Exploring the Best Mix of Classic and Innovative VR Attractions for FEC Centres in a Post-Covid World

Family Entertainment Centres are spending a lot of time and money on upgrading attractions post covid. Promising growth rates in the entertainment sector, driven by the fact that families are returning to normality and are ready to have some fun, has led many FEC owners to question whether or not to invest. Covid has provided a rare opportunity to make a second first impression through new or upgraded attractions/experiences. However, for most FECs it has been a difficult few years, so investing a lot of money on upgrades may seem like a too costly or risky exercise, especially as costs continue to rise with high consumer and wage inflation. But for those wanting to invest in a new attraction, the next question is what sort of entertainment solution will compliment existing offerings the most?

The Market:

The VR and AR market is the fastest growing segment of the entertainment market, however, despite this there are many different factor to weigh up before it makes economic sense to install a new attraction. Labour remains the highest cost for FECs (according to IAAPA FEC Benchmark), so it is important to account for the higher longterm running costs associated with operations, and seek entertainment solutions that offer low operator to user ratios. 

As mentioned, offering new innovative attraction or upgrading existing one can provide a valuable chance to create second impressions, setting up an opportunity to build market dominance in a competitive market. However, many venue spaces do not have the resources, since covid, to invest in a complete new attraction, but there are plenty of alternative upgrade and price competitive solutions. 

There has been a shift in the cycle of FEC centers yearly business cycle to one that is more based on an all year round affair, so guests expect differentiated and more personalised attractions throughout the year. Therefore, there is a need for operators to offer more versatile attractions.

What sort of mix:

Everyone loves a classic, but it won’t be enough of incentive for people to attend an FEC they have attended once or twice before. These classic attractions may be great for consistent revenue on top of an attention-grabbing new game, but no FEC can survive on it alone, at least not in the long run. 

FEC’s typically have a few core attractions that are classically popular and generate stable revenue, but in an increasingly fierce marketplace, locations need to be more innovative if they want to draw in new and younger customers who are keen to experience more interactive and high tech experiences. VR/AR has been a proven success and an alternative to outdated traditional arcades, putting a new spin on a classic attraction with lower operational costs.

VR and AR, unlike traditional attractions allows for upgradable and seasonal offerings with a ‘tap on the screen’, so operators  can organise events and special seasonal offers around them. FECs are usually seasonal businesses that are usually busy about six months of the year; however, venues should be focusing on 12-month revenues and expanding their target audiences. New VR/AR entertainment solutions can be adapted to expand their reach to a broader age range and demographics (e.g. local businesses that are looking for fun group activities and corporate retreats).

Conclusion:

Family entertainment centres should keep attractions that are popular to core demographics, balancing the old and new to offer an appealing and complementing entertainment package for the whole family. FEC owners should analyse whether or not a new attraction will lead to cannibalisation of revenue from existing attractions and whether it provides some longevity within current market trends.

 

SPREE Interactive offers a range of family-friendly high throughput VR entertainment solutions – both upgradable and standalone attractions. To have all your VR questions answered, join us at one of our upcoming trade shows, here.