By Jen Heller Meservey
Laser tag players young and old like to return to play again and again. That’s why many laser tag facilities implement membership or “frequent player” programs. With these programs, members can often track their game statistics, and even build their laser tag skills.
“The most important aspect of the membership cards for the store is the repeat play they generate,” said John Mator, operations director at Laser Storm in Pittsburgh, Pa. “The customer wants to play to increase their skill level points that are tracked with the membership card.”
Tracking stats also helps encourage friendly competition, according to Joseph Nelis, co-owner of The Lost City in Holland, Mich. “Over time, [members’] stats accumulate and the players compete to have the highest ranking in as many as 10 different categories,” he said. “Members also tend to want to play with other members to increase their personal ability to play more intense games,” Mator agreed. Nelis said he encourages members to only play with other members. “If one player is very good, they can dominate a game very easily and the other players spend most of their game waiting for the packs to come back up,” he said. “It is not a fun experience for the newbie, and one experienced member could ruin the game of a whole party of 20 or more.”
Members are privy to “member only events” at Laser Storm, according to Mator, as well as a discount “Storm Card” which can earn them free games and other perks. The Lost City offers discounts on their two-hour “Fire ‘til You Tire” sessions, according to Nelis. Tom Carter, president of Hukoo’s Family Fun in Orlando, Fla., said that while his membership program is still in development, he will soon be offering members exclusive rates on three- and five-game laser tag packages.
Brad Ross, owner of What-A-Blast Extreme Laser Tag in State College, Pa., said he offers a frequent player program to his customers. “I offer, after five visits of an hour or two, one free hour of laser tag redeemable any time on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday,” he explained.
Membership programs attract laser tag players of all ages. “We have members ranging from 8 to 55 years old,” said Mator. “I am fortunate to have players across all my customer groups take advantage of my frequent player program,” said Ross. “There is always a great desire for everyone who plays to come back often.”
No matter who joins a membership program, it’s important to provide them with excellent customer service. Nelis does this by “managing the whole process of when they are welcomed and encouraged to play.” At What-A-Blast Extreme Laser Tag, Ross’s focus is always on the customers’ needs. “As a Penn State Smeal MBA graduate, I am especially driven to deliver exceptional customer service in person as the owner and only employee,” he said. “I pay great attention to detail, delivering specialized service to each of my customer groups based on their unique needs and wants.”
Promoting membership and frequent player programs is key. Most laser tag facilities use signage and social media to recruit new members. Nelis said he also shares member stats on The Lost City’s website. Ross said he prefers old fashioned “word-of-mouth” promotion. “I promote the program to each of the players and those that express interest get a redemption card with their name on it to keep track of their visits,” he said. “I encourage them to spread the word, I intentionally do not do advertising.” Ross’s method appears to be effective. “People travel an hour radius to play at my facility,” he said. “It is great for youth groups, youth sports teams, clubs, organizations and families.”-