Creative Works VP of Sales, Russ Van Natta, explains how to choose a theme for your laser tag arena.

Hey everyone welcome to another 360 Insight video. Today we’re going to be talking about how to pick a laser tag arena theme.

Now, this is a question that we get almost on the daily basis of “What should I be going after? What’s really popular right now? What’s going to last and not be just a temporary trend?” A lot of this comes down to, and I’m going to give you the classic, it depends answer.

It depends on what demographics that you’re going after. Are you looking at young children with the Monkey Joe’s type demographic breakdown of that 6 to 13 age range? Are you looking at something like a main event where you’re going after the young ones, all the way up through the adults? Or are you looking at something that’s really more adult oriented, a little bit more like a Dave and Busters type vibe?

Now, there are different things that we see resonate a little bit differently within those demographics so when we look at the young kiddos, we see things like jungle and adventure quest where they’re going through these ancient ruins and we’re able to do a lot of bright visual pieces, lots of greens with animals. That really really does well and makes mom very comfortable you know, especially with the younger children when they come in there to be more at ease with the environment, not being overwhelmed so to speak, but still having a high level of visual engagement. As we start to then look at “Okay, what if I have older demographics that I’m really trying to focus on?”

Which makes sense because actually the largest growing laser tag audience right now is between 28 and 38 and that really comes from your average gamer these days is about 35 years old and has been playing video games for 13 years. Now, laser tag is a natural extension of that type of environment where they can’t get it at home on the TV or through online gaming, opportunities so now they come and can do laser tag and it’s just as next level experience so themes that we see that resonate really well within that group right now are things like SciFi, maybe some urban battle type environments where we can do some tanks and some jets in some local city landmarks. Again, looking at things like Destiny, popular video game franchises like that, Halo, etc. That’s something that those extremely popular game franchises and the things that make them feel at home.

Now, if you’re looking at potentially splitting the difference on those and looking at something of “How do I have some older appeal but still some younger, accessibility with my theme?” There are different ways that we can do that. I’m typically a fan of “Build it for the adults and the kids will come,” because kids want to be doing what they see the older kids or adults doing. And that’s just a natural, human tendency that we can take just a natural, human tendency that we can take sandbags in a more of a warscape scene if you’re looking for a really intense adult experience, but if I maybe want to split the difference and go towards mixed age family groups and and a little bit of this and a little bit of that I can maybe do an urban environment with a little bit of some explosions and some elements. Just maybe ratchet down the intensity of the visual graphics as far as the violence goes. Really, it kind of just depends on what you want that guest experience to be, but maybe it’s the color pallets that we use in the level of detail that we soften in order to make that more kid accessible. Young kids are playing things like Fortnite and Call of Duty at a much younger age, so the acceptance level of different intensities is growing, but we still want to be respectful and understand that while yes, there’s a significant portion of birthday party traffic with young kids that’s going to be coming through we still need something to focus on for folks that actually have the disposable income that are spending more time on out of home entertainment, like those older millennials that are now coming into their second in and main career paths now.

So, those are just a couple pf the considerations that we look at. The other thing, obviously, is “What’s the competition in my market doing?” It doesn’t make sense for me to come out with a pirate laser tag theme if someone down the street has that same piece. So, we can put new spins, new turns.

What matches our corporate identity as a whole as well as then: “What do we think you really gets us excited for long term?” James Cameron is coming out with 3 new Avatar movies, so doing something that’s inspired by that is going to have relevance for the next 8 years because of all those sequels that will be coming out every 2 years so really paying attention to pop culture, what movie franchises, what game franchises are really popular makes a what game franchises are really popular makes a big difference, but then we can always fine tune the little knobs and variables to then start honing in on the exact age that we think would be most appropriate for our experience.

So as always, you guys continue to get after it and we look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks!