Where should you put your future centre?
Laser Tag centres can be located in a variety of places. There are pros and cons to each site, and they vary significantly depending on the country, its culture, and its density.
Rent; securing a reasonable rent is an essential part of the success equation, and malls and CBD areas demand high rents, compared to industrial and residential areas Rents just one factor though, to learn more about the pros and cons of areas, related to rent, exposure, foot traffic and more read on
Hot and humid countries like parts of China, South East Asia, and Dubai for example, tend to consider malls more like the local community centre. The go-to place for social activity, and entertainment.
Recently, however, the trend of adding entertainment zones, and changing the mall from a place of retail spending to a combined entertainment and retail space has been growing around the world. Entertainment has proven to boost mall's catchment areas!
A few key things to cider to ensure success when located in shopping malls are:
Securing a reasonable rent is an essential part of the success equation, and malls demand high rents! To reduce rent, keep your footprint small, and if possible use space efficiently by using multiple layers within your space.
If the mall is new to entertainment, negotiate hard. Show them the overwhelming evidence that entertainment will boost the total spending in the mall.
Note some malls require revenue splits, or contributions to joint marketing funds, both effectively increase the rent! So make sure you’ve got those locked down in advance.
Malls typically require the tenant to keep to the hours of the mall. For instance, late-night gaming on Fridays and the weekends can be difficult if the mall closes at 8 pm. Try locating your centre close to an alternative exit and negotiating after-hours access in your lease agreement.
Requesting information on mall patronage is key! Do your research and compare malls with each other. Consider things like how many new shops are opening and how full their car parks are on visiting. Always look out for store turnover rates as well.
Good quality car parking is key to ensure your site is easy to access. Malls excel at this! See if you can get signage placed within the car park area to catch potential customers attention early!
Locating your centre in an industrial area will likely get you the best rent you can find! These districts are often not too far from city centres and generally have well-established road/transportation links.
If you can find an area that already has a couple of other entertainment businesses, that don’t red flag what we discussed in the consider your location section, that area could very likely work for your Laser Tag business as well.
Some things to consider:
Some areas don’t allow mixing of entertainment with industrial, so make sure you check with the council on what is and isn’t allowed before you get started!
Make sure you allocate enough space for car parking. The local authorities will usually require a specific number of car parks dependent on the size of your facility. Make sure the building you find (or build!) has got enough to meet these demands. We can’t tell you exactly how many you’ll need as every council has their own requirements!
Try to locate your centre close to a motorway or thoroughfare so people get natural exposure to your location. Being in industrial zones generally means you will need a larger advertising budget to get people in, but in most cases the savings in rent make it worthwhile.
Suburbs often have the advantage of being completely surrounded by your ideal customer base! Housing jam-packed with children, teenagers, and adults just itching to get out and play!
High visibility locations can be costly here, but not necessarily required. As entertainment is a destination-based attraction, people are used to, and expect to have to, travel to it. Second class real estate, on back streets, is generally just as good.
Ideally combined office/warehouses or full warehouses are best due to their lower relative rent! These buildings are also just better suited for packing full of fun attractions.
Some things to consider:
Some areas don’t allow mixing of entertainment with residential, so make sure you check with the council before you get started! Make sure to check the noise allowances as well, in residential areas you may need to limit your hours or volume at specific times.
Make sure you allocate enough space for car parking. The local authorities will usually require a specific number of car parks dependent on the size of your facility. Make sure the building you find (or build!) has got enough to meet these demands. We can’t tell you exactly how many you’ll need as every council has their own requirements! These rules are often stricter in residential areas and central city locations.
Being close to students and attracting them as regular customers can make a location’s base revenue skyrocket. A location close to these institutions or with good public transport links will work best.
Being on, or near public transportation will help draw a wider audience to your centre. School and university students also favor this kind of transportation.
Tourist destinations, over almost every other type of location, will demand a high rent. Containing your centre into a small footprint will ensure rents do not stifle your potential profit margins! Multi-level arenas and attractions are a must to allow you to accommodate more players.
Finding attractions that have a high return for their footprint is also key here.
Be warned! If the tourist market is seasonal, your income will follow the same trend, and your rent will not decrease in the off-season!
Like tourist destinations, these areas command high rents. So similarly, multi-level attractions, high performing attractions, and careful layout that best utilizes every inch of floor space is key!
A few things to consider:
Location; locating your entertainment centre in a food, or other entertainment district will be advantageous. These places will have a better quality of foot traffic for your needs.
Car parks, Car parks in the city centre can be limited and are often more expensive than other areas. So, make sure you meet the local council requirements to allow people to get to your business, but don’t end up losing large amounts of your expensive space to do it.
These can be anywhere, so check the above sections for location-based advice. However, statistics show that Laser Tag businesses that are located close to other entertainment centres will perform better on average than stand-alone locations. This applies especially to those businesses with fewer attractions when situated near noncompetitive complimentary attractions.
Having other entertainment locations nearby brings a couple of key advantages:
- Foot traffic, and local visitors are looking for entertainment, so the combined advertising spend of all the stores works to continue to grow the combined pull and catchment area.
- The Market has already proven that entertainment businesses in this location can succeed - that’s why they’re still there and it’s a hotspot!
- Locals are more likely to visit since they already associate this area as an entertainment destination.
So hopefully that should point you in the right direction for choosing your location, but what sort of building should you look for? 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. But for now, what does the building need to be like, jump in and find out here.