When Should You Add An Idle Hour To Your Rental?

Idle Hour

While it may not be as flashy or glamorous as our stunning premium sequin backdrops, an Idle Hour is the most popular Awesome Extra our customers add to their photo booth experience.

In fact, we are frequently asked by our customers whether or not they should add idle time to their rental. And it’s a valid question – we want our customers to create as many fun photos and awesome prints as possible during their photo booth’s operational window!

So, let’s discuss if – and when – an idle hour is right for your event.

 

WHAT IS AN IDLE HOUR?

In the simplest of terms, an Idle Hour temporarily suspends the operation of your selected photo booth experience for up to one hour.

Why temporarily suspend the operation of your photo booth? Because operational time is expensive!

To us, it just doesn’t make sense to waste valuable photo booth time during a portion of your event that requires the full attention of your guests. That is why we encourage our clients to consider adding some idle time to their rental if we foresee a period of their event where booth participation will be low.

 

DO I NEED TO ADD AN IDLE HOUR?

It depends! We typically recommend an idle hour for formal dinner hours – such as a plated dinner or buffet line at a wedding reception, gala, or corporate holiday party – as participation at the photo booth will likely be minimal, at best. However, if your event’s meal is more casual with a “eat at your own leisure” approach, an idle hour isn’t necessary as guests will still use the photo booth during the meal period.

Another time we recommend an Idle Hour is during toasts or speeches, especially if your itinerary has them scheduled for longer than 15 minutes. At a previous wedding reception we attended, the toasts went on for much longer than scheduled – one hour, instead of fifteen minutes – which meant the operational time for the photo booth ended when the toasts did!

That’s no good!

And unfortunately, the customer had to pay for an hour of overtime, which is significantly more expensive than pre-booking one Idle Hour.

 

CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW AN IDLE HOUR MIGHT BE USED?

Sure! Let’s look at how an Idle Hour might be used at a wedding first, then look at other examples for events of all types.

THE WEDDING CEREMONY EXAMPLE
A customer has booked The Photo Booth to start operation when the Cocktail Hour begins at 5:30 PM. By the terms of our contract, we would arrive at 4:30 PM to set up. However, the ceremony is at 5:00 PM, with guests invited to begin arriving after 4:30 PM. Unfortunately, the ceremony is not secluded, so our setup process could be a possible distraction.

Our Solution: Add an Idle Hour before the start time of 5:30 PM for early setup. The host would now arrive at 3:30 PM and have the booth set when guests start to arrive, and operational the moment the ceremony ends and Cocktail Hour begins.

Timeline:
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM – Setup (Photo Booth Host Arrives & Begins Set Up)
4:30 PM – Guests Arrive (Photo Booth Idle Hour Begins)
5:00 PM – Ceremony Begins (Photo Booth Still Idle)
5:30 PM – Ceremony Ends; Cocktail Hour Begins (Photo Booth Opens)

 

THE DINNER & SPEECHES EXAMPLE
In this example, a customer is hosting a five-hour event and wants The Glam Booth on-site from event start (6:00 PM) until event end (11:00 PM). By the terms of our contract, we would arrive at 5:00 PM to set up The Glam Booth and typically, this event would require a booking of five operational hours. However, with a dinner buffet starting at 7:00 PM, and with approximately 30 minutes of speeches to follow at 8:00 PM, they are concerned about how many guests would use the booth from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.

Our Solution: From our experience of attending thousands of events, this customer only needs four operational hours and one idle hour, split into two 30-minute sections. Unless the dinner format is a plated meal with multiple courses, most guests tend to finish their meal within 20-30 minutes of receiving it. Thus, the ideal timeline would be as such:

Timeline:
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Setup (Glam Booth Host Arrives & Begins Set Up)
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM – Cocktail Hour (Glam Booth Operational)
7:00 PM – 7:30 PM – Dinner Begins (Glam Booth Idle)
7:30 – 8:00 PM – Dinner Concludes (Glam Booth Operational)
8:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Speeches (Glam Booth Idle)
8:30 PM – 11:00 PM – Dancing & Celebration (Glam Booth Operational)

 

THE DANCE PARTY EXAMPLE
In this example, a customer is hosting a six-hour event starting at 5:00 PM. The main portion of their event will be held inside, but the Cocktail Hour will be just outside their venue on the outdoor patio. A multiple-course dinner is scheduled from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, and speeches are planned from 7:30 PM until 8:00 PM. The customer wants The Mirror Booth to be operational from 8:00 PM until 11:00 PM. By the terms of our contract, we would arrive at 7:00 PM to set up The Mirror Booth. However, this would be a possible distraction during dinner and definitely during the speeches.

Our Solution: In this situation, the client can book two or three idle hours. Because the Cocktail Hour is outside, we would recommend two idle hours, as setup can take place inside the venue while the guests are outside on the patio.

Timeline:
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Cocktail Hour (Mirror Booth Host Arrives & Begins Set Up)
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM – Dinner (Mirror Booth Idle)
7:30 PM – 8:00 PM – Speeches (Mirror Booth Idle)
8:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Dancing & Celebration (Mirror Booth Operational)

 

So there are three timliunes for the most popular scenarios our customers have when scheduling their booth for their event. However…

 

I HAVE A UNIQUE SITUATION THAT ISN’T ADDRESSED ABOVE. CAN YOU HELP ME DETERMINE IF I NEED IDLE TIME AND HOW TO SCHEDULE IT?

That’s understandable, as the timelines above describe the most common scenarios we see. So, of course, please do reach out – we love to help our customers! Please give your event manager a call or email and they’ll be happy to solve any problematic scenario you may have!

 

– – –

Thank you for reading our guide to utilizing Idle Hours – we hope you found it informative and helpful. If you have any feedback – or you would like to ask us any questions! – please send us an email at Hello@PSPBC.com

Originally Published: January 18, 2023
Last Updated: January 18, 2023

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Ready To Bring Photo Awesome?

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@PSPBC  |  #PSPBC

Ready To Bring Photo Awesome?

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