Planet Lazer is a laser-tag-focused family entertainment center in Kelowna, British Columbia, four hours east of Vancouver. Initially opened in 1996, Jenna Boyo purchased the venue in 2004 at 19 and has owned and operated it ever since.
Recently, Jenna joined the Guest Experience Show to share insights into how Planet Lazer has evolved over the years, how her team maintains enthusiasm for every guest that walks in the door, and the importance of making personal connections with guests that lead to lifelong loyalty.
The evolution of laser tag
Jenna says that the business has evolved continuously since its opening in 1996 and since she purchased the center in 2004. Years ago, venues would paint their walls black, splash fluorescent paint on them, and call it laser tag. Recently, guests demanded a more gamified experience, an interactive arena, and a different experience on each visit. Some of the changes have been as simple as changing the lighting or adding mirrors, whereas new technology has also enhanced the laser tag experience and altered consumer preferences as a result. For instance, incorporating virtual reality into the laser tag experience has created a fun challenge for operators like Jenna at Planet Lazer.
One of the most significant business benefits of laser tag is that the experience is repeatable, encouraging guests to return on a future visit or extend an existing one by playing a completely different game. Today, Planet Lazer can run 30 games that each provide unique experiences, which works to their advantage when guests complete one game, and the staff suggests another based on their consumer profile and the alternative experience. Jenna says, "It’s extremely easy to take the same activity and change the experience 100% the next time you play.”
Turn your guests into “walking billboards”
Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing, and the way to strengthen positive word of mouth is by focusing on delivering an excellent experience. Jenna takes this to heart by ensuring a high experience standard at Planet Lazer that naturally lends itself to advocacy. “If it’s Billy’s birthday, but Tommy is the guest, I want to make Tommy a walking billboard as well.” Giving them as much as possible while they’re there can turn into amazing advertising, and this should be implemented across all guests, whether they are visiting with their family, having a birthday party, attending a birthday, or any other type of group or event, so that all guests have the potential to become walking billboards.
Small gestures can make a future impact
When asked to share stories about great experiences at Planet Lazer, Jenna says her favorite stories are when multiple generations come to the venue to see her. Many years ago, a guest came in with Ari, his two-year-old son, and asked if he could play laser tag. While there is no overarching standard for a minimum age to play, most venues have set minimums such as four or six years old; however, Jenna said that she had no issue with it as long as they are comfortable with it.
Twenty years later, Ari still comes back to the center often. Jenna said that Ari is engaged and plans to bring his children to Planet Lazer one day. Had Jenna declined Ari’s father’s request for him to play as a toddler, it would have been easy for her to move on with her day and accept that she had lost a guest for that day. Jenna also could not have foreseen that letting a two-year-old play laser tag would build lifelong loyalty. The service that they've given over the years allows them to build relationships with families in their community.
Generational loyalty takes time to achieve. Guests come and go, people move away, or more competition enters the marketplace. However, Planet Lazer has prioritized the guest experience to achieve decades of success, and because of that, their guests come back and become walking billboards.
Just like Planet Lazer has evolved the laser tag experience to meet changing trends and technology, you should treat your venue management software the same. Click here to learn how ROLLER can ensure that you deliver a modern-day user experience that removes friction and puts more time back into your day to deliver the experience that will turn guests into walking billboards and achieve lifelong loyalty.