In the last few years, virtual reality has become one of the premier attractions for family entertainment centers (FEC). Advances in technology and design have allowed virtual reality to become a leading attraction option with a small footprint and a fast ROI. Andretti Indoor Karting & Games saw the power of virtual reality and wanted to leverage this growing trend to generate more revenue.
Background of Andretti
The first Andretti corporate facility was opened in Roswell, Georgia in 2001. Today, Andretti Karting also has locations in Marietta, Orlando, and San Antonio. While Go-Karts are their feature attraction, the FECs also include arcades, ropes courses, laser tag, bowling and event spaces.
Even with their plethora of attractions, Andretti wanted to make sure the customer experience remained the priority. “We are not in this for the money,” explained Eddie Hamann, Managing Member for Andretti. “The purpose for us is to maintain and continue the legacy of the Andretti family while providing superior service and superior entertainment for families to spend time together.”
Selecting a Virtual Reality Vendor
For Andretti, superior entertainment means constantly exploring new attractions to entertain new and existing customers. Hamann took note of the growing popularity of virtual reality and knew Andretti could benefit from its rise. “We believe virtual reality is becoming an essential part of the attraction mix for any FEC, regardless of the size.”
“Virtual Reality is becoming an essential part of the attraction mix.”
Hamann began doing research for potential virtual reality solutions during IAAPA Expo in 2017. When visiting the Creative Works booth, Hamann was impressed with the immersive experience that Hologate offered. He purchased the unit directly off the show floor because he wanted to be the first North American facility to have the attraction. After seeing how successful it was, he started adding Hologate Arenas to all of his locations.
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Advantages of Hologate Arena
One of the first things that stood out to Hamann about Hologate Arena was the open concept of the attraction. “I love the idea that it wasn’t enclosed, and that attracts people.” FEC customers have the opportunity to watch other players experience Hologate Arena and see what it’s about, which draws more people to the attraction.
Another key feature about Hologate Arena is the small footprint of the attraction. At a large FEC like Andretti, every square foot of space must be utilized carefully to maximize efficiency. The small footprint and high revenue potential of Hologate Arena were important factors for Hamann. “When you look at revenue per square foot, nothing can beat it.”
“When you look at revenue per square foot, nothing can beat it.”
Hologate Arena is also an attraction that draws a high number of repeat plays. Once players experience Hologate Arena, they almost always want to come back with their friends and check out the other game options. “We have polled our customers and 95% of them said they would do it again.”
Hologate Arena Results at Andretti
So far, Hologate Arena has produced incredible numbers across all Andretti locations. In fact, these locations are some of the highest performing Hologate Arenas in the world. When speaking about the annual revenue of each Andretti Hologate Arena attraction, Hamann said, “I do know that they all do between [$300,000] and $400,000 a year.”
Between their four locations, Hologate Arena brings in millions of dollars for Andretti annually.
The high annual revenue of Hologate Arena helps generate a fast ROI. Andretti broke even and started profiting on their Hologate Arenas in less than 5 months due to their thoughtful strategies.
With such an open design, Hamann also knew how important the placement of the attraction was. “Hologate is not the type of attraction you can put up against a wall and hope that people find it. You want people to see it and experience it in the middle of the floor.”
The careful placement of the Hologate Arena attractions is one big reason for the phenomenal numbers. Andretti makes sure that the attraction is fully visible to everyone that walks into the FEC. “We give the Hologate prime, prime real estate. In fact, we make sure that the Hologate is in the best positions in our locations. So we build our entire arcade around the Hologate. That’s how important it is to us.”
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Andretti also utilizes their employees in a creative way to generate interest in the attraction. Hamann makes sure that there are always two employees working Hologate Arena at any given time. He makes sure that these employees are very well trained and knowledgeable about the attraction. This way, they can answer questions, which leads to more plays. “I can tell you that about 15-20% of our sales are done on the Hologate by answering questions. So we have adequate employees, well trained, energetic, answering questions and inviting people.”
In addition to properly staffing the attraction with knowledgeable employees, Hamann says Hologate Arena should be treated like a main attraction, not a video game. “If it’s an attraction and you dedicate your payroll…then I guarantee you you’re going to generate enough money [to cover] those two employees…and a lot of revenue and a lot of repeat business.”
Hamann also recommends using the attraction to get people in the door. If people experience Hologate Arena and then come back with their friends and family to play it again, they’re also likely to enjoy other attractions or food and beverage during their visit. “There’s kids that I see in Orlando every weekend. They know me by name. They play their game of Hologate and then they go do other things.”
Investing in Hologate Arena can be a profitable and fun decision for FECs. The highest performing Hologate Arena locations spend ample time planning and preparing to maximize their revenue from day one.
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