Laser tag is always fun any time of year, but when summer comes around, guests may need a little more incentive to come in out of the sunshine and play in the dark. Laser venues share their tips to increase summertime visits, as well as what they do to keep customers having fun and happy year-round.
At Laser Quest Federal Way in Federal Way, Wash., Assistant Manager Jayleen Salas runs the center’s Facebook page and promotes their events and summer specials online often. “During the summer, we run our Triple Play, which is three games for $20 dollars per person before tax. Normally, those games are $9 a piece, so each person playing is getting the third game for around $2 with the special.” Along with using their Facebook page to promote this and other special offers, Salas says the center also displays posters and staff members upsell guests when they arrive. “If they’re planning to play two games, we recommend the third game special,” she noted.
Throughout the year, Laser Quest Federal Way also offers a range of specials and activities to keep guests interested in playing. “Every month we do a public overnighter from midnight to 6 a.m. on a Saturday. They’re usually themed depending on what is current; for example, we just finished a Transformers themed event, and we’re running a red, white, and blue event for the 4th of July.” To encourage guests who may be deciding whether to join the fun or not, the center also offers a discounted rate if paid by a set “pre-paid” date. “We also do survival games, team games, and have a Laser Quest arena awards program.” Salas explains how the awards program works. “Every time a guest comes in to play, they enter their personal code that keeps track of stats to work toward getting a free game. Our website updates the stats and keeps track of them.”
Salas said the center’s customer base extends farther than the local community in Federal Way. “We’re really the only laser center this side of the mountain, the only one that specializes in laser tag. We have a bigger arena than any other laser center, and we are well-known for our birthday parties. People come from all over the area for the parties.”
Elsewhere in Washington, at Odyssey 1 laser tag in Tacoma, Manager Cameron Diaz offers his top marketing tips to bring guests into his center during the summer. “We have a Summer Blast pass which offers about a 40 percent discount on laser tag. You can use it any time during a three-month period. You can use it all in one visit or on multiple visits.” Like Salas, Diaz promotes on social media; he also markets and promotes using email blasts for existing customers. Throughout the course of the year, Diaz continues his use of social media to keep the center relevant for customers. “We also rely on advertising in a variety of different formats, from print media to social media.” And what is Diaz promoting? “We offer many different discounted specials for double or triple plays. During our busier times, however, we don’t really discount anything, but instead we use social media to put us out there in front of everyone.” Diaz describes his customer base as a mix of local guests and those that travel further to play. “Our main traffic falls within a 15-to-20-mile radius.”
In Las Vegas, Nev., Rhonda Mikologic, owner of Battle Blast Laser Tag relies on different themes to draw customers during summer months. “We actually do different themes every week. We change our laser tag music, we change up the entire theme. We also do all-you-can-play sessions during the week from noon to 5 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., so that there are many different times that people can come in and play for a discounted, set amount of money,” she reported. “We promote and market primarily on Facebook,” she adds. Recent themes have included video game and cartoon themes. “We’re also doing a summer camp this year. We paired up with another organization, Bricks for Kids, a franchise that does Legos. We do laser tag in the morning, Legos in the afternoon.”
During the year, Mikologic uses holiday themes, and continues all-you-can-play events to keep guests satisfied and coming back for more. “We’ve recently started a new thing called Pogo Pass. People who purchase it can attend multiple attractions at a fixed price throughout the city. That’s been very good for bringing people in, especially tourists. We also use social media,” she says. The center’s main customers are local, but area visitors add to the mix.
In Rocklin, Calif., Xtreme Craze also offers year-round specials to increase visitation in the summer and keep guests happy every month of the year. Assistant Manager Ciana Finch explained that her center also offers week-long summer camps for kids. “They’re very popular. We have 20 to 30 kids and they play laser tag, play arcade games, and enjoy our three bounce houses as well. At the end of the camp, they get to hold a pizza party, and make their own pizza. That’s their favorite part every time,” she laughs.
Outside of summer months, the center focuses on holiday specials. “For example, on Father’s Day, dads play free, and on Mother’s Day, moms get free play. On the 4th of July, veterans and active military personnel played for free,” she attested. “We also have regular discounted nights throughout the year, such as $10 Tuesdays, and all-you-can-play for $25 per person on Thursday nights from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.” Wednesday nights are devoted to fundraiser groups rather than specials for the general public; these fundraisers offer 33 percent of the night’s proceeds for each fundraiser. On Friday evenings, another popular special includes ten arcade credits as well as two-for-one laser play from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for $26. “We are all about saving money for our guests,” she reported. She promotes both summer and all-year specials through Facebook and the center’s email subscription list. “We send out mass emails with coupons and daily specials. We also send out a monthly calendar at the beginning of each month, so guests can see everything that’s going on.” Fich described her customers as a mix of regulars with whom she’s on a “first name basis” and those who come from farther Northern California locations, such as Redding or even San Francisco. “There aren’t a lot of Northern California laser tag arenas,” she explained. “At least there aren’t many that are stand-alone laser centers as opposed to being part of a bowling alley or a movie theater.”
Farther south, Jeffrey Horne, co-owner of Lazer Legacy in Yucaipa, Calif., also relies heavily on Facebook and other social media to promote his center both year-round and during the summer. “We also do a lot with Yelp. We have a third-party company that manages all our social media. We also did a billboard, radio ads, bus stop advertising, and newspaper ads. The only medium we haven’t used is television.” Lazer Legacy is a new facility; it’s only been open since March. To draw business this summer, he’s offering all-you-can-play daytime specials, and is considering adding summer camps for children from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the end of the summer. Camps are definitely being planned for subsequent years.
Theme nights are a big part of keeping guests engaged for Horne all year long. “At Easter we had a costumed Easter Bunny as part of the play, and we plan to carry out the idea of different character mascots as appropriate for any holiday. We also stay open late on holidays. We were open until midnight on July 4th,” he stated.
Along with costumed characters, Horne can go even further with creating holiday-centric game events. “Our equipment’s technology allows us to customize games themed toward whatever the holiday is. I’m currently working on a Halloween theme, where our laser weapons have spooky names and sounds. For example, if you’re categorized as a vampire player, it will make a different sound than if you are a werewolf.”
Currently, Horne’s customer base is “80 percent local within the city we live in. We are still trying to hit the surrounding area. We also have a couple of small groups that come in regularly from as far away as Newport Beach, an hour and fifteen minutes away, once or twice a month.”
With a wide variety of laser tag discounts, themes, and camps, and through the use of social media, laser tag centers are staying busy all year long.