts at your venue. Do your research before booking an artist. Genre is very important.
The Market Research option is available to you. Use this to help determine the music preference of the people living near your stadium.
You have no social media ads scheduled when you open the competition file. Social media ads can help increase the attendance at your home games and the concerts that are scheduled to take place at your stadium. Choosing your audience when booking ads can help you target specific groups, and make the most of your advertising spending.
When you create a social media ad, you will fill in your team name as well as your opponent’s name under the area marked “Headline.” Your team name is the name you choose and will type in upon opening the competition file.
When setting your ticket prices, keep in mind the better the seat, the more customers are willing to pay for a ticket. Consider using a tier level pricing methodology when setting your prices.
When you open the simulation file, you won’t have any concession stands open, no employees scheduled to work at stands and no pricing or purchasing levels will be set. Concessions revenue can help increase your profit for each event hosted at your stadium.
Take a look at your event report to view your estimated attendance for your upcoming events. This information will be helpful when setting up your concessions.
You can help boost revenue for your franchise by selling sponsorships to the local businesses. You may include more than one item in your sponsorship offers.
Click on the taller buildings in the city to see what their advertising budgets are. Bigger budgets often mean you will be more likely to sell more expensive sponsorship items to the companies.
Your stadium seats 19,008 fans.
Overstaffing can lead to unnecessary expenses. Understaffing can lead to expensive fines, bottlenecks and lost profits. Monitor your ticket sales under the Event report to assist you in determining your staffing needs.
Monitor the customer comments on your Event reports to assist you with determining satellite and main lot pricing. Keep in mind you won’t be able to make everyone happy.
When you open the competition file, you have a poor kitchen layout. You may want to reorganize your kitchen to increase efficiency. A good kitchen layout will prevent your staff from running into one another.
You have access to Menu Flyers. This feature can help increase the awareness of your restaurant and potentially increase the number of people dining at your restaurant. You can monitor the cost of the mailings before approving it.
Take a look at the location of your restaurant within the City view of the simulation. This will help you determine which area of the city to target would be most beneficial for any mailings that you may choose to do.
When you open the competition file, you do have workers staffed, but you may have too many workers staffed for certain positions/days and not enough staffed on others.
Use the Week-Part Sales report within the simulation to help monitor the customer traffic during the week which will then help you to determine your staffing needs.
Different demographics usually prefer to eat out on certain nights during the week. Determine which demographic primarily dines at your restaurant. This will help you with your scheduling.
The Gazats Ratings and Comments reports will help you monitor how you are doing with your staffing levels. Keep an eye on your Service ratings under the Gazats report and be sure to read the comments your staff and customers may be making on the Comments report.
Use the New Survey action to help research what types of entrees the demographics in your city prefer to order when they dine out. The segmenting feature on the survey screen will help you do this. This information will be important when determining which entrees and beverages to include on your menu.
You may not only determine what to include or exclude on your menu, you may also determine the order of the entrees on your menu. Use your Product/Menu Mix report found under the Reports menu to assist in determining the order of your entrees.
Don’t forget to set the prices of your menu items!
Once you determine which items to place on your menu, be sure to purchase the ingredients necessary to make those entrees.
If you remove items from your menu and add new entrée choices, be sure to set purchasing levels for the new items that you add.
You should address stock-outs prior to addressing waste when working on your purchasing levels.
Keep in mind that you purchase ingredients for two different parts of the week. Monitor your Week-Part Sales report found under the Reports menu to assist you in determining which purchasing levels should be higher.
Reconfiguring your dining layout may allow you to seat guests faster. Keep an eye on the “Waiting List” which will appear as you mouse over the host station.
DECA Hotel Challenge
Your sim will run most quickly when you are viewing only the ground floor. Slide the vertical slider to Ground to see only the ground floor.
When you open the competition file, you have a few reservations already sold for January, but your pricing and staffing is definitely not optimal. You need to make changes right away. Your Revenue Management screen found under the Actions menu will show you your current room rates and the room rates your competitor is charging for the same dates.
Demand for rooms will vary by day of week. You should consider this in your pricing.
Keep in mind that you have two types of rooms to price: General Rooms and Junior Suites.
There are special events that will occur during the month. These will attract lots of potential guests. See the calendar under Front Desk on the Actions menu. Consider utilizing “Room Restrictions” and adjusting your room rates to capitalize on these events.
You can have a maximum of 3 Front Desk workers on shift at the same time.
Use the Housekeeping screen to monitor your daily schedule of rooms that need to be cleaned or tidied. This will help you to determine in advance how many housekeepers need to be scheduled on particular days.
If a guest is checking out on a particular day, the housekeepers will not start cleaning that room that day until the guest has checked out.
If a guest is staying another night, the housekeepers will not start tidying that room until the guest is out of the room.
When you open the competition file, you have no group sales booked. Group sales can account for a significant portion of room sales for your hotel. Use the “Rooms Left” column on the Revenue Management screen to determine if you have enough space to accommodate the group sales requests that are currently available. Your hotel has 190 rooms (20 suites and 170 general rooms).
When bidding on group sales, keep in mind that groups will expect a discount from your normal room rate as they are bringing a larger volume of guests to your hotel.
Corporate groups may be willing to pay a slightly higher rate than groups coming for a leisure-related reason.
With groups wanting meetings our banquets, you also need to check whether you have meeting and banquet rooms available. Go to the Banquets/Meetings screen to look at the list of upcoming events.
Hotels often offer meeting space for free with rooms and banquets.
The food cost per banquet meal is approximately $10 per person. In order to make a profit, you will want to charge more than this per person for banquets.
For banquets, you need to staff banquet cooks and banquet servers. For meetings, you will just need to schedule banquet servers to set up the room.
Keep in mind that you will need banquet staff scheduled prior to when guests will arrive for meetings and banquets in order to prepare the room and/or the food.
You aren’t advertising your hotel or doing any PR upon opening the competition file. Advertising can help increase awareness for your hotel, and the number of guests who book reservations. Opting to do some PR can help boost your CSS and ESS scores.
The Market Data Report is a great resource when choosing the menu items for the dinner menu for your restaurant.
VBC Personal Finance
When you open the competition file, your person lives in an apartment and has $5,000. You don’t have any banking or credit card accounts. Your goal is to increase your person’s net worth as much as possible while managing his life for four simulated years.
Use the name “John” when you apply for a job.
If you apply for a job or decide to take a class, you will have to choose your mode of transportation to get to work or class. You will be able to walk, take the bus or drive your car (if you purchase one). Consult your schedule to see how long your commute will take using each of these options.
Some jobs require work experience and/or education. Check your resume which is found under the Reports menu. You are starting off with some education and work experience. If you don’t wish to apply for the jobs you are qualified for, you are always free to take additional courses in order to become qualified.
Your apartment is not furnished. If you shop for certain goods, you may be able to decrease the time you have to spend on certain activities in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t forget to pay your bills and taxes! Your bills will appear on your desk in your person’s apartment. You will be able to access your tax information on January 1.
Don’t forget to set up your daily schedule. Review the Tutorial if you need help doing this. In order to keep your person alive, you must allocate enough time to sleeping, eating, relaxing and exercising. You must find a way to include these activities within your schedule in addition to working and taking classes (if you choose to enroll in courses/degree programs).