The world of family entertainment options has rapidly expanded in the last 20 years; not only are there traditional Chuck-E-Cheese style arcade/restaurants designed for younger children, but zip lines, ropes courses, ninja gyms, adult-focused arcades, “eater-tainment” options like Top Golf, and rock climbing gyms. Family entertainment center components have also been rapidly adopted in the sports tourism world as attractions and activations at indoor and outdoor facilities alike.
During the planning and feasibility phase of facility development, it’s important to discuss with your advising team your desire to include a family entertainment center component. This is often a guest experience enhancement that is also an auxiliary revenue generator making it a “win-win”. However, the success of this business segment depends heavily on execution during the planning and procurement phase in construction.
Here are a few common sense tips to ensure the family entertainment center component of your travel sports facility or recreation center lives up to its potential.
Determine your audience.
Who is your core audience for this attraction? Is it older teenagers and young adults (perhaps located near a college campus or at a facility popular for recruiting) or is it the younger sibling of a pre-teen basketball star? By first identifying your core desired audience, you can best understand what will compel them to try out your attraction, spend money, and tell a friend.
Try it out!
It’s one thing to read a description of a ninja course obstacle on a website or brochure – and a completely different one to grip the bar of a salmon ladder in and try it in person. Before making any purchasing decisions on obstacles, climbing elements, video games, or other technologies, try it out. Go visit the best (and worst) reviewed family entertainment centers in your city, state, or region. On your visit, study the level of service, personnel required, guest throughput, and which attractions are most popular. Give each one a try (with your family in tow, if possible) and see for yourself. Focus on what works.
Balance the expense.
Not every attraction is created equal and the price reflects this statement. Depending on your local competition, revenue goals, and location, it might be worth considering a “big ticket” item or two that serves as both an income generator and marketing piece. These items could be an indoor skydiving attraction, if you’re fighting for the attention of vacationers looking for a thrill – or a three-story suspended playground that’s free (and centered in your arcade) to bring in local families tired of being cooped up in inclement weather (or looking for family weekend activities). Most budgets have a limit – better to have one or two keystone attractions and supplemental revenue generators than just have a run-of-the-mill arcade set up.
And of course, you always have the option to leverage the experience of professional operators and an experience procurement team at Sports Facilities Development. Our experience in 50+ sports, recreation, and events facilities across the country and our national network means we bring valuable solutions and savings to our clients. Ready to learn more? Contact us today at 727-474-3845.