From Arcades to VR Arcade

 

Remember when Space Invaders hit in 1978?

It was the biggest game since Monopoly and it turns out it was basically nothing compared to others in the arcade space.

Because when Pac Man (Fun Online Pac Man Game You Can Play After You Read This) was released in 1980 it took the world by storm. There were shirts,  cartoons and even a song dedicated to that little ghost eating pellet muncher.

By 1981 video games were most everywhere you wanted to be. Restaurants had them in their bars and lobbies. Bowling alleys had them in their own rooms. That hotel you stayed at better have had an arcade near the pool. Even movie theaters got into the act because families arrived before showtime so their kids could play. Soon individual arcades began to spring up everywhere.

Kids were bugging parents for quarters and tokens to play Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac Man. Blisters on thumbs was the new normal. It’s no doubt you’ve played at least one of these classics, and if you’re over 40, your first time may very well have been a life altering experience.

Arcades of the 80s

Well, that was then…

What’s NOW is definitely mind-bending. Imagine being transported to some of the greatest sites on our planet via Google Earth in VR.  You can literally float over the Golden Gate Bridge or the Sphinx of Giza. If that’s not your thing, how about an underwater adventure where you come eyeball to eyeball with a ginormous blue whale? You can learn just how afraid of heights you and your friends are when you see who dares to walk out on Richie’s Plank. Or maybe you just want to shoot up a bunch of zombies...don’t forget to look behind you.

As of now, the equipment is too expensive for the average person to justify. This is why VR arcades are going to be HUGE beginning in 2017.

That was then this is now
Old School Arcades vs. New School VR Arcades

Why VR Arcades NOW?!

2016 was a banner year for the Virtual Reality industry. The year started off with plenty of fresh VR users who received the Samsung Gear VR (released November 27, 2015) as a must have gift for the holidays. But this was simply a coming attraction for the big releases to come.

The two heavyweights in the industry, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive  were each released within a week of March 30 and ready to do battle. Both of these head mounted displays provided for greater immersion than the Samsung model which is superior to Google Cardboard.

The timing was great  because over the past 5-10 years the computer hardware industry had created processors that were fast enough to support this new reality that had been developing since the 1960’s.

Game developers around the globe have been dreaming of building game worlds in Virtual Reality and now they finally can. New games hit the market almost daily and you never know what will come next. The amount of new titles that have been added to the Steam VR library is quite impressive.  The four items mentioned above are a small taste. There are well over 500 experiences created as of this writing.

Looking for Early Adopters

Those places that jumped on  the arcade bandwagon by 1981 did well for themselves.  We’re at the beginning of a gaming revolution that will make Pac Man Fever look like a common cold.

We told you earlier that we want to make the process of setting up your own virtual reality arcade business an easy one. Let’s start with some questions:

  • Does your venue pride itself on providing cutting edge experiences?
  • Can you attract customers between the ages of 12 and 50?
  • Are you looking to replace an under-performing attraction?
  • Do you have between 800-1000 sq ft available? (doesn’t have to be contiguous)
  • Would older siblings spend money if you had something for them to do?
  • Would you like to add six figures worth of revenue?

If you answered yes and are interested in reading what we do, click HERE. Otherwise send us a note and we will call you soon.

Social Media Mastery for FECS

Family Entertainment Centers are all about FUN. Social Media is the way we broadcast what we’re doing to the world. Put them together and it’s like Peanut Butter and Chocolate. This post explores 4 social media sites you must be using to grow your FEC.

LinkedIn is the place for business.

LinkedIn – Serious Business

With 450M + users this is a powerful tool in the toolbelt. Its great for sharing your past experiences, has groups to connect with others who share a common interest, has a handful of business specific apps and the most powerful search tool in social media.

In my opinion the best offering LinkedIn has is the ability to either find or be found. Their search capabilities are incredible. In fact, Google uses LinkedIn as one of the first places it checks when a search on a person is conducted. This search is important for your event managers to find event planners and for them to find you. H.R. directors are also looking for “Team Building” exercises. Can they do those at your place? You wouldn’t mind a 30-50 person party at 10:00 on a Tuesday, would you? Your marketing team can find strategic partners and sponsors too. With the right pictures, images and geo-focus (think right groups) your prospective clients will be able to find you and your business.

A few things you will want to be sure to do on LinkedIn:

• Join the groups that are relevant to your geography. Could be University groups, local chambers, groups based on cities in your area and more.

• Have an updated company listing.

• Leverage LinkedIn for your hiring needs.

• Complete your profile (a specific “how to” is included in this piece).

• Use the status update feature at least 3 times a week

• Upload your address book and increase the size of your network.

Twitter is the most misunderstood tool in the belt.

Twitter  – The Bird is the Word

It’s way more than just “sitting on your patio”. What’s particularly awesome about Twitter is just how much you can get done while sitting on your patio! The search function is strong and the ability to connect with the next generation of thought leaders is vital. Twitter is a research tool as much as it is a broadcast tool. Smart businesses use this to provide excellent customer care, hire great talent, “listen” to what is being said about their business and of course market their products and services.

A few things your company can do right now:

• Figure out the core facets of your business and learn how to communicate each one in 120 characters or less.

• Use photos and live videos of people having fun. Don’t forget the release form.

• Designate someone in your business to “monitor” twitter for mentions about your company. It’s another customer service channel.

• Understand how URL shortners like http://bit.ly work

• Use twitter to post open positions, upcoming events,  contests and special deals.

Oh and be sure to start following influential people in your area…folks on the news, radio, athletes and @tweet them once in a while. Call me for help.

Video is where it’s at!

YouTube – Video Reigns

YouTube- sure your kids are watching the latest Katie Perry videos here and YouTube can help your business too. There are well over 1 billion videos served up daily. People love quick tips, tours and product releases especially when they can see and hear them. Production quality is not nearly as important as it once was and far less important than immediacy. This means, grab your phone and take some video and share it. Better yet, tag the people in the video so their people see it too (this is more of a Facebook tip).

A few things your company can do immediately:

• Setup a YouTube channel. This will allow you to customize the page so it fits with your brand.

• Have a couple of nice videos created about your venue. Edit them. Talk about who your audience is and what attractions you have for them. Then show the attractions.

• Have a “brainstorming” session about how your company could create fun videos about your product like they did at Blendtec (they got 5.6M views on a blender video). Invite your entire staff.

• Consider a monthly theme that features different aspects of your venue.

• Invest $600 in a DSLR camera, a tripod, some lights and maybe a mic. Want to spend way more on this stuff? That’s easy to do 😉

This One Does it All

Facebook – One Stop Shop

This monster combines all of the aforementioned aspects AND has over 1 Billion users. Facebook can be an absolute nuisance and time-waster or it can be a power tool for your business. It’s a wonderful place to re-connect with your past, dive in deeper with your present and make plans with your future.

Your business will want to:

• Have a branded “public page” that communicates things of interest to your client base.

• Post status updates similar to those on Twitter (they can be longer on Facebook).

• Share the videos you created for YouTube and post photos – Pro tip you are going to want to upload them to both YouTube AND Facebook. Don’t share from YouTube TO Facebook. Google and Facebook don’t like each other.

• Use the “events” to spread information about upcoming events you may host.

• Join groups and like pages that are relevant to your business/industry.

• Have a policy for how your company uses Facebook and all of these tools

This post is already a bit long. But I would be remiss to not mention taking a look at Snapchat, especially if you’re targeting tweens and above and of course Instagram.

How are you using these sites?
What tips would you add to this post?

Creating A GREAT Online Profile

So many online networking sites and so little time to nurture them all. If you can’t spend the amount of time there, you’d better make sure your profile is doing it’s one job: Attracting your ideal customers. But how do we get flat text to do the heavy lifting?

My 3 most used profiles: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook

Talk about “who you are”.

Many of these sites have an area for a “summary”. Most folks summarize their
current work experience and consider this done. Sure that’s a great way to check off the task, but does it really help? No. This is the area where you want to engage the person by showing them who you are. What are your values? Share your thoughts on Fun centers. Answer why did you get into the space. Tell us about your family. Make this interesting and personal. It doesn’t have to be long, but it would be great if it made us feel like we got to know you.

Tell us about “what you do”

This should be an easy one, right? Well, recognize that there are lots of people
who do what you do. How will you make your profile stand out? You need to make sure you are using KEYWORDS. Keywords are the words that people use when “searching” online. Specifically list the types of attractions your family entertainment center offers.

 

An important point to consider- we need to make sure that we are using the
keywords that our industry uses as well as the keywords our clients use.
  Don’t just type FEC or OOHEC. Not everyone knows what those are. Spell out Family Entertainment Center and Out of Home Entertainment Center too. You have to make sure you appear credible to industry insiders and findable by potential clients. 😉

William Butler Yeats said it best- “think like a wise man, but communicate in
the language of the people”.

Photos and Videos

We all know that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Well, how many pictures are there in a 1 minute video?? LOTS!!! Make sure you’re sharing imagery of people having fun.

Important to make sure people sign a photo/video release form.

Company or Personal Page?

You are going to want to have both. Depending on the site you may spend more time as one than the other, but you definitely want both. In fact, on both LinkedIn and Facebook you can’t have a company page/profile/place without having a personal one.  Similar rules apply. And the more photos the better. One last thing, don’t be drunk tweeting from your company page thinking it’s your personal one…you’re not the President for crying out loud.

Add Contact Info

You wouldn’t dream of putting your business online without your address so make sure your phone # and e-mail address are there too. This is all about ease of use…making it easy for your prospects to use you!

Its good to have “past life regressions”

Well, maybe they don’t have to be full on regressions, but it is good for people
to get to know about your past life. Why? Because they may have been a part of it.
 I believe that “all business is relationship business”. We had
some really strong relationships with people we are no longer connected to.
Think about that. If you ran into your favorite “cube buddy” from your first
job, your favorite boss from 6 years ago, a college suite mate or whomever, you would likely be able to pick right up on good conversation. Guess what? Some of these folks may be in a position to host an event at you venue.

We have some amazingly strong ties in our past. It would be wise to make sure
those folks can find us and possibly help us in our future.

Hobbies and interests are interesting

Since “all business is relationship business” and relationships are built fastest
around commonality, shall I assume there is no need to write more?

Seriously, take the time to share your passions. You will probably be amazed at what comes from this simple act. It’s a great conversation starter, it can open doors that weren’t previously opened and you may just land your next gig because of it.

I highly endorse being endorsed

Having endorsements (third party recommendations) show up on your profile page is a great way to have others feel good about you. You have earned them, therefore you should feel great about asking for them. If there are people you would feel good about writing them for, do so. You never know, they may write one for you.

It’s also a really good idea to ask for video testimonials from guests. Whether they’ve thrown a HUGE party or were just there for a couple of hours. Try and get as many different types of people to speak about the different attractions as possible.

Your online profiles are where people go to find out about you in the NOW world.

Whether you are meeting a new client, vendor or potential employer, they are checking you out online. What impression will they get?