Opening a laser tag business or adding a new laser tag attraction can be an extremely profitable venture. It can also be a money pit if you haven’t done your due diligence.
Over the last 30+ years, we’ve seen plenty of both. To help your laser tag business start off on the right foot and continue growing, we’d like to share some of the most common and biggest mistakes we’ve seen operators make over the years so that you don’t repeat them.
Following are the 8 common mistakes laser tag operators make, and how you can avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not selecting the right laser tag arena location
The location and space you choose to house your laser tag arena in has a massive impact on your success.
How to avoid it: You want a location that has a lot of foot traffic already built in from nearby shopping centers, restaurants, cinemas or other attractions. If that’s not possible, consider a unique location like a converted power plant or meat packing warehouse that will drive interest based on its history and layout.
You also need your physical space to be large enough to accommodate the laser tag arena, registration area, vesting area, demo room, restrooms, redemption room, refreshment area, and party rooms. We recommend between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet of space (280-470 square meters) or 110 square feet (10 square meters) for every player.
Mistake 2: Not hiring enough laser tag staff
Employee wages are typically your largest expense. So we can’t fault operators for trying to cut down on staffing to save money. But eliminating staff where they’re needed, and stretching the few existing staff beyond their limits is a big mistake.
How to avoid it: Hire (and properly train!) enough people to staff each attraction or area of your laser tag business, without requiring them to hop from the redemption counter to the snack bar to the vesting area. For the best experience, do this at all times and days of operation. But at the very least, do this during peak weekends, busy holidays and big parties.
Mistake 3: Not choosing the right laser tag equipment
Your choice for professional laser tag equipment can make or break your business. Period. Punta. Fin.
How to avoid it: It’s not just about functioning and clean equipment (although those are very important), it’s about offering exciting game play, interactive features and challenging achievements. This is what will keep players coming back for more and motivate them to tell their friends about your arena.
You also want a professional laser tag system that provides robust diagnostic and management software, frequent product and software updates, and ongoing support and marketing assistance.
Check out our blog “The Real Cost of Going Cheap on Laser Tag Equipment” for more info and tips.
Mistake 4: Not maintaining your laser tag equipment
Being down even one or two battlesuits on a busy weekend can quickly add up in lost revenue figures.
How to avoid it: To prevent negative experiences and maintain maximum throughout, you must ensure that your laser tag battlesuits and phasers are in tip-top shape, as well as properly cleaned and sanitized after each use. While a high-quality laser tag system like Laserforce requires very little maintenance, you’ll still want to check all equipment before closing and upon opening every day and address issues immediately.
Mistake 5: Not promoting your laser tag business
The iconic quote from Field of Dreams must only apply to baseball diamonds in the middle of rural corn fields. Because if you only build a laser tag arena and don’t do anything to let the world know, they most certainly will not come!
How to avoid it: To maintain high levels of throughput and drive increased revenue, you must market your business. There are numerous ways to reach and engage your target audience–hang posters inside your arena, run ads on your local radio station, drop flyers at local hotels and info centers, actively manage Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and SnapChat profiles, send periodic email newsletters, and partner with local businesses to cross-promote.
You should also look to your players to help promote your business by leveraging the social media integrations in your laser tag equipment.
Mistake 6: Not encouraging repeat play
Point. Zap. Score. Go home.
A simple laser tag system that only offers one-time scoring, fixed teams, and the same ol’ game week after week provides zero incentive for coming back again.
How to avoid it: Use an innovative and robust laser tag system that offers a wealth of features and benefits, including exciting game play, next-gen battlesuit and phaser designs, competitive and new game types, numerous and changing achievements, and social media integrations. This creates a more fun and entertaining experience, and provides innumerable reasons for coming back again to reach new achievements and try new games.
Mistake 7: Not taking advantage of laser tag game features and variety
There’s only so many times a player will come back to that same ol’ exact game.
How to avoid it: To make the experience more exciting and addictive for players, you must mix up the features, try new game types, add player handicapping, and offer advanced role playing games and competitive team play options.
This variety should be added on weekdays when it’s slower and you have more regulars. Once you know the combination of features is popular and your staff is comfortable with the play, then you can start rolling out variations on weekends.
Mistake 8: Not reviewing laser tag software diagnostics and data
If you’re not on site during every opening hour (and sometimes even if you are!), you have no way of knowing if there is a sudden change in game play. Or if staff aren’t following procedures. Or if there’s an issue with one of your battlesuits.
How to avoid it: Use the data provided by your laser tag software to understand daily or weekly throughput, determine if staff have been following correct procedures, receive recommendations for improved operations, and get notifications of required maintenance. Analyzing these metrics and getting notified of issues on Mondays will save you time, money and resources, and ensure you’ll be operating at peak performance during the busy weekend.
Now that you know the most common mistakes, you can avoid them at your laser tag business. If you’d like to discuss adding or upgrading your laser tag system to Laserforce, connect with us today for a free consultation. We look forward to discussing your goals and helping your business grow!