Get used to running laser tag games by using your friends and family as guinea-pigs. Run some test games for at least a week after you receive your laser tag equipment. Give yourself some time. No big hoop-la here. This is simply a series of dry runs. These free-of-charge events are much for your benefit as they will be fun for your friends and family.This gives you enough time organize some of our "back-of-house" things. For example, you'll need to condition your batteries. Plus it gives you a good feel for how to use the live-action gaming equipment. For some more info on how to condition your batteries, refer to the Fact Sheet.
A good place to start is to investigate what other similar attractions. What do they charge in your local market? (If you want to go into full spy mode, check our business espionage blog.)
Key things to consider when pricing your tickets are value and your market. Price on value. But cover your costs! Remember you are creating one of their best memories so that's priceless!
Price in your market. What are other similar entertainers charging?
Check out the blog that covers how much to charge for a laser tag ticket.
Of course, there are lots of things to do to set up a new business. Stuff like legals, accounting items, etc. We recommend including this expenditure in your business plan under your first year's cash flow. If you are adding laser tag to an existing attraction then you’ll probably have this admin already handled.
The more time you have to whet the appetite of your audience, the better. I've seen some operators have a 12-month count-down before they run their first event. Sure a year might be overkill a good marketing campaign. A period of 4 to 6 weeks prior to opening your doors can be very effective.Think laterally to save on costs. For example, your cousin might own a local restaurant. Ask them if you can negotiate discounted or donated food for the event. This could be in exchange for free team-building or employee of the month prizes. Use all of your 'grassroots' marketing you can to promote the event.
When you advertise your business. It's you telling the public how good you are. But when a newspaper writes about you, or a podcast host review you, it's a third-party endorsement.Drop into the local newspaper introduce yourself, and chat about your new business.
You are now confident in the use of the laser tag equipment. Next, think about the flow from booking to delivery. Many battlefield operators offer a reduced ticket price for the first month of operations. These opening specials can take the pressure off you and your staff as customers realize you are a new business.
The first thing to do is invite people from within your sphere of influence, i.e. past business contacts, friends, and family. You need your core support group there as well as influential business people.
See if you can get the local mayor or state Governor there to support your new enterprise. Look who’s to say if they will come? But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know! I’d start from the top, and work down. 😊
You need to get this invitation out early. That way if your "Plan A" doesn't work, you can move to "Plan B"!
Keep good records. Run a compeititon. To win the grand prize attendees need to give their contact details. You could have a QR code so people can complete a quick Google form. Use these names and emails as the start of your mailing list.
Getting your grand opening right could kick-start your battlefield. It is a great way to help you get known in your market.
There's a chapter in our book “Right on Target” with insights on how to plan out your grand opening.
Someone who created an awesome Grand Opening was Jenni Stevenson from Hick’s Place.
“Well, in starting Hick's Place we wanted to create a place for our community. We wanted people from the surrounding area to get out and about in the great outdoors. We wanted our guests to experience mother nature and enjoy each other’s company. Without all the technology that so often consumes our busy lives,” said Jenni.
Jenni has a diverse background. She has worked as a firefighter, social worker, and is a children’s book author. She also has army experience. Her life experience has taught her one thing. If you can connect with people on an emotional level then you can make anything happen.
“This passion for people and community is my life’s work,” said Jenni.
In fact, Hick’s Place is a beautiful project Jenni has created with her partner Troy (also known as "Hick").
“Troy’s loves the outdoors and mother nature. We wanted to share this and educate others. It was the perfect match for Hick's Place and a Love Story with each other,” she said.
The couple took every step of this journey together.
Social media was a big part of Jenni’s grand opening plans.
First, she created a Facebook Page for her new battlefield.
Next, she sent out campaign messages and invitations to vision tours at Hick's place. Not only did this share what they created. But it got feedback from the community.
She also created an “event” on Facebook and invited her friends to attend.
Jenni connected with government officials at the city and state level and engaged with her local community.
“I believe it is about connecting people and emotions.
"I found common ground. I made sure I presented a shared vision for Hick’s Place and for those I spoke with. I took everyone on the journey with me. What does this mean? Now our community has a personal attachment to Hicks Place. Once I gained their trust, I had an entire community marketing our business and sharing the news,” she said.
“It’s been truly amazing. However, the key to such practice is that I truly believe in what we do for others. This is not a money-driven business it’s about the experience and creating memories,” said Jenni.
“We are truly thankful for all our love and support for this project. From state Senators, city officials, community, parents and children local military families and friends they truly feel that Hick’s Place is their place!” she said.
“We have a unique grand opening where we provide a day of entertainment and activities where we incorporate non-profits and local businesses to highlight what they have to offer for families.
"A portion of the day's profit goes to local non-profits,” she said.
The Battlefield Sports University also has some useful hints and tips for your grand opening, such as * example media releases/press releases * checklist for action items * hints and tips on how to take a good photo.
What worked for your Grand Opening? Let us know!
#battlefieldlive #smallbusiness #grandopening #battlefieldsports