Innovations and fresh concepts, along with some lessons learned.
We can’t claim all of these comments and ideas are solely ours. But we do try to track this industry looking for product concepts and strategic marketing tactics that can provided “lessons learned” for FEC owners and operators.
Characteristics of Family Entertainment Centers
A serious matter for design of family entertainment centers (FEC’s) is the type, layout, and staffing requirements, of the amusements included. These factors are important since the peak period business – weekend afternoons and Thursday through Saturday evenings – are so much larger than the very limited non-peak business typical to FEC’s. Customer through-put during peak periods, is therefore, a vital factor in design.
While there are few opportunities for truly “sustaining competitive advantages” for one FEC versus another, sine characteristics of successful FEC’s include:
Location with superior visibility, proximity, and access to customers – this can be difficult since the economics of FEC’s are not attractive compared to most other forms of urban land use.
Design with superior thematic decor – if the rides, games, and attractions are all the same, from one FEC to the next, a factor perceived to be distinguishing by patrons is the fun factor in the overall decor.
Built to include five or more superior “anchor” activities – there simply must be enough to do so that patrons can return again and again to easily achieve an hour or two length-of-stay without being bored, or waiting too much in que lines.
Operated with superior sales strategies to reach customers – the successful FEC’s have an ever-present strategic marketing and tactical promotional program in place, varied by daypart and week-parts, targeting specific customer niches. Without constant work on awareness, FEC’s can see business decline as their potential customers seek other forms of leisure-time entertainment.
Operated with superior comfort and security for patrons – many FEC’s function as drop-off centers for tweens and teens, making on-site security an important factor in an FEC’s success.
Operated with superior food and beverage options for guests – parents are more likely to bring a family to an FEC if the parents can enjoy a snack, meal, and/or drink of high quality.