Entertainment centres are diverse, so the type of building you need will vary, but in general, the same rules apply to most. We will dig deeper into how to create the experience-driven fun that is critical to success later on in this course. But for now, what does the building need to be like?
- Empty, starting with a large empty clean slate is often easier than renovating former offices/retail areas to be an entertainment complex. Great options are things like former warehouses, gyms, big-box retail, etc. A combined office/warehouse space is also beneficial as you can utilize the office space for your management or party rooms and small attractions.
- The elevation should be attractive and highly visible to attract people to the building. Higher elevations also allow you to make your attractions inside multi-level, a double win. Note, some attractions like trampolines and climbing walls require substantial elevation, so make sure you’ve checked your mix will work within the space.
- Make sure the outside of your building is well lit, so people feel safe coming at night. Pair this with complimentary and attractive graphics on the facade. These things can be added to most existing buildings, so don’t worry if they aren’t there now, just budget for them in the future!
- We’ve touched on it a few times above, but we can’t stress enough, car parking! Make sure that there is good quality parking on-site, ideally close to your centre, of course! Make sure to check local council requirements for the quantity and type of car parking required, and ensure your centre’s max capacity is taken into account. Just don’t go too far, as the cost of unnecessary parking can decrease your potential profits by wasted rent/investment.
- Of course, another option is finding a recently closed centre and taking it as is. This however can be a double-edged sword. It can save you a substantial investment sum, but what if what caused this centre to fail is a fundamental issue with its location? You may also need to overcome existing reputational issues, but good service and marketing can overcome that hurdle with ease!
- Rent, the be-all, and end-all of entertainment businesses. Be careful that you can afford the rent, and that your centre’s conservative earnings estimate still makes a profit above this. Negotiate hard to fix your rent for as long as possible, and try and get out of open-ended increase terms. This is not possible in some cases, especially malls! But if you can, do so. Negotiating good terms here will make or break your future success.
Now you’ve got a good idea of what sort of premise to look for, and the pros and cons of different areas. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what attractions you should look at, how much space they take, and the potential benefits of each. Alongside the laser tag that is!