For example, if you have booked say, three groups of 10 gamers and then the fourth group of 15 people call you and wants to book in at the same time, then you might have to turn them away. In this case, not only you but the group who missed out are disappointed if one of the original groups doesn’t make it.
It's frustrating for all concerned.
While it may be impossible to eliminate completely, here are 7 tips to reduce no-shows in your battlefield business. These tips come from Battlefield Operators around the world;
a transportable ride company
an outdoor tactical laser tag operation
a laser tag rental business
a businesses that runs both laser tag and paintball
an indoor laser tag arena, and finally
a sports center and multi-activity adventure park.
These business insights come from operators in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, the USA and the Netherlands.
Requesting an event deposit is a common practice among Battlefield Operators, which ensures that the customer has some "skin in the game." The deposit can range from 50% of the booking to the full payment upfront.
In fact, the practice of taking a deposit is common among many event businesses.
Tim Breugelmans from Springbeest in Belgium says the best way to ensure no-shows is to ask for a deposit: “We do more or less the same; we invoice 50% [of the booking] up-front.”
That way your customer has some "skin in the game."
“What is my best tip to prevent no-shows? 1. Deposit. 2. See Number 1,” said Jonathon Simonetis from Tas Laser Skirmish, in Tasmania Australia.
Many laser tag businesses send a confirmation email out the day a customer makes a booking.
The Battlefield HQ software system enables operators to send out a batch of confirmation emails that takes exactly what is recorded in our database and sent to them to double-check that all their booking details are correct.
“With our local rental business. Laser Tag in a Box, we send an email confirmation to the organizer so they can double-check. This way you can ensure the booking details are correct. You'd be surprised how many 'Boundary Streets' or 'High Streets' or 'Second Avenues' or for that matter 'Springfield' suburbs there are! So, by asking the customer to check the booking details we can avoid mix-ups,” said Nicole Lander from Laser Tag in a Box, in Australia.
Lars Bek Jensen from Shoot To Thrill in Denmark believes that texting has more cut-through than a standard email message. “We text 1 day before [their event]. Email is NOT AS efficient,” he said.
Have you noticed that there is a particular type of customer who often does not show up?
Ask yourself “Who’s not showing up? Is there a pattern?”
Many of our bookings come from Moms of 10-year-old or 11-year-old boys, this type of customer almost always attends the event they have organized. (Apart from the rare occasion that little Jonny has broken his leg the day before his birthday party!)
Teens who are organizing their own party or someone who is organizing a Buck’s Party or Stag Do can be more unreliable.
Knowing which customer groups are likely to offer the best return on investment will impact your marketing plans.
“At our local battlefield operations, in Laser Skirmish, we off a discount for pre-paid tickets,” said Nicole Lander.
A walk-in ticket is $51pp for a 2-hour session. But if the customer pre-pays (at least 2 business days in advance) for the same public session ticket the price drops to only $41pp. Incentives are also given to customers in large groups. Pre-pay for 10 to 19 gamers the ticket is $37pp. Pre-pay for 20 to 29 gamers the ticket price drops right down to $33pp.
Likewise if an organizer books a group of 30 or more players then the ticket price drops to a low of only $29pp.
Dennis Bidlake from Mango Hill Skirmish in Brisbane, Australia says “We ask our customers to pay in advance. Either credit card on the phone, EFT or cash here. This covers everyone's bases.”
Steve Calabro from Laser Ops Entertainment in Oregon, USA goes one step further. Laser Ops Entertainment asks for pre-payment of the booking. “We collect credit card details. No shows are charged for their event,” he said.
Online booking systems and shopping carts are not only convenient for customers, but they can also help reduce the number of no-shows.
“I use bookeo. It sets rules and guidelines for cancellations and no-shows that customers agree to when they book,” said Steve Calabro.
Bookeo is a cloud-based app that offers a reservation system. Popular with Escape Room operators, the booking system enables customers to book group (public session) games, private games as well as corporate team-building activities.
The Battlefield HQ software also enables you to record a “standby” list.
If, for example, you need a minimum of 6 gamers to open a public session and someone has enquired about booking only 2 players then you can record their contact details and put them on standby. That way if the event does open up you can call them back and book them in.
As social media has become ubiquitous its power as a marketing channel has exploded.
Many people check their Facebook account or Instagram accounts every day.
The latest research from GWI shows how much time people are spending on social media. GWI found that while social media engagement has plateaued, people still spend loads of time on it. In North America, it is 2 hours and 2 minutes on average per day. In Australia/Asia-Pacific, it is 2 hours and 19 minutes each day. But this is surpassed by those in Latin America who spend, on average, 3 hours and 29 minutes on social media in a typical day!
At our local battlefields in South East Queensland, we have four Facebook profiles for our four venues. This makes that gamers can check in when they are on-site. But it also means we can publish a Facebook event for our weekly sessions.
"This is particularly useful if we are running a special event like our FORTNITE-live Battle Royale games or our events for Veteran Gamers," said Nicole Lander from Laser Skirmish in Australia.
While implementing administrative systems for deposits, confirmations and follow-ups is all helpful the fundamental way to ensure no-shows is to offer your games a fabulous gaming experience.
Hans Louwerse from Sport & Survival Team in Ede, the Netherlands says: “No shows.... not happening... make sure that your play area is that good... that they want to play on it. And also play games with good instructions and ensure good guidance... that’s important.”
Whatever other ways you employ to help avoid no-shows the ultimate safeguard is to offer a thrilling and memorable experience for your games. That way, they will want to keep coming back.
Providing excellent customer service can help reduce no-shows. Responding promptly to inquiries and providing personalized recommendations can make customers more likely to attend.
Non-attendance of customers can be a colossal pain in the butt. Not to mention it can be a pain in your hip pocket.
Unfortunately, sometimes they are unavoidable.
But knowing how to reduce their impact on your business is a priority.
The issue of no-shows is not a simple one.
There is a myriad of reasons why someone does not turn up, especially if they have already paid for their ticket!
But putting these seven tips into action can certainly be a good start to reducing the number of no-shows at your Battlefield Business.
In conclusion, no-shows can be detrimental to laser tag businesses, but implementing these tips can significantly reduce the occurrence of no-shows. By providing excellent customer service and personalized recommendations, offering incentives for pre-payment, and implementing a cancellation policy, customers will be more likely to attend laser tag events.