For birthday parties and corporate teambuilding, laser tag is a winning choice. But is the light-speed sport a sufficient motivator for entire families to spend time (and money) at a center? Many laser tag centers are choosing to diversify, adding other attractions to draw customers who might not come otherwise—and to keep fans entertained while they’re waiting for the next round of game play.
Manager Jason Beegle said that while Laser Quest Nashville is focused on the laser tag experience, it’s benefited from adding an additional element. “We added a small arcade to give the customers something to do while they’re waiting,” Beegle explained. “The laser tag games rotate every 20 minutes, so there is some downtime between rounds.” The arcade’s most popular games include Dance Dance Revolution, basketball and air hockey. “We’re always trying to better our game and upgrade the laser tag experience. Right now, our multi-level maze is 10,500 square feet and has four towers.” Game equipment also stands out at Laser Quest Nashville. “Our packs are not the little ones you wear at other centers—they’re full-size, professional packs. All of our equipment is designed and manufactured in-house.”
Because most of its resources go toward improving the laser game, Laser Quest Nashville doesn’t offer in-house food service. “We’re partnered with a pizza shop in town so customers can order pizza through them and have it delivered here,” said Beegle. Because of the center’s prime location, 2014 has been a great year. “Our numbers are up. We’re right downtown, so we’re benefiting from the constant development of Nashville.”
At Odyssey 1 Family Fun Center in Tacoma, Wash., laser tag is augmented by a few other attractions. “We offer a soft play area, an arcade with games for kids of all ages and a snack bar,” said General Manager Steve Ammann. The snack bar also features a full pizza menu. “We make all the pizzas to order from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients,” said Ammann. While fresh pizza is an attraction in itself, Ammann said the center’s most popular entertainment option aside from laser tag is the soft play area. “Our jungle-themed soft play is very popular with active kids. It’s a two-story area with tunnels, monkey bars, rope swings, a bounce house and a slide.” Ammann thinks the soft play area is so popular because it provides kids with a chance to explore independently while their parents wait outside.
At Adventure Landing in Raleigh, N.C., Operations Manager Jon Lyons said business is steady or up this year. “We’re busiest in the summer, and we’ve had a good one this year,” he said. Adventure Landing’s most popular secondary attraction is its extensive game room. “We have a wide variety of games—over 70 in-house—and that’s where a lot of revenue comes from.” Lyons said the variety of options and the motivation of the redemption counter drive customers to spend time in the arcade. “It’s a way for the whole family to have fun together—and take home prizes at the end of the day.”
But laser tag and arcade games aren’t guests’ only options for a fun day at Adventure Landing. The center also offers miniature golf, a go-kart track, batting cages and a dining facility. “It’s more of a snack bar—the menu includes fried goods, pizza and other snacks, as well as fountain beverages.” While renovations are not planned for the immediate future, Lyons is always looking for ways to draw in more families. “Our goal is to make the center as affordable and family-friendly as possible. We’ve done a lot of special offers and coupons lately that have been successful.”
The arcade is also a popular attraction at Q-Zar in Concord, Calif. “We have 40 games or more, and there’s a redemption counter,” said Manager Steve Edwards. “The Big Bass redemption games and the Terminator arcade games are the most popular with guests.” Like Laser Quest, Q-Zar is primarily a laser tag center rather than a multiplex, and future renovation plans reflect its goal of focusing on the laser experience. “We would like to add a laser maze at some point,” Edwards said. “Adding a maze fits with our concept, and it’s one of those things that anybody can do, just like laser tag.” Edwards said attendance has been up in 2014. “Seems like people are out spending money more than they were before, and doing more activities as a group. We’ve had more group bookings this year, including corporate team-building events.”
Laser tag as a team-building tool is also popular at Pin Strikes Entertainment Center in Stockbridge, Ga., said General Manager Tim Mullen. “We just hosted a group from Bridgestone Corporation last week. They’re based out of Nashville, but chose to have their southeastern meeting here at Pin Strikes.” As its name suggests, Pin Strikes also offers a 28-lane bowling facility, along with bumper cars, a balladium ball blasting system and an arcade with about 100 video and redemption games. Guests at Pin Strikes usually prefer to purchase a combination deal, including food and a few games of bowling and laser tag. “Our menu has a wide variety of options, including taco salad, thick burgers, and more—it’s not typical bowling alley food.”
Offering a variety of entertainment and dining options is paying off for Pin Strikes. “We’re opening our third facility in 2015, in Macon, Ga.,” said Mullen. “Here at Stockbridge, I’d say we have in excess of 100,000 guests per year—and this year, we’re trending up.”