Why Anchor Attractions Are Critical to Your Success
An anchor attraction is an iconic, signature attraction that makes your entertainment center unique.
Anchor attractions at FECs have historically included bowling, laser tag, go-karting, and other large, expensive rides or activities that drive traffic to your venue. Customers come specifically to play these attractions and they return often, boosting repeat play and guest satisfaction.
Anchor attractions are critical to an FEC’s success. They’re the reason people show up, stay longer, and spend more. But they tend to be large, taking up thousands of square feet, and can cost anywhere from hundreds of thousands to a million dollars or more. And while they used to be a key differentiating factor, in this era of copycats, maintaining a unique attraction mix has become nearly impossible.
Choosing the right anchor attractions is a tough decision for FECs, and mistakes are costly: once set up, changing an anchor attraction is expensive and disruptive.
Enter VR Esports, a Compact and Affordable Anchor Attraction
Can VR esports serve as an anchor attraction? Recent data indicates yes. At the world’s first VR ARENA esports installation at Pinballz, an FEC in Austin, Texas, nearly half of players reported that they visited primarily to play VR ARENA. The attraction generated more than $52,000 of revenue in the first two months and achieved 26% repeat play. Even in the slow month of April, when storewide revenues dropped by a third, VR ARENA was still a top earner, generating $21,500.
Driving traffic and repeat play are hallmarks of an anchor attraction. VR ARENA delivers both. Yet it differs from traditional anchors in two important qualities: price and size. VR ARENA costs only $121,000 and takes up less than 375 square feet.
To deliver consistent revenues year after year, an anchor attraction must offer an experience that gamers can’t get in their living rooms. With today’s low-cost VR headsets, the typical “stand-in-place” VR games can be played at home. The VR ARENA experience, by contrast, is unique and only available at FECs.
Drive Repeat Play with Esports
To attract repeat play, an attraction has to offer more than just a one-time, passive experience. Bowling, laser tag, and go-karting share three traits that drive repeat play:
2. Multiplayer — you can play with friends
3. Competitive — players compete head-to-head or via a leaderboard
Only attractions with all three characteristics tend to achieve anchor status. These attributes are also the essential ingredients to esports.
At Pinballz VR ARENA’s active, multiplayer, and competitive experience resulted in 26% repeat play among guests with a player account. Weekly esports contests, with a $50,000 annual prize pool, incite players to keep on coming back.
Thanks to the promise of cash prizes, 70% of players create an account, yielding 1,000 to 1,500 personal profiles each month. Venues can use this data, which includes email address, first and last name, and date of birth, for direct email campaigns to announce upcoming contests and to publicize other incentives for VR ARENA fans to return and play again.
Attract a New Audience and Increase Store-Wide Revenues
We recently surveyed 33 VR ARENA players who attended an event at Pinballz. Our findings:
- 45% came to Pinballz specifically to play VR ARENA
- 10% came specifically for VR ARENA and had never been to Pinballz before
A typical guest who came just for VR ARENA was Peter Adams of Kyle, Texas. After his son saw a Facebook video ad, he drove for more than an hour to Pinballz, where his group of four played VR ARENA twice.
How do these results translate into new, untapped revenue for your venue? According to the 2018 IAAPA FEC Benchmark Report, FEC guests spend an average of $22 per visit and visit an FEC twice a year. Over a five-year period, the LTV (life-time value) of a new customer is $220. If VR ARENA draws on average 1,500 players a month, and if 10% are new customers attracted solely by VR ARENA, then every month VR ARENA delivers new LTV of $33,000.
Guest Satisfaction is Critical
From the Pinballz player survey:
- 100% of players said they would play VR ARENA again
- 80% said they found the $15 ticket price reasonable
- 92% rated the VR ARENA experience as positive
Positive ratings feed directly into strong word of mouth: 30% of guests who played VR ARENA had heard about it from a friend.
To keep ratings strongly positive without discounting ticket prices, we suggest offering guests a satisfying, complete start-to-finish experience instead of just a five-minute game. VR ARENA includes both a pregame staging area and a postgame experience. After the game finishes, players receive a video of their experience, with the venue’s logo embedded, to share on social media. These fun additional elements lengthen the experience from a five-minute game to a complete 20-minute guest experience that includes interaction with the game, other players, and the attendant.
VR ARENA Rollout Continues
In the coming weeks we’ll be installing VR ARENA in Austin, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. More news and stats soon!
Want to try VR ARENA for yourself? Visit us in Austin for a VIP demo! We’ll arrange for your hotel accommodation and, if you purchase a system, we’ll even reimburse your flight expenses!
For more data and insights about how VR and esports can increase revenues at your venue and attract a new audience of gamers you didn’t have before, download our free VR white paper here:
Contact us to learn more about how VR and esports can increase revenues for your business in 2019!
The Virtuix Team