How We Handled the Curveballs of COVID

To call the COVID-19 pandemic a “curveball” would be an understatement. The virus shook the world in the early spring and continues to alter the way business is done around the world every day.

The entertainment industry is no different. The pandemic has disrupted operations for every business, and forced us to reevaluate how things are done.

Recently, we ran into a situation where COVID restrictions threw a huge curveball into one of our laser tag installations for a client in New York. In this blog, we’ll discuss the restrictions, how we worked to overcome them, and lessons that we learned from the situation.

A Unique Challenge

Last year, we took on a laser tag project for a client out in Buffalo, New York. The project was running smooth and everything was on track. The attraction was scheduled to be installed in the spring of 2020, and we had already started fabrication.

Then, the pandemic hit, and travel restrictions were put into place to help stop the spread of COVID. The attraction was completed and ready to go, but our team was unable to travel to install it. It was time to get creative. Luckily, that’s exactly what we do best. We were ready to come up with a plan.

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Addressing the Problem

The facility was preparing to open, so we had to act quick to come up with a way to install the laser tag. Since our team was unable to travel to New York, we had to turn to outside parties in New York to help.

Luckily, we were able to identify subcontractors, specifically a construction firm, to help us get the job done. Over the course of several weeks, we trained the subcontractors to install the laser tag arena. Our team created installation guides and how-to videos to teach the subcontractors exactly what they had to do to get the arena installed.

curveballs of covid

Completing the Installation

Meanwhile, while the subcontractors were being trained, our production team faced a challenge of their own. Because of the limitations, our team had to put in our best work to make sure the core elements of the arena could stand out on its own. Without the mural and prop work, target integration and other features of our laser tag installs, the attention to detail in the other parts of the arena was especially important. Our team rallied and put in the extra work to produce a phenomenal final product.

Eventually, through the guidance of our team, the subcontractors got the main pieces of the arena installed and ready for operation. Despite not being 100% finished, the arena still opened to allow facility guests to experience an immersive game of laser tag. The arena was still our product, still manufactured by us, and still met our high quality standards; we just had to get creative with actually installing it. We were able to overcome obstacles, find ways to adapt, and ultimately get the job done to the best of our ability.

Lessons Learned

There are still some loose ends that need to be tied up. Our team still plans on going out to the location as soon as possible to complete some mural work, lighting effects, and polish up some of the finer details.

“Whether it’s a local hiccup, or an international hiccup, or an unanticipated delay, you ultimately must have the mindset that the show must go on. You have to continue to work the problem, and not make excuses. It takes creativity and perseverance to make sure you have something that functions very well. It may not be perfect, but you need a game plan to get it across the finish line,” commented Russ Van Natta, our VP of Business Development, about the project.

As Russ alluded to, this project and its restrictions taught us one major lesson: the show must go on. In a lot of ways, that has been the theme of 2020. We’ve all had to find ways to adapt, overcome and improvise. Despite restrictions that prevented us from being physically present to complete our typical laser tag install, we were still able to get the project done and allow the client to open the attraction and start making money.

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