How to Reinvest in your Entertainment Business for Long-Term Payoffs

Right now, family entertainment center (FEC) operators have a very unique opportunity. After months of closures during the pandemic, facilities are starting to reopen and guests are becoming more comfortable returning to entertainment centers. This presents a valuable situation for facilities: the opportunity to make a second first impression.

We all know the importance of a first impression. As our President Armando always reminds us, you have 8 seconds to make an impression on guests when they walk through your door. An opportunity to make a second first impression is a privilege and there’s one way to make the impression impactful: reinvesting in your FEC.

Our President, Armando Lanuti

Occasionally reinvesting in your business over time is always a key to keeping your facility fresh, bringing in new customers, keeping existing customers excited, and staying ahead of your competition. Below, we’ll cover why reinvesting is so important, why now is the time to do it, and specific ways to spend money to keep your business fresh.

The Importance of Reinvesting

First of all, after such a difficult year for many FECs, we know that shelling out money to upgrade your facility may not seem like the best idea. For a lot of businesses, spending a lot of money at this time might simply be impossible.

Fear not! While “reinvesting” in your business sounds intimidating or expensive, it doesn’t have to be as complicated or costly as you might think. We’ll get to specific (and inexpensive) ways to reinvest below. But first, it’s crucial to understand the importance of reinvesting. Here are a few benefits:

  • Make a strong impression: as discussed above, many of your consistent customers have not been to your facility since the pandemic began. This is your chance to WOW them when they open your door again. Think about being in their shoes and the excitement you’d feel if you walked into your favorite entertainment facility for the first time in a while and saw a new layout, new attractions, new theming, new structural changes, etc.
  • Long term payoffs: this is, after all, an INVESTMENT. It’s not a cash throwaway. While it will cost a bit of money up front, the long term payoffs of this reinvestment will be well worth it down the road.
  • Stay ahead of your competition: reinvesting in your business, especially if your competitors are not, will help you get ahead and stay ahead. Likewise, if your competitors are making these moves and you’re not, you risk falling behind and playing catch up down the road.

Why Now is the Time to Do It

There’s perhaps never been a better time to upgrade your facility. In addition to the second first impression, you have an opportunity to establish (or reestablish) your center as the “hottest spot in town.” This is especially true with many entertainment centers having unfortunately closed down permanently during the pandemic. You have a chance to capture their customers and increase your market dominance, and it’s an opportunity to make a first impression with even more people.

Is your business upgraded and ready to impress, entertain and make memories for both new and existing customers?

Specific Ways You Can Reinvest in Your Business

Now that you understand the importance and benefits of reinvesting in your business, let’s look at some specific examples of HOW you can make this happen. As mentioned above, some of these options are inexpensive or even FREE, requiring only a time investment as opposed to a monetary investment.

  • General marketing investments: reinvesting in your marketing efforts is inexpensive and impactful. Here are some ideas:
    • Update your website. We can’t stress the importance of this enough: investing some time in updating your website IS worth it. As covered in this blog, studies show that 70-80% of people research a company online before visiting them. People are going to your website for info! Are they finding what they need?
    • Upgrade your media. Similar to your website, people want to see and hear what your facility is like. If you have very old, or even worse, stock images or videos on your website and social media, you need to update that ASAP. Doing this is easy, free, and can be done with just your smartphone. Check out this blog about pictures and this blog about videos for information and more ideas.
    • Social media. Another free way to make a worthwhile investment in your facility is by upgrading your social media game. Social media is the best free way to promote changes and updates, advertise deals and specials, and show the world what a great place your facility is to make memories and have a great time.
    • Ads. Paid ads, both through Google and Facebook, and other social media, allow you to target very specific customers and demographics.
    • New packages, bundles, deals and promos. Reinvestment can come in the form of new deals at your business too. This can draw in more new and existing customers and have a long-term payoff.
  • New attractions: An obvious way to upgrade your attraction mix and bring in many more new and existing customers.
  • New props or upgrades to existing attractions: a cheaper alternative to bringing in a whole new attraction. Upgrades the whole experience for guests for a low price.
Reinvesting in your FEC
A large prop for a laser tag arena we recently installed
  • Upgraded food and beverage options: Does your facility serve food and beverage? Adding a few new menu items can make a big impact on the guest experience.
  • New theming: New interior and exterior theming, signs, murals, etc.
  • Upkeep and replacement of structural items: upgrades to flooring, ceiling, lighting, countertops, chairs, etc.

The examples above are just starting suggestions. Here’s another way to think about reinvesting and upgrading your guest experience: What is the most unique aspect of your FEC? Why do people come to your facility over every other option?

Once you’ve identified that, ask this follow up question: “How can we make this aspect of our business even BETTER?” Then, come up with a list of ways to upgrade that. This is a great way to reinvest in your business.

Whether you use one of our suggestions above or come up with your own ideas, reinvesting in your business right now will be well worth the payoff in the long run.