Ecosystem Series: The ROI of Updating Your Center

Time Your Updates to Positively Impact Your Revenue

We’re transitioning from operational topics, like the science of merchandising and how to get rid of excess inventory, to blogs pertaining to the higher ecosystem of your center — AKA how to make all pieces of your center work together to generate high profitability. Our first stop in our Ecosystem Series is a timely topic: Avoiding the“September Scaries” through business updates. 👇

It’s no secret Summer is the busiest time of year for family and bowling entertainment centers. Each year we see the same trend: redemption sales peak in March and remain steady throughout summer before hitting their lowest point of the year in September.

With September being only a month away, how can you start planning to update areas of your center?

While some of you are looking at completely remodeling your game room and redemption areas during slow times, we speak to many others who are looking for small, incremental changes, too.

We spoke to a couple industry pros who are in the business of revamping centers to help drive revenue and learned a thing or two about the cycle of upgrading to keep your center profitable and efficient.

Let’s start with the small upgrades that you can implement to create an enhanced customer experience in your game and redemption areas: 👇

Lighting and Acrylic Displays

Updating your lighting and/or acrylics is a low-cost, yet effective way of enhancing your game and redemption area. Think of your redemption area as your biggest merchandiser machine. You want it to attract guests and motivate more game play. Aimeé Dolehanty, Redemption Plus’ Digital Experience Architect says “ Light kits are a relatively easy element to implement in down times. These kits light up your prizes effectively and there are various price levels to fit any budget.”

Lighting columns run between $600-$1500 each. Light columns, like the ones pictured above, are an excellent way to get your redemption and game room to “compete” with each other. Aside from a feeling of continuance within your center, lighting naturally attracts the eye and draws attention to games or prize themes that you want your customers to see.

Acrylic towers are another quick upgrade to your redemption area to highlight your prizes. Acrylic towers run about $500 per tower, can hold 3–4 products and are typically 1'x1'x3.5' tall.

Be careful not to get too thrifty with acrylic towers, however. While low prices are tempting, cheaper acrylics crack and scratch quickly and thus start looking worn in a small time frame. We provide design consultation services, so feel free to reach out to your Account Manager to learn more about how lighting and acrylics can be implemented during lulls in your season.

See examples of light columns and acrylic towers in action on our design portfolio!

Updating Your Attractions

Russ Van Natta, VP of Sales at Creative Works gave us insights on how to determine what updates you may need to implement in order to keep driving revenue from existing attractions:

“There are a few factors I look at when evaluating an attraction’s need to update. First, are you doing small, cosmetic updates every 1–2 years to keep the attraction slowly evolving its look and staying fresh in the eyes of the guests? Doing this helps justify the need to raise pricing every year since guests are seeing new features in the space.

Second, what’s the annual traffic through your attraction? Is the wear and tear from normal traffic requiring some TLC and touch-ups? Or are you fine as is? Does it look as good as it did when you opened the attraction?

The third factor is the introduction of new technology or offerings with the attraction — are there new bells and whistles that provide a more immersive experience, and help you outpace the competition?

Laser Tag, for example, can benefit from a small addition to the space at years 1, 3, & 5. Little things like a new character or feature in your mural work, adding some entrance theming, or a couple of props with new, interactive targets can keep the attraction feeling fresh and more immersive.

A few proactive elements over the course of 5–8 years can do wonders in allowing you to charge a justifiably higher price point — easy return on investment! Large-scale attraction lifespans, like Laser Tag, can range anywhere from 8–12 years before a complete revamp is needed (as long as you have incrementally updated it over the course of those years).”

Time for Training?

Squeezing in training sessions for your staff is hard to do during the busiest times of the year. But during down times, you can you maximize the investment you make in your employees. Our friends at Trainertainment provide ongoing services at various levels of your business that can improve your customer experience and create efficiencies in your operations. Check out their services here for more information.

One of the benefits of working with Redemption Plus is having access to redemption-specific training. Because many of the staff you have working your redemption area are not full-time or are filling in for another employee, we have created quick video training guides to help them keep your merchandise looking great.

Your staff can now learn how to clean and stock your cranes (for example) in less than 10 minutes, ensuring you keep your revenue-drivers in shape and attractive to your customers. We update our training videos every 2 months, with education on everything from how to upload DPLs from our site to your POS, to how to properly stock your backroom for efficiencies.

Bonus? We provide training videos through our customer portals, which can be delivered on a handheld tablet so your staff can learn while in the redemption area or out on the game room floor. Learn more about our unique Service Packages here or ask your Account Manager how to get your staff educated!

Update Software to Create Bottom-Line Growth

While many of you have an employee or two on the game room floor every day to check game performance, asking them to test your card reader system during down times is a smart move. Nothing is more aggravating to a customer than trying to play a game but the reader doesn’t respond.

By testing each reader in your center, you are ensuring your customers have no problems playing your games (and coming back to play more). During slow times, you can also measure your game payouts which directly effect game revenue and COGs.

An aspect that often gets overlooked because so few people actually “own” it is your POS system’s redemption inventory. While it may be arduous to go through all your inventory, it’s essential in maximizing your ROI on merchandise products.

Here’s why: When your inventory fails to get updated (old items are still in your system, incorrect par levels are set, or incorrect inventory allocations run amuck), you run the risk of spending more on the wrong products than you need to. Neglect of your POS’ inventory management also slows down end-to-end efficiencies, which drive direct labor costs up as your staff has to create workarounds each week to get the job done.

Start with one thing

The September Scaries are close, but by focusing on even one “upgrade” can help you combat a slow revenue trend. Even starting with just one of the tips we gave you is better than nothing. Start with an item with quick and simple implementation steps and then move onto the next when it’s accomplished.

As always, we’re here to help should you need any assistance or advice!

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Here’s a sneak peek of upcoming topics 👇🙊

  • Ecosystem Series: The “Swipe” Economy
  • How we ensure the top prizes in the industry
  • Ecosystem Series: Importance of incentivizing attractions
  • Ecosystem Series: Marketing at a higher level

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Our proprietary Storyboards are a series of pre-designed merchandising layouts, backed by analytics. They’re created with a specific theme or category in mind to engage your guests and make finding the perfect prize a piece of cake.