This article is a 3 part series called FEC’s Attraction Mix: 101. This is the second article of this series.

When trying to decide on the ideal attraction mix for a family entertainment center, doing research should be the first step. But have you wondered if there are some “golden rules” for having a great Family Entertainment Center attraction mix?

Business leaders are sharing their thoughts on what is the best approach, especially when considering opening a new FEC. Understanding trends and what people truly want are two very important aspects.

But what else is there? What should you look for? The financial approach and how you can maximize your net profit are something that we’re sure you have included in your plan.

Today we’re breaking this down as we’re talking about mastering a Family Entertainment Center attraction mix, demographics, and pricing for it – with plenty of examples!

We asked Dutch Magrath, President of Amusement Products, a company with over 60 years of experience as a manufacturer, operator, builder, and supplier to the Family Entertainment Center (FEC) industry, about what makes a perfect attraction mix and how core attractions for FECs and secondary attractions can maximize your capital in your business!

The Golden Rules Of Having The Greatest Attraction Mix

Focus on core attractions. There are those types of attractions that have been on the market for a long time, and other attractions that definitely generate gross revenue equal or exceeding the cost of your investment. Every successful FEC starts with a base of what the industry calls “core attractions” or “anchor attractions”.

Core attractions draw customers to your facility

Getting that diverse family market to come to the facility is the key to the success of a facility

DUTCH MAGRATH, PRESIDENT OF AMUSEMENT PRODUCTS

You want to make sure that whatever attractions you decide to purchase is feasible for the place, market, and target audience.

How Many Core Attractions Should You Have?

Dutch shared with us that a Family Entertainment Center attraction mix should include at least two or three anchor attractions to pull in traffic to your facility. 

When deciding what type of core attractions for FECs you want to anchor in your facility, keep in mind that they have to be relevant to the main demographics you want to attract. For instance, your attractions should work the target market you’ve chosen – kids, teens, adults, seniors, and even the corporate market.

When you are deciding on your main attractions, choose them so you can attract the people in your target audience.
The traditional core attractions for FECs (depending on whether it’s an indoor or outdoor facility) are mini-golf, go-karts, laser tag, bowling, theatres, soft-play, and bumper cars.

Create An Attraction Mix For Everyone

For example, bowling has been around for 60 to 80 years and is considered to be an important anchor attraction because it targets the whole family (kids, teens, adults, and even seniors), and it’s an attraction that generates a lot of gross revenue, being one of the main reasons people come to your facility in the first place.

Did you know that more than 67 million people in the United States bowl during a year?

You can integrate bowling alleys with arcades, laser tag, and one attraction that’s exciting and new for your customers, like VR, for example. Mix it up with a great dining experience and you have yourself a perfect mix of attraction for an FEC.

If you don’t want to choose bowling, you can opt for go-karts, which is also a great core attraction and has a great proven track record of being a moneymaker, indoors, and outdoors.. Other core attractions for FECs can be laser tag, ropes courses, a skating rink (if you have a big facility), and others.

Keep in mind that you should choose attractions that complement each other and will help you create amazing package deals. If you have people waiting in line for an attraction, or if an attraction is busy, you will want them to do something else in the meantime.

When you add an attraction to your mix, you will need to analyze what happens to each attraction’s revenue so you don’t experience what business experts would call “cannibalization” of revenue from the rest of your attractions. This means that one attraction will become so popular that other attractions are less frequently used, which can significantly affect your ROI.

Pro tip: Before choosing your mix of attraction you should definitely check what other FECs are doing, especially those who have a similar attraction mix you are considering. By doing this it is easier for you to determine what the per capita is for each attraction.

What are the secondary attractions?

Things that draw customers in, because they are exciting or even new, but are less expensive investments.

What you should do with your facility is not have one thing, but a combination of things that you can package together for a single price.

DUTCH MAGRATH, PRESIDENT OF AMUSEMENT PRODUCTS

The secondary things have a good draw factor, like Virtual Reality Arenas, ropes courses, motion simulators, rock climbing walls, laser mazes, ax throwing, batting cages, bumper boats, inflatables,  arcades, and more.

P.S. Although an arcade is considered the main core attraction, it doesn’t have a draw factor of its own, as people won’t want to go to an arcade anymore. Arcades were very popular in the late 20th century, but not anymore.

People need something else to get them to the facility, and the arcade can be one of the 3 or 4 moneymakers and gross in net, because minimal labor is required.

Arcade is a core from necessity but it’s not a core from a draw.

DUTCH MAGRATH, PRESIDENT OF AMUSEMENT PRODUCTS

Focus on the Attraction being Repeatable and Long-term

You need to add attractions that can offer your guest a different experience whenever they decide to come to your facility and that is not just a one-time play. For example, laser-maze – the guests do it once and then they won’t feel the need to return and practice it or do it again, as it isn’t a high-thrill type of piece.

However, other things have changeability. For example, in the laser-tag arena, you can buy new guns, you can get new features, and play new games. Games can be reprogrammed to be of different scenarios so the experience is more exciting. They are built in such a way that customers experience it differently every time they visit the facility. 

Is the attraction easy to maintain and operate?

Another important aspect when it comes to choosing the perfect mix of attraction for an FEC is to check what are the labor costs and how easy it is to maintain.

You need to check how many staff members will need to be there (at all times) to operate the attraction. Can the operator do other things or does he have to be there at all times? Consider that especially now with the COVID-19 restrictions, some attractions may require some extra attention (disinfecting often, etc.)

The labor costs are the number one cost of every attraction, and if you get too high labor costs, you can’t cost-justify having it, no matter what the revenue of the game is.

DUTCH MAGRATH, PRESIDENT OF AMUSEMENT PRODUCTS

Pricing Your Attraction

Multi attraction tickets or a pay-one-price will draw your revenue up per person/per visit dramatically.

Dutch shares that things have dramatically changed over the years. Compared to years ago, when it was considered normal to ask for $3 to $4 per person, the average now should be around $15, $16 per guest/per facility/per visit.

He recommends that every operator should try to drive that revenue up for that individual, by creating package-deals. One way to do so is to offer a two-hour unlimited for 30$. In this way, you’re doubling their spend right off the bat for that spend and they get a lot more experiences with that money.

People now don’t want to come and just play mini-golf or bowling, they want to do a whole variety of things – VR, bumper cars, laser tag.

Per capita spend is key to profitability

In this way, their experience is better, their value for the visit is better, but your center’s economics is dramatically better because instead of having to get another customer in to get that extra revenue for making it up to 30$, you get that out of each person in that group.

DUTCH MAGRATH, PRESIDENT OF AMUSEMENT PRODUCTS

If you want to find out more, make sure to watch the full video below:

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