Laser Tag Pricing and Promotion:
Knowing the Score

October 30, 2010 No Comments

Promoting your laser tag center to your community should keep you looking for new and exciting ways to do something different.  Adjusting your ticket pricing and specials allow for a fairly passive way to appeal to both new and current customers.  Using your Web site, in-store marketing, and your staff to communicate this information is incredibly low in cost and very effective when done well.  
Many facilities offer multiple laser tag passes for a discount.  Most customers walk in expecting to spend at least an hour in your facility, so package your games in a fashion that there is an “about an hour” option.  In facilities with a 20-minute game experience, you often see one game for $8 or two for $13. This is an easy upsell, when you tell the customer that they will be done after about an hour. Other game packages can be very successful, but don’t expect to sell a large volume of 10 or more game packages, as these really only apply to your hardcore players.
What other ways can you package your games?  There really are unlimited options:  multi-attraction passes, passes including drinks and/or food, token inclusions, the list goes on and on.  Multi-attraction passes can be particularly effective when trying to introduce your customers to something new, or a perhaps underutilized attraction.  This approach drives customers to experience new things and allows your more popular attraction to take in more players while you funnel those who have played somewhere else.
Packaging laser tag with tokens, food or other merchandise are great bargains for customers. Think of building these passes like fast food chains build their value meals. If you are going to buy a burger and soft drink isn’t it wiser to pay the little extra for fries?  After all, it’s only 50 cents (or less), right?  The same mentality can be applied to laser tag and it works.  The only words of caution I have to offer:  Don’t make your packages too complicated to explain.  
Put your most purchas-ed attractions and items together to make things simple.  An example:  At one store we offered Value Paks, with our Standard Pak including two games of laser tag, a medium drink and $3 in tokens. These paks sold well, but not as well as our Family Value Pak, which included six games, four large drinks and $10 in tokens.  They are uncomplicated, have few rules, and are offered every day.  People could almost always be upsold with little effort and often thanked us for spending more money!
While upselling and packaging are great ways to make more money, never underestimate the power of words like “special” and “free.” Offering discounted tickets during certain hours or days can boost sales once the word is out. The increased traffic and capture of your customers for several hours also tends to boost food and token sales, which makes these specials wins all the way around. These “daily specials” can take months to properly market to your community, so don’t lose hope if you don’t make a killing the first day!  
“All you can play” specials are the most often seen from store to store. The most successful of these draw customers into your store during your weakest revenue hours and allow you to lightly market birthdays and other events. Running these specials during the weekend is not recommended, as customers will tend to spend time at your store regardless during these days without the draw of a discount. Why give them a discount they don’t need?  Make sure you throw some specialty games into the mix and watch your lobby fill with more players every week.  Cap the special when it proves popular and encourage patrons to arrive early enough to participate.
How can you utilize “free?”  Free is all about how you word specials. Which sounds better:  “One player can play two games for the price of one” or “This pass good for one FREE game with the purchase of one at regular price”?  The word “free” placed properly makes a greater impact on those you market to and should not be underestimated!
Aside from wording, many centers have done well by offering free pizza, video games, or other attractions with paid entry to laser tag or the facility. Again, there is some cost involved to get to the free merchandise or attraction, but it is all about how you catch the customers’ attention.  Find something easy and preferably cheap to offer free and watch the customers fork over cash to get it.
Again, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas. Longer games, two-for-one deals, and free specials have all been successful somewhere. If you are running a special that doesn’t seem successful after six months, change it up!  Put out something new and see what happens.  For all but your most successful specials you should consider pulling out new tricks.  Change is good in entertainment:  keep your customers on the edge of their seats wondering what you will do next.
While the above ticketing promotions can do a world of good for your facility, it can never be said enough that your facility should be adequately prepared to handle these specials. Your staff need to be properly educated on how the specials work, should offer them without prompting, and should be able to make intelligent recommendations. On top of that, your facility needs to be clean, in good order, and properly maintained.  Customer service must be placed at the highest importance.  Be prepared with enough staff to handle volume and have procedures if there are any changes to common operating practice.  Be patient with customers new to the experience and prepare to educate them for months to come.
Ultimately, driving new customers and encouraging repeat business creates a different kind of promotion:  Word of Mouth advertising.  Many facilities perform very well without spending a dime on TV, radio, or any other means of advertising because they place the customer first.  By taking care of your customers properly and nurturing the relationships your facility has with them, you can ensure your success for years to come. -

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