February/March 2017 eNewsletter

A Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine eNewsletter Summary:

The February/March 2017 Issue

In the February/March issue of Tourist Attractions & Parks magazine, topics from Halloween events to popular food trends fill the pages.

In the Large Park Report, the profitable and fast-growing Halloween season is discussed in “Scaring Up Business – Halloween Events at Large Parks.”

How waterparks keep safety a priority across the U.S. is the subject of “Waterplay Safety Tips for a Season of Fun.” A bonus sidebar discusses safety tips to keep guests from tripping.

In The Buzz Boyz, readers find “A Report from First Quarter of 2017,” with industry experts Scott Borowsky and Frank Seninsky assessing the state of the industry. The Entertainment Center Report offers a company profile on Dave & Buster’s.

“Striking Gold with Games – Building a Better Arcade at Bowling Centers” focuses on how arcades draw customers at bowling centers nationwide. And speaking of arcades, the article Advice for the Best Arcades – Tips from Mini-Golf and Go-Kart Locations” discusses the ways in which arcade set up and maintenance can affect profitability for mini-golf and go-kart centers.

News on what appeals to teens is the subject of “What Is New for Teens at the Arcade? – Tips from Roller Skating Centers,” while the ways in which trampoline parks offer additional features to guests is discussed in “Trampoline Parks Plus – How Add-ons and Events Attract More Jumpers.” A bonus sidebar covers “Four Tips for Diversifying Activities.”

“Presenting Ideas for Success: The Foundations Entertainment University Presenters” relates comments from presenters at a three-day educational workshop and seminar program.

An insightful look at IplayCo projects is presented in the article “Project Update: IPlayCO, International Play Company.”

In “The Arcade Extra – How Coin-Op Games Add Value to the Laser Tag Experience,” the importance of the arcade at Laser Flash in Indiana is discussed. And speaking of laser tag, in “More than Just Pizza – Popular Food Trends at Laser Tag Centers” popular items for the laser tag food segment are discussed, accompanied by a bonus sidebar “Four Popular Food Trends.”

In “Shooting for Around-the-Clock Business – How Laser Tag Centers Are Serving All Customers,” varied clientele and additional profits and business are discussed.

The Street Beat section includes “The Word from the Street – Coin-Op Game Operators Discuss the Most Popular Games,” an article on game popularity, market demographics, and top-drawing games nationwide.

“Best Bets for Bulk Vendors – Candy and Prizes that Are Winners” discusses business-driving candy and prizes, while Coin-Op Operational Strategies – Tips to Hire and Train the Best Workers” focuses on owners and managers tips to hire, train, and retain workers.

The AAMA FEC Corner section includes “What’s Fun at the FEC – The Best-Earning Games and Most Popular Activities,” focusing on the popularity of FECs despite other family options.

In the Food Service Spotlight, “Tips to Trim Food Costs – Insights from Museums, Zoos and Aquariums” presents advice on how to curb food costs from food service department experts. A Bonus Sidebar presents information on how to “Cut Down on Costs with Cut Above the Rest Training.” The article “Goodies for Good Times – Trends in Fun Foods and Soft Serve” offers information on fun centers most popular sellers, while food trends at campgrounds is the topic of “There’s More then S’mores at Campgrounds.”

The Musuems section includes “The Museum Experience – How to Sell More Tours, Food and Souvenirs,” along with a Bonus Sidebar “Five Top Tips for Selling More Food, Gifts and Tours.”

In the Amusement Rental/Inflatable News section, “Coping with Cost and Coverage – A Look at Insurance” presents insurance industry trends.

The Haunted Attractions and Escape Rooms section features “Trends in Big Scares and Great Escapes,” offering a discussion of the challenges and chills at these attractions.

An additional feature of this month’s issue is the Who’s Who Buyer’s Guide, featuring many of the top companies in the coin-operated game and laser tag businesses, from manufactured goods to professional services, with expanded listings featuring the magazine’s advertisers.

Derek Lindeman, one of five partners at Escape Room South Jersey, Collingswood, N.J. Escape rooms have become a popular entertainment choice.

A rustic-themed escape room at an Escape Room Live location. The company has Washington, DC, and Alexandria, Va., locations.

An Original TAP eNEwsletter Feature

Industry Perspectives: Getting Customers Excited About the Arcade

At family fun centers nationwide, arcades are big business. But how do FECs get guests excited about the games and attractions? Fun center staff describe their top tips for getting guests interested in their arcades, and offer their take on the top attributes of a successful game room.

At Makutu’s Island in Chandler, Ariz., Manager Darlene Delaney said the “games themselves” are the key to maintaining guest interest in her arcade. “We rearrange the games every two to three months, we update our games two to three times a year. Keeping things fresh really helps improve interest,” she asserted. “And we try to make sure we pick games that appeal to the majority of our players. For us, that means guests with an age range between 5 and 13 years.”

Delaney asserted that while keeping the arcade games themselves fresh is important, the absolute top attributes of a successful arcade are “having good staff and customer service, number one. You can have all the newest games in the world, and if there isn’t someone there to make sure the games are clean, easy to get to and play, and in working order, it doesn’t matter. We have some games that are 20 years old, and sometimes those are the most played games we have. Having a good crew to take care of the games, that’s really everything.”

In North Richland Hills, Texas, Katie Green, group sales and marketing manager for the Mountasia Family Fun Center revealed her top tips to improve guest interest as two fold. “We keep the games looking good, and up to date. A lot of keeping guests coming to the arcade is technology driven, so you have to know what’s out there.” But also important is Mountasia’s dedication to social media. “That’s our primary focus to reach out and let guests know what we have to offer.” Additionally, Green noted that it’s important to evaluate what games are performing well and what games are under-performing. “If we think a game could do better, we’ll move it around in the arcade to make it more accessible.” She noted that successful arcades offer a wide range of games, and make sure that the games are properly chosen to appeal to a family fun center’s demographics. “We have a younger clientele here than say a Dave & Busters. Basing the games you have on your clientele, or the clientele you’re going after, is very important.”

In Wilsonville, Ore., Darren Harmon, manager of the Wilsonville Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle’s Restaurant, said one of the most important tools to employ in keeping guest interest in an arcade is changing the layout of the game room. “We do it three times a year. Keeping the arcade looking fresh is extremely important,” he said. “We also reinvest in the arcade every year to keep the games relevant. We constantly add new games and trade in the old ones.” Additionally, Harmon uses promotions to drive traffic to the arcade. “We do our $15 dollar Tuesdays which includes unlimited video games – that’s a big day for the arcade. In November and December we do what we call ‘arcade madness,’ and we sell our fun cards for use in the arcade as ‘buy $20 and get $20 free. That’s a great promo for us and a great deal for our guests.” To Harmon, the top attributes of a successful arcade are a clean and relevant game room. “Keep the game room operating at close to a hundred percent, and keep it as up to date as you can and as clean as you can,” he explained.

At Laser Craze Family Fun Center in North Andover, Mass., Manager Larry Murphy offered his advice on maintaining guest interest in the arcade. “Definitely keeping the games up to date is important, and so is maintenance. We make sure that we do routine maintenance regularly to keep all the bells and whistles working. There is nothing worse than seeing an out-of-order machine. So we dedicate lots of time and resources to make sure the arcade is fully functional, and that no one is having issues with any games.” Murphy said his arcade has an unique advantage: “We have three locations for our company, so we do try to periodically rotate games between locations. That way we keep each arcade fresh for our regulars without having to buy new games as often.” However, that said, Murphy makes sure to purchase new games as soon as possible, and once or twice a year he completely reorganizes the layout of the arcade. “Changing the layout works really well. People will think there are new games just by organizing the arcade differently. It has a significant impact on interest,” he related. Additionally, he points out the importance of customer service to maintain interest in the games. “We try to be generous with our guests. If people have an issue with a particular game, for example, we’ll give them extra tokens so they can play something else while we fix it. We always try to keep the customer experience in mind,” Murphy says. One way to assure this is to train staff members on how the games work and how to play them. “That way they understand the games from the customer’s experience, and if there are any issues that come up, they know how to handle them and have a sense of how customers feel.”

As to the top attributes of a successful arcade, Murphy said having well-trained employees is vital. “Beyond that, having a good variety of games and games that appeal to the age group that you’re trying to reach are both important.” In Murphy’s case, his arcade caters to kids as young as toddlers, but also includes games to reach corporate and other adult groups that come to his arcade. “You have to have a good mix so that there is something for everyone to play while they’re here.”

At the All Family Fun Center in Las Vegas, Nev., Owner Lee Yarborough is proud of his excellent Yelp ratings and knows how he’s gotten them – “By being nice to people,” he laughed. “We honestly don’t have the most up-to-date games. We’re an older arcade, but we’re nice to folks, and that makes people want to come here. That’s how you make a successful arcade.” He added that after 35 years in business in the Las Vegas area, his arcade also has a reputation with people in the area for supporting children’s and charitable events. “We don’t have to chase that business, we have a reputation,” he explained. An additional technique Yarborough uses to sustain guest interest is the use of promotions. “We do packages, birthday specials, and specials for different days of the week, too,” he noted.

Erik Peffley, facilities manager, with Jared Landis, staff member, playing a ball shooting game at Adventure Sports. The February/March 2017 issue of TAP includes extensive arcade coverage.

Erik Peffley, facilities manager, with Jared Landis, staff member, playing a ball shooting game at Adventure Sports. The February/March 2017 issue of TAP includes extensive arcade coverage.


Saint Louis Zoo employees, from left: D'Juan Wiley, food service supervisor; Tanisha Jones, food production manager; Scott Trapasso, food service supervisor; Rachel Samsoucie, food service supervisor; and Sharon Woolford, prep cook. Fountain beverages and house-made snacks are profitable sellers for the attraction.

Saint Louis Zoo employees, from left: D’Juan Wiley, food service supervisor; Tanisha Jones, food production manager; Scott Trapasso, food service supervisor; Rachel Samsoucie, food service supervisor; and Sharon Woolford, prep cook. Fountain beverages and house-made snacks are profitable sellers for the attraction.


News from Around the Industry

Apple Industries Boosts Cashbox with Brand-New Art and Graphics Package

Every year 81 percent of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day by spending more than $25 billion on flowers, candy, jewelry, romantic meals and various gifts. And, a healthy percentage of that spending goes straight into Apple Industries’ Face Place Photo Booths. That’s where boyfriends, girlfriends, family and regular friends take and send each other digital photos, electronic photo “cards” and high-quality videos of themselves as Valentine’s greetings and mementoes.

Major increases in the Face Place cashbox are becoming a Valentine’s tradition at Apple.  For example, over Valentine’s Day weekend last year, Face Place cashbox earnings across the United States more than doubled on average. This year the romantic holiday period saw operators renew their Face Place love affair as cash boxes jumped 100 percent above a typical weekend’s earnings.

What drives the revenue numbers up? Brand-new Face Place Valentine’s Day art and graphics such as photo frames, borders and themes, downloaded free to the operator of every networked Face Place unit running on the Smile 2.0 system.

During the run-up to the holiday and on February 14 itself, as soon as a customer enters the booth and begins using the touchscreen to format their pictures, Valentine’s-themed borders and art automatically pop up as the first option.

It’s a great reminder to create a Valentine photo and help encourage customers to spend more and share more images to more friends and family members.

“For more than 100 years, photo booths have traditionally been associated with romantic couples who love to cuddle and kiss in front of the camera,” said Apple CEO Allen Weisberg.  “So, Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion for Face Place, which boosts that traditional appeal with the latest digital technology. Our Valentine’s Day weekend earnings results suggest that everyone, family, friends and acquaintances, enjoy sending each other Face Place greetings from the booth’s touch screen interface.”

“Free, regular updates to art and graphics are a key part of our ongoing promotions and marketing,” said Allen Weisberg.  “When operators succeed, we succeed, and that’s why Apple freshens up the Face Place photo-taking and video-making experience with exciting new graphics for every holiday and every special occasion from New Year’s Eve to Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Halloween and of course Christmas.”

Craig Platt in Casino Arcade

Craig Platt of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Casino Arcade. Photo by Wai-Ling Quist.

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