How to Approach Your Laser Tag Project or Renovation for Maximum Impact

November 1, 2012 No Comments

When approaching a new laser tag project or an upgrade to an existing one, which direction should you take? Are you focused on the right things or on what the salesmen may be trying to sell you? Let’s examine some of the major players you will need to examine and discuss how to properly evaluate your path. Whether you are developing a project or are looking to freshen up your laser tag attraction, we commonly see owners focus very heavily on new equipment or a new coat of paint. Some owners manage to build out new sections of their field while others tear out or simply replace some older pieces of the structure. Worse, some owners never do anything at all!
A word of caution: What is often overlooked is the laser tag experience itself. It can be difficult to see your attraction through your customers’ eyes, but you must do your best to see it the way they do. You must also do your best to not get caught up in a few traps such as getting too rooted in your own personal preferences. Don’t work in a vacuum: speak to others about your project!
The Equipment
If you have owned equipment for 10 years or more, you are definitely ready for a change! Otherwise, provided your equipment is in good working order and is easy for your audience to use, stick with it. There are other ways to improve the experience that you can focus on that you will find elsewhere in this article.
If you are in the market for new equipment, meet your new best friends: research, research and more research. Fact: you can make very good money with almost any equipment. It is more important you utilize equipment that provides the play style your community and you prefer and that it is comfortable to wear.
For centers that are utilizing laser tag as a main attraction (or the only attraction), ensure you are properly utilizing the full potential of your system. It is very easy to fall into a comfort zone where only a few games and features are used. Don’t be afraid to change things up and give your customers some new experiences!
The Arena
Time and again I see new owners and older facilities make big mistakes in how they treat their arena. The number one most important factor for arena is playability, period. There is proof all over the country for facilities with very little theming making big bucks! A nice paint job is great, but placing that paint job in high traffic locations outside of the arena will make a much bigger impression. I sight an example that has been made in countless facilities over the years. Ask a regular player about a mural or prop you are particularly proud of, the common response is “There are murals? I didn’t really have time to look around: I was too busy trying to get away from all of the laser beams!”
Wherever you get your arena layout from, shop it to experts in the industry. Random wall placement will not create the experience you want for your customers. Angles, ramp locations, and many other factors greatly influence the enjoyment your customers will get when playing in your field.
Your briefing and vesting areas can use a little oomph, as well as your base areas and perhaps center field areas. Otherwise, save yourself some cash here and emphasize party areas, entrances and your front counter area. That cash can be used in other areas that will show far more value.
Staffing
You can make the most obvious change to your laser tag attraction with customer service training and perhaps some personnel changes. Your briefing staff should be energetic and prepared to give a good show. Your briefing room should be full of tools and props that will aid your briefers in communicating the necessary info as well as to increase theatrical impact.
A flat briefing does more damage to your attraction than an out light, a damaged phaser or even an unruly player! All the afore mentioned issues can quickly be taken care of with good customer service, but that flat briefing likely sucked all the energy out of the room! The briefing should be used to energize the crowd to a fever pitch before play and help avoid possible serious injuries. Don’t squander this opportunity for your facility to shine. If you are struggling with how to provide a briefing experience you can be proud of, contact us here at the ILTA for help.
Atmosphere
Ultimately I find that the props and effects that you use to bring people deeper into the fantasy you create can be some of the greatest tools at your disposal. Knowing which tools to use and analyzing which are the best for your experience can be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions which may ease the stress.
Smoke: Hazers and foggers don’t create the same effect: make sure you understand the difference before purchasing. Remember, foggers create opaque clouds that dissipate rapidly, where hazers create a long lasting light particle effect. Look for features like an auto-shutoff when the device runs out of fluid, blast time and volume of blast.
Sound: Good techno music is not enough, having local sound effects and good sound saturation throughout your field is paramount. There are many options, look for a local company that specializes in sound system installation for help. A few large speakers high on the walls is a good start, but clarity of sound makes all the difference and only require a little extra work. Note: when you go searching for music and are preparing to deal with the licensing companies, save yourself a ton of cash and look at the ILTA music program.
Lighting: You are looking for lights that pulse with the tempo of the game, are dynamically controlled and preferably can even alter color and brightness. Most laser tag manufacturers offer ways of linking their system with lighting controls. Educate yourself on your system’s capabilities, but worst case you can use a DMX control system to create an amazing show. Look for high-quality LED lighting online and you will be amazed with what you can get ahold of!
The Final Word
When you look at the topics we have just briefly covered, remember to always do what is right for your business. No one knows your dream better than you, so not every angle will work for everyone. Take your time, get properly educated, and take your project to the experts and your peers so that you get it right the first time around. -

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