5 Trends You Can’t Miss

The pandemic is creating new opportunities and trends for the Location Based Entertainment Industry as a whole, and also for Family Entertainment Centers, that have suffered in 2020. We’ve compiled a list of Location Based Entertainment Trends in 2021!

In this article we will tackle trends that are expected to continue or start happening in 2021 in the LBE industry. The shift was already made towards a more holistic experience, to a more authentic and genuine experience for the end-customer.

This article was written with the help and contribution of Eugene Lubbers, Co-Founder and Chief at BRIQ Bookings, Joshua Liebman, Guest Experience Expert, and Louis Alfieri, Principal – Chief Creative Officer of Raven Sun Creative.

Family Entertainment Center 2021

Here’s a list of what you will discover in this article:

The Transformation Economy

Guest Experience

Online Bookings

Hospitality

Sustainability

The Transformation Economy

Businesses must form unique connections to secure their customers’ affections, and ensure their economic vitality. However, 2020 was a year where people didn’t get the chance to spend as much time with their friends, doing the activities they used to love previously. The cinema became the living room, the VR experiences became video games, and so on. That’s why in 2021 the experience economy is a must-have and it’s booming more than ever before.

“Your offering has to be transformational. It should fulfill an aspirational need and be compelling enough to warrant leaving home or your phone to engage and participate. People need to know the importance of their “why” and that the experience is something they cannot get at home. As a result, the quality of the experience has to be elevated significantly higher than what is available to them via in-home entertainment.”

— Louis Alfieri, Principal – Chief Creative Officer of Raven Sun Creative

People have been spending their money on experiences rather than physical things for a long time. The only difference this year has made is that the experience has to bring that change to the table and make them pay attention to what they choose to spend their money on. However, we are all in the age of attention economy, because individuals can be so distracted with all the stimuli found around that it can be quite difficult to determine them to even enter your doors, as they are, let’s say, “paying attention” to other activities such as staying inside and watching a movie, instead of visiting your center.

Entering your guests’ hearts and minds may seem like an easy thing to do, but the current world environment has become quite intricate. Thus, making it hard to interfere with people’s attention span. Truth be told, there’s a continuous battle the Location Based Entertainment is facing, especially during this time. Where has your audience gone? The simple answer: everywhere. The long answer: they give their undivided attention to things that they connect to much more easily, they choose accessibility, comfort, connection, and empathy. One of the Location Based Entertainemnt Trends in 2021 is that you have to think about how are you going to offer experiences your customers can’t do at home.

Guest Experience

This is a term that specialists couldn’t stress enough in 2020 and it continues to be an emerging Location-Based Entertainment trend in 2021. However, it comes with some new approaches that can better improve the way customers experience your brand. First of all, with the pandemic striking, everything went hyper-local, as people were in a constant need to connect to communities within their local reach. As brand recognition on its own isn’t enough anymore, people are desiring a personal connection with your brand. You have to get yourself more involved within your local area in 2021 by creating various events that will draw in more guests.

“Brands will need to rebuild relationships that they may have had with loyal guests prior to the pandemic and leverage what made these guests loyal in the first place. Guests’ expectations are based on what brands promise them and guarantee to deliver consistently, so the promise for a clean and safe facility cannot be understated.”

— Joshua Liebman, Guest Experience Expert

Secondly, your first touchpoint with your customers is your digital presence. By identifying who is your consumer, and what they want, you are able to create outstanding experiences. Create an end-to-end seamless customer journey in order to attract more customers to your brand. Generate content in the digital sphere and connect it to the physical.

The focus in 2021 is on creating an infinite entertainment experience, one that takes your customer on an outstanding journey in your facility.

“When looking through this framework, a consumer must ask why. Why is this compelling, necessary, or valuable enough for me to take a risk (with myself, family, or community) or to expend my (limited) budget to have this object or experience? Why is this worth doing and why is this different from other choices? Why will this bring me and my family joy?”

— Louis Alfieri, Principal – Chief Creative Officer of Raven Sun Creative

RELATED: How Choosing The Right Demographics Can Help You Grow Your FEC

The Touchless Experience

Contactless and self-service are here to stay, say specialists. Feeling super-safe is not a trend anymore, but it’s something each operator will have to consider throughout the next couple of years and make it one of the big priorities.

“At the foundation, operators need to meet (or exceed) health and safety standards, then they need to tell guests what they are doing, and they need to incorporate these new operating components into their brand promise, and continuously show how they are implementing these. The customer needs to see it directly, it cannot just be done behind the scenes.”

— Joshua Liebman, Guest Experience Expert

Online Bookings

There has been a massive increase in the percentage of online bookings for guests in 2020, and as the technology continues to rapidly rise, the need to adapt to a new customer mindset is mandatory in 2021. According to Briq Bookings, customers are looking for customizable and bundled experiences. They are also looking for the ability to book from anywhere, device responsiveness, a seamless booking experience, and the ability to make online payments.

Online Bookings FEC

This is, once again, one of the most important Location Based Entertainment trends to follow in 2021 and the following years, as well as the reservations-only policy.

Last year, a lot of venues implemented the reservation system, which seems to work for the safety perception of the customers. In this way, operators are controlling the capacities, they are knowing how many people are coming and the guests are feeling safe in that specific location.

Online Booking FEC
Online Bookings for FECs 2021
Bookings-related data provided by BRIQ Bookings

RELATED: Marketing for FECs: Best Ideas for Success in 2021

Hospitality

When we think about the term hospitality, most frequently the hotels & resorts industry pop into our heads. And that’s true as when we’re looking at this particular industry we can see exceptional hospitality examples. The Family Entertainment industry is not that as accustomed to what this term means, and how important it really is to the overall guest experience. As the pandemic caused the lack of face-to-face interactions, one of the most important aspects for operators is to focus on first-class interactions with the customers. Providing a warm (and safe) welcome to the guests cannot stop at only “Hello, how may we be of service today?”, but it has to exceed that.

Location Based Entertainment Trends

“It will continue to be an uphill battle for operators to prove to these individuals that they can visit, be safe, and still have an excellent experience. And finally, there will be many people who are in the middle. They are eager to come back but still hesitant but are willing to ease in to coming back to attractions and basing their future decisions on what their initial experiences are like.”

— Joshua Liebman, Guest Experience Expert

To make sure bad experiences are less frequent, hospitality has to be at the core of it all. This means, training your staff on how to be more friendly and welcoming to all of the guests, as well as making sure everyone is safe. Having people at the front desk that are well prepared, know how to answer all questions, and are constantly responding to the guests’ needs is a must-have in 2021

Sustainability

With COVID-19, the way most people view certain aspects of how they live, collaborate, and socialize has changed. This includes the fact that most people pay a lot more attention to the sustainability factor. Given the fact that Millennials are now starting to be the parents entering an FEC, or the group that comes for a bowl in the center. Both Millennials and Gen Z-ers are more inclined to care about the environment. If you haven’t considered that so far, sustainability is something to consider in 2021.

A study made in 2019 showed that a percentage of 87% of millennials “think that companies should address urgent social and environmental issues.” However, now that people spent more time outside, connecting with nature and doing various activities with their loved ones, they realized that they do/buy/act infinitely in a very finite world. That why this is one of the important Location Based Entertainment Trends to look out for in 2021.

Download the FREE E-book with 10 Location-based Entertainment Trends for 2021!

Read more about the trends in the industry!

  • Brand Storytelling
  • Virtual Queuing
  • Competitive socializing
  • Gamification
  • and many others!

8+