By Scott Borowsky and Frank Seninsky
New money and more money continue to be invested in building bigger family entertainment centers and retrofitting existing empty big box retail stores in A, B, and even C population markets. Landlords continue to up the ante for tenant improvements (TI) to attract quality FEC tenants.
In some instances, the landlords are buying out cash poor entertainment tenants, upgrading and adding attractions and becoming operators themselves. Some franchisors are buying back some of their franchisee owned facilities and upgrading to improve their brand. Deep pocket real estate investors are now focused on the entertainment center industry, buying up FECs and trampoline park stand-a-lone buildings and leasing them back to the tenants with more favorable rent terms, giving new life to the operator.
Yes, the bar is being raised, especially in the bowling industry. [Frank will be doing a feature article in next month’s issue on ‘the best bowling-anchored FEC he has ever visited’ and he has seen many]. Movie theaters are also following this trend, taking out excess screens and putting in family attractions, party rooms, food/beverage, and even adding kiddie attractions to a movie space so parents can sit and watch a movie while their kids play right next to them.
Seminar and Webinar Attendance Is on the Rise
At every trade show we have attended in 2018, seminar attendance is on the rise. We cannot say that trade show attendance at every trade show is on the rise, but there is a new thirst for knowledge and that is encouraging. We learn something new at every seminar we attend.
Fourth Quarter 2018 Outlook
The new money and more money trend has created a backlog of game orders that manufacturers are working feverishly to fill before IAAPA. It appears that a lot more people will be coming to IAAPA looking to touch and feel the games, attractions, and prizes that they are ready to spend money for in 1st & 2nd Quarters 2019. Yes, the industry veterans are opening up their pocket books. Yes, this is what capitalism is all about and the entrepreneurial genes are alive and well and functioning on all cylinders.
The sixth annual International Association of Trampoline Parks (IATP) show was held Sept. 16-18 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
The 550 attendance was an increase from last year’s Palm Springs event, but in my (Frank’s) opinion, attendance would have been much higher if you account for the international IATP conference that took place earlier this year and some of those international attendees would have come to Ft. Lauderdale. The trend of trade show seminars being packed continued as most of the 24 seminars (3 at a time) were solidly attended even though they took place in a separate building and it required an elevator ride and a long walk to quench that appetite for knowledge.
‘Reposition Your Trampoline Park for Success’ – This eye-opening panel discussed financing options available for new blood investors to invest in currently operating entertainment facilities to create a win-win for operators. Panelists Russ Savrann (CEO) and Dan Eberhardt (COO) of Central Parks Management (centralparksmanagement.com), discussed how to brand and run a trampoline park like a hotel and with daily accountability, focus on booking rooms/events (birthday parties/group events). This is done by creating community sponsorships, doing facility tours, and hiring general managers that have hotel/restaurant experience.
Next year’s IATP Conference will take place September 23-25 in New Orleans with the tag line ‘Jump Even Higher’, an indication that the bar is indeed being raised for the next seven-year cycle for trampoline parks.