Zone Laser Tag News

Are you leaving money on the Table? Part 1

Jun 8, 2018 10:42:00 AM / by Erik Guthrie posted in Magazines, Knowledge Hub, Erik Guthrie Articles, Zone News

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I travel extensively and just got back from a tour of 26 locations in four days, most of them bowling centers, but also some theaters and standalone laser tag centers. What’s interesting from these visits is that the standalone laser tag operators always do better than those running multiple attractions. The question is why? What is it about the standalone operators? I think it’s because, for them, laser tag is their bread and butter. 

They need to wake up every day and say, “What can we do to make laser tag better today?” For FEC operators, there are a lot of things conflicting and demanding their attention, so from their point of view, as long as the laser equipment works and they can run games on time, that’s good enough. But it’s not. They’re leaving money on the table. Here are some things FEC –– and standalone laser tag –– operators can and should do to get more out of their systems. 

The Golden Opportunity of Briefing One thing I’ve noticed is a lack of energy from the staff members. In laser tag today, it’s too easy for the employee to enter the briefing room and simply push a button to start the video. There’s no real need for that employee to be personable. I think all FEC operators with laser tag are missing a golden marketing opportunity –– a chance to create a memorable experience ––right off the bat in the briefing room. Operators can make more money in this one area alone just by having staff members who have a strong, dynamic personality or at minimum, a sincere, caring attitude.

 Honestly, your employees really don’t even need to be that outgoing. They just need to engage with your customers, saying things like, “Oh, be sure to come back on All You Can Play Night” or to let them know about the late-night adult laser tag special or deals for church groups. Don’t miss the chance to connect, upsell or cross-sell during that briefing room experience.

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Laser Tag is Dead, Long Live Laser Tag

Jun 1, 2018 10:25:00 AM / by Erik Guthrie posted in Magazines, Knowledge Hub, Erik Guthrie Articles, Zone News

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What sets high-earning laser tags apart from all the others and why are some bowling centers doing $800,000 or $1 million in laser tag sales while others are only doing $150,000? After 35 years, it’s clear that the laser tag industry has hit a maturation stage. It’s become synonymous with FECs. There are a variety of arenabuilding/theming companies, as well as a good number of laser tag manufacturers. In fact, at the European Amusement Show last year in Amsterdam, I personally visited at least a dozen laser tag equipment makers; at IAAPA last November, there were at least 10, both indoor and outdoor.

Competition We’re definitely in a mature, crowded market. In most cities now, you’re going to have a bowling center that’s adding laser tag competing with a trampoline facility two miles away that’s going to add it and two or three miles away from that, will be a roller skating rink that’s putting in laser tag as well. I’m really not exaggerating.

When I attended the Houston, Texas, Foundations Education University in October, I spent another three days visiting 26 laser tag locations. In Katy, Texas, there are four within six miles of each other The number of locations that are out there are pretty shocking as far as I’m concerned. Here on the north side of Indianapolis, we’ve got Laser Flash and then, less than two or three miles from that, you’ve got Woodland Bowl. Less than a mile and a half from that you have Main Event. Less than a mile and a half from that, you have X-Site, and probably two miles away from that you have Bowl Three-Two-Fun! That’s five on the north side of Indianapolis alone.

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VR vs. Laser Tag

Nov 1, 2017 12:12:23 PM / by Erik Guthrie posted in Magazines, Knowledge Hub, Erik Guthrie Articles, Zone News

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There’s a lot of buzz in the industry today about VR and what it offers, where the future might be and, among some, whether VR could unseat laser tag in popularity. VR is really cool and exciting, but I will flat out state that VR will not replace laser tag. It’s just not going to happen that way, certainly not within the next 7-10 years. Before you dismiss what I’m saying, let me prove my point by talking about the money involved, the type of play and other factors (such as augmented reality) that affect the profit reality in today’s amusement business. For those who don’t know us that well, 

 

Zone is relatively different from most laser tag manufacturers in that we own multiple locations. I personally operate a laser tag arena, too. So we’re nose-to-the-grindstone kind of folks because we’re making money day-byday on customers coming in and enjoying a great laser tag experience. We want to pay attention to anything that’s a threat to that business model. Our interest in the future is multiplied two or threefold because we manufacture equipment. We must pay attention to anything that affects that side of the business…which leads us to VR.

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