About laser tag business
Laser tag is a very popular business in Europe and North America and it successfully competes with its more aggressive types of tactical combat sports games: paintball and airsoft. But it possesses the unmatched combination of an interactive show with sports elements, as well as the versatility and availability for all categories of customers, that creates a lot of opportunities to attract new players. Indoor laser tag is one of the most profitable types of entertainment business. In this article, we will describe how to create an arena for playing indoor laser tag.
Examine the costs and opportunities
If you have decided that indoor laser tag business is suitable for you, we recommend first of all to calculate the upcoming costs and evaluate the effects of investing in this type of business. The second step is the examination of all details and issues of designing and construction of laser tag areas.
You should consider that:
- according to estimates, a laser tag arena will generate profit in a city with a population of at least 200,000 people;
- business will return your investments in one or two years;
- indoor laser tag equipment is more expensive than outdoor ones;
- for the first time, you’ll need to be multifunctional taskmaster who will select construction materials, coordinate employees actions, monitor the construction progress and so on. You certainly can not do it without engineers, designers, constructors, electrician, however, only those who know oats can rely on others.
Nevertheless, laser tag is a serious business that is capable of generating a good and stable profit if you are ready to develop and grow with it.
Game area selection
Indoor arena mazes are most often built in shopping malls, amusement parks, and recreational centers. This allows you to significantly save on advertising costs since customers traffic in such places is natural and constant. And of course, shopping malls usually have enough space for building even large arenas. However, the main disadvantage of such location is obvious. It is extremely high rent costs.
If you do not have the ability to make an arena in a large shopping mall, then consider the accessibility factors while selecting the location: your players should be able to easily get to the arena from any side of the city.
Examine your target audience: determine the gender and age of your potential clients, their purchasing power and level of interest in this type of attractions. Consider the family factor. Shopping malls are often attended by families for shopping and purchasing power at the same time. So help them get new bright impressions and throw out their emotions.
Area room space
Usually, indoor laser tag arena consists of several zones, and two of them are obligatory – the reception area and the game area. Usually, the area can simultaneously hold from 12 to 30 or even more players. Therefore, the owner’s task is to make the arena as more capacious as he can. Usually, while planning the room space for making laser tag arena the investor can use the following figures:
- 10-15 players: 2,200 – 2,700 sq. feet (200-250 sq. meters);
- 15-20 players: 2,700 – 3,200 sq. feet (250-300 sq. meters);
- 20-30 players: 3,200 – 4,300 sq. feet (300-400 sq. meters);
- 30 and more players: from 4,300 sq. feet (400 sq. meters).
The reception area should be able to hold not only the players but also spectator and parents who are not participating in the game. That’s why the reception zone should be planed on the bases of a simple formula: you need at least 10 sq. feet (1 m²) per person. If there is sufficient space in your renting, it is preferable to make a separate briefing room and hold all discussions and meetings in this zone. It is not obligatory, but it will relieve the reception zone. The room space can be calculated by the same formula: at least 10 sq. feet (1 m²) per player. And don’t forget about space for instructors.
Ideally, your premises should consist of several separate rooms:
- the reception room,
- game manager room,
- briefing room,
- a dressing room,
- game area,
- lounge room (with a large table for birthday parties, bar, mini-cafe, drink dispenser and so),
- a storage and charging room
- staff room
But it is obvious, that there are no ideal locations and you can go without some of the abovementioned rooms or you can divide your space by mounting gypsum board partitions.
Do you have competitors?
Most of your future decisions and actions depends on whether you have direct competitors in your city or not. If there is another indoor laser tag arena, then you should understand that it will be quite difficult to attract its regular customers, especially if you have the same type of equipment and the same type gaming arena. It will be possible only if you bought more modern and advanced equipment with unusual game scenarios, build unusual design arena, have more room space that is distributed more efficient, and of course if you have flexible pricing policy and bonuses for loyal customers.
Arena design and visual effects
No one limits your imagination. If you want to build a theme-based arena (Star Wars, Starship Troopers, Halo and so on) you can do it. If you want to use special effects, use them. We have only one piece of advice: do not go overboard. Even if you make the most minimalist design, due to light and sound effects, visible laser beams and bright glowing equipment your arena will look unforgettable – especially for inexperienced players.
Now we come to the most difficult stage – the construction of the indoor arena. It is necessary to mention that the owner can easily buy ready-made arena constructions from manufacturers. It will be fast but very expensive. Some owners of the arena business build arenas themselves. Is hard to say what option is more efficient. Construction materials are also cost a lot. And of course, if the owner wants to invest a minimum amount of funds he can try to find arena constructions that were already being in use.
Be sure to consider that there will be a lot of children among your regular players. Therefore, you should think carefully about the planning of the arena. Children are noisy, very active and extremely venturous, that’s why we don’t recommend to hold more than two teams in one room. It is better to separate the players who have already played from incomers and do not throw them all together in checkroom or in the lounge room.
The design of this area can be made according to your wishes. The only criteria that is should be roomy and light. Usually, it is a walk-through room, that’s why the floor should be covered with practical materials like laminated flooring of intensive 31-34 classes or even industrial environments 41-43 classes, or flooring tile.
The walls of reception area can be decorated with themed posters: arena rules, a game area plan, and a scoring system.. A great idea is to make a roll of honor with photos of the most active players or teams: people like to show off their achievements. Do not forget about awards, they also can be mounted on walls.
Mount a reception desk for the administrator to meet customers. You can mount a separate desk or even made a separate room for a game operator. The game operator should have a computer with indoor laser tag control application, a printer (to print the results for players), and a microphone for communicating with players, a cash register, and so on.
Install lockers where players’ personal belongings will be stored and mount long benches. It will be the best option to make a separate room for the dressing area, but if there is no free room, you can simply zone the reception room or install folding-screen or partition.
If you are thinking about whether you need this room (or even two), make no doubt, you definitely need it even if you’ll have to rent a room slightly more than you initially planned.
The briefing room is usually used for players’ instruction before the game and their discussions after the game. This room helps to increase the traffic capacity of the whole arena. If you have 10-minute games and it takes 5 minutes to instruct the players and 5 minutes for discussions after the game than this room simply twice decreases the downtime of your equipment and two times increases the traffic capacity of your arena. While the customers that already have played would change their clothes, the next portion of players would receive their instructions. And this is especially effective during the rush hours of a shopping center (esp. on holidays) when every minute of equipment downtime means loss of potential profit. This way you will also avoid confusion and crowding in the reception zone.
Therefore, in the briefing room you’ll we need comfortable chairs or sofas. You can also mount a large screen on the wall for displaying game live statistics results. If you have arena cameras your team fans will be able to watch the battle on this screen. The chaperons, parents and fans will wait for the team and cheer for it in this room. Some slot machines or mini-cafeteria or drink dispensers in this room will bring the arena owner additional profit.
Don’t forget about the children and teens. If you will have children’s birthday parties (and this is almost the main source of income of the arena), then a briefing room or some other room is essential. The children should have a place to be able to rest before or after the game, to drink cola, eat a piece of cake or pizza.
You will definitely need at least one storage room and staff room. Do not forget about such an important room as the toilet, especially if your arena is not located in a shopping center. If it will be possible to build as shower it will be great.
If you do not want players to stumble over cables because you’ll have a lot of them, hide the wiring in the walls. Don’t forget about a sufficient number of outlets. For example, you’ll need at least a computer, printer, large screen in your reception zone. An you’ll need outlets for charging phones, photo cameras, coffee-machines, drink dispensers and so on.
The shape of an indoor laser tag arena
Of course, most of indoor laser tag arenas have four-square or rectangular shape. This is because most rooms available for rent have such a shape. However, you can also mount walls and partitions, forming U-shaped or L-shaped arena. The main rule is to make the lanes wide enough so that people of any size can move freely in them.
If you have the opportunity to create a two- or even a three-level arena, do it. A multilevel arena is not an essential requirement of arena successful functioning, but such an unusual design will help the owner win the competition with other indoor laser tag arenas. If you have the ability to make the multilevel arena, you have a lot of interesting options, for example, make it in spacecraft design or space base design.
As for planning arena, you should consider that the players need freedom of motion, however, it is allowed to create tortuous corridors and dead ends for additional difficulties while capturing enemy bases. In most cases, the bases are built in opposite the corners of the arena. Open space is not welcomed and the design should encourage players to move quickly. There is no sense in encouraging players to hide in one place for a long time, go trench warfare and camping. However, is not worth doing too complicated arena, because new players will simply get lost in their first games.
Be scrupulous about ventilation, especially since you probably will use a smoke machines. In addition, you must ensure fire safety, so take care of the presence of a fire extinguishing system and additional emergency exits.
Laser tag arena walls
In most cases, the arena maze is built from hollow metal pillars with 15-20 inches (40–50 cm) diameter and up to 10 feet (3 meters) high and different heights partitions. The most common and inexpensive option for the walls of the maze is sheetrock. However, it is not durable, and the players are not accurate, that’s why sometimes the walls are made from 10-mm plywood. Be sure of using a special fire-retardant treatment.
Sometimes the arena designer uses holes in the walls that can be used by players as embrasures and gun port, or mesh inserts for additional viewing.
The constructions of the arena can be demountable (in this case, you can modify the arena plan), but all walls should be firmly fixed. If a player crashes into the wall with all his might, because it happens in the in the rage of battle, the construction should never collapse.
Cover all projecting parts (window sills, heating radiators and so on) with plywood, and cover all sharp corners with soft material to prevent injuries of players during the battle.
The ceiling, walls and pillars are usually painted with matt black paint with futuristic fluorescent drawings.
And again we should remind that that the safety of the players is top-of-mind. That’s why the floor should be flat, without strips and setoffs. Usually, it is covered with a special sports floor or carpet. However, keep in mind that carpet quickly gets out of order.
You will need two Illumination circuits. The first (ultraviolet) in order to highlight the fluorescent drawings on the walls, partitions, floor, and ceiling. Lamps are usually equispaced over the entire arena area at a height of 8-10 feet. One 36-watt lamp is enough for lighting 85 sq. feet (8 sq. meters).
The second circuit (with fluorescent lamps) will be needed for technical works and cleaning the arena. One 36W lamp will be enough to illuminate 160 sq. feet (16 sq. meters of space).
We will not describe in detail the indoor laser tag equipment and what is the difference from the outdoor laser tag equipment. This is not the concern of this article. We only mention that, in addition to the standard indoor laser tag game sets (vests and blasters), you may need smoke machines, cars, strobe lights, and a speaker system, because all of this is necessary to create a special futuristic-looking arena. And the rest is a matter of taste.
Specialists can prepare and fully equip the arena, as well as mount a factory standard maze in less than 30 days, or you can do it yourself in a couple of months. After that develop and flourish. According to statistics, the demand for indoor laser tag increases 6% every year, so you definitely won’t be left without clients.