All About The Swag !

All About The Swag !


Amusement arcades offer fun for all the family

Amusement arcades offer fun for all the family

A visit to the amusement arcades has been a much-loved part of the Great British holiday for decades. Who can resist the pull of the retro coin pushers or the anticipation of the prize cranes? “Amusement machines add to the mix of attractions for customers at holiday parks,” says James Anderson, Sales and Commercial Director of BANDAI NAMCO Amusement Europe Ltd (BNAE). “There is a long history and heritage of coin-operated games at the coast and people playing them on holiday. “Parents are nostalgic about the fun they had as kids playing in arcades, whilst children love the chance to play the latest games and to win prizes on redemption machines,” he adds. “The amusement arcade at a holiday park is often one of the aspects most loved by children and it offers a chance for he whole family to play together.” According to Graham Bray, Marketing and Business Development Manager of Searles Leisure Group in Norfolk, the onsite arcade at Searles Leisure Resort in Hunstanton is perennially popular with guests, young and old.


“The Arcade is not the main reason for families to choose a holiday at Searles, but it certainly adds another family-friendly activity, especially when the weather is inclement,” says Graham. With around 90 machines, the arcade games are extremely lucrative for Searles and the vendor. Graham says: “The arcade is the number one income stream for any activity on the park. “It also helps to keep guests ‘on-park’ rather than visiting the other numerous arcades in the Hunstanton town and promenade area. The arcade offers hours and hours of entertainment on-site.” Whilst older visitors might be content to gamble their cash and accept losing as part of the fun, younger visitors are not so keen to walk away from arcades empty-handed. The industry trend for redemption games shows no signs of abating. As Graham says, “It’s all about the SWAG!” A spokesperson for Parkdean Resorts, which has over 70 holiday parks across the UK, say the most popular games at their parks are “cranes, pushers and redemption games. The company also ensures that its adult holidaymakers have a relevant offering via over 18  facilities within licenced Family Entertainment Centres (FECs).” Parkdean Resort’s arcades feature prominent redemption prize shops and enhancements are currently underway across some parks, which will see prize shops refurbished and extended. A spokesperson said, “New cranes, redemption pushers and other redemption equipment are being installed ahead of the 2018 season. There will also be new video pieces at some parks.”

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Just a Penny More…

Just a Penny More...

A holiday experience wouldn’t be complete without trying your luck on the prize crane or the coin tipping machine. In fact, the arcade has been a staple attraction of the Great British seaside holiday since the early 1900’s. Part of the Bourne Leisure group, Haven currently operates 37 arcades at its parks across the UK and has seen a shift from traditional arcades moving to all-encompassing family entertainment centres. “Our guest feedback indicates that arcades are a valued part of the holiday offering.

Arcades have long been and are still very much part of the seaside family holiday.

I wouldn’t suggest that anyone books a holiday based purely on the arcade offering, as we have seen a focus towards our Nature Rockz activities, but it is a very wellused facility and part of the overall holiday experience,” says Kevin Scott, Head of Arcades at Bourne Leisure. “The arcades are now environments where families can play together and often we include other family products such as soft play.” Redemption games, where the player is rewarded proportionally to their score, are Haven’s most popular arcade games, closely followed by cranes and coin pushers.


“We have expanded the redemption and prize offers at the expense of the gaming element of the business. A very high proportion of our games offer has a prize element which is very well received by both the holiday makers and our owners,” reveals Kevin. He adds: “Arcades have long been and are still very much part of the seaside family holiday and there is no indication to suggest that this will change in the near future.” Before investing in arcade games and equipment, it is advisable to seek advice from a reputable dealer or manufacturer, who offers a warranty and will give you fast and efficient after-sales care and service for the entire life of the equipment.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL  “Too many park owners become totally disillusioned by a particular attraction that has failed in the past and this fazes their judgement for ever buying anything similar ever again - all because they were badly advised in the very beginning,” comments David Robinson of World of Rides. He continues: “Never buy any rides or equipment based on the lowest price, as every month we receive at least one sad story of cheap failed equipment at peak times of the season, which has resulted in lost income, and more importantly, disappointment and lost customer satisfaction.”

World of Rides is a leading UK manufacturer of battery operated land and water-based leisure rides. The company’s three biggest selling rides for 2017 so far are the fully operational Driving School Car, which has all the same controls as any normal road car, the glow in the dark Future Bike, which has under-LED lighting, and the new Baby Beetle Car for smaller children. “Our entire 12v/24v range of rides are becoming very much more popular with holiday park owners, partly due to the fact that they are nearly all able to carry either two children or a parent and child, but also because they all run without any noise, air or water pollution,” says David. “With trade prices starting at only £2,750 each, they still remain the highest earning children’s rides, due to them being fully directional and interactive with the riders.” According to David, really good rides and amusements will normally achieve full return on investment a number of times over in any one season, providing that they are operated correctly and looked after.

LIFE SPAN  “All modern EEC and UK made rides have a long life expectancy, but in order to keep guests and visitors coming back every year, and incomes retained at their maximum, the rides should ideally be run on a rolling five-year-plan, with at least one new ride attraction being added to the park every year,” says David. “After that, each ride should be subsequently downgraded or replaced after year five, depending on its continued income potential and key position in the park,” he adds. For holiday parks that choose to hire their arcade equipment, it is advisable to work with fully vetted and experienced operators who use up-to-date rides that are tested and documented using H.S.E.-ADIPS safety testing every year. It is also important to check that the operator can show documentary evidence of themselves being fully insured for Public Liability for a minimum £10,000,000, in the event of any incident.

INSURANCE MATTERS  Another key consideration is to ensure that your arcade equipment is covered by a suitable insurance policy. According to Compass Insurance, the key message when it comes to rides and machines - whether they are relatively simple coin-operated equipment or larger, more complex facilities - is to have a conversation with your insurer or broker before you go ahead and sign a hire agreement or make a purchase. “Park owners and managers should be aware that your insurer or broker may decline cover,” advises Chris Jones, Retail Underwriting Manager at Thistle Insurance Services. “An increase in premium could otherwise apply – and in the worst case scenario this could make the rides or machines commercially unviable. It’s always best to have the conversation up front.”

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The Fun Factor

The Fun Factor

For many holidaymakers, the lure of an arcade is an essential item on the wish list, providing hours of entertainment for the whole family.

For the park operator, selecting the right balance of amusements, games and gaming machines can be a precarious balancing act between customer satisfaction and maximum return on investment while still delivering the fun factor that keeps the visitors coming back time and time again. Historically, the first popular arcade attractions were early games such as shooting galleries, ball toss games and early coin-operated machines, such as fortune tellers and strength testers. More modern gaming has been led by the popularity of online games and casino games. Penny fall coin pushers have been Crown Direct’s bestselling lines in recent years and 2015 was no exception with The Simpsons-themed Donut Daze machine, which was the company’s the most popular product of the year.

“It’s not a case of games having a fixed shelf life, but you should always have something new every season for holiday makers to play, advises Dean Harding, managing director at Crown Direct. Many come back to the park every year, so you need to keep the offer fresh.”

Crown Direct is a leading UK supplier of all types of coin operated equipment, as well as operating third party arcades and owning a number of their own. The Wigan-based company supplies equipment to holiday parks and family amusement arcades across the UK and Eire. Supply can be by way of outright purchase, rental or they can operate your arcade for you on an income share basis.

“There is merit in both rental and purchase and it really comes down to the holiday parks view on capital expenditure and appetite,” explains Dean. “We have large and small holiday park customers that are complete opposites in their approach to their amusement requirements. Some buy, some hire, and some lease the arcade space to an operator. Also, if customers thinking of buying there are some good second hand games available offering great value for money.”

Dean stresses the importance of keeping all arcade equipment in full working order and advises his customers to consult their suppliers if anything goes wrong: “Arcade games can go wrong and break down - coins get into all sort of places in a machine. Seeking technical expertise is essential as maintenance and repairs are a skill.”

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Winning Odds

Winning Odds

Coin-operated air hockey, football tables and pool tables are coming back into fashion, now that the video side is being overtaken by home based consoles.

Coin-operated air hockey, football tables and pool tables are coming back into fashion, now that the video side is being overtaken by home based consoles.

Choosing the right combination of amusements, games and machines can be a precarious balancing act between customer satisfaction and maximum pay back.
The right combination can enhance the guest experience and help create that elusive fun factor that keeps them coming back year after year.
But with a plethora of choice available, selecting the winning formula can be a tricky recipe to perfect.
JS Classics provide retro arcade machines to both the home market and corporate sector. Over the years the company has grown and now deals with all aspects of gaming throughout the corporate sector.
Jonathan Thompson of JS Classics advises: “The key to a successful games room or arcade is variety - there must be something to appeal to kids, parents and grandparents alike.
“There are also certain arcade games that will always big revenue earners. So-called ‘legacy’ games such as Pac-Man and anything Star Wars related have always been and continue to be popular. Air Hockey tables also remain a favourite among all age groups.”
Jonathan continues: “Eventually video arcade machines will become out of date and will need to be changed, but as long as you buy right and choose popular titles their earning potential can last for years. On the whole, kids will enjoy playing on the games they are presented within a closed holiday park environment.”


Air hockey tables remain a favourite among gamers of all ages.

Air hockey tables remain a favourite among gamers of all ages.

Arcade machines come in a huge range of sizes from what’s known as a single player upright machine through to multiplayer games held in small cinemas. In general, the larger screened machines are known as ‘deluxe’ models and the more conservative sized machines are known as ‘standard’ cabinets.
Jamie Stanford managing director of Liberty Games says: “Much of the UK market revolves around refurbished machines because of the rather hefty price tag of a new machine. Prices range from good second hand machines at around £2500 right through to the latest Sega full motion machines stretching in to the hundreds of thousands.
“The payback of a machine is directly related to how well the machine is purchased in the first place. I would advise reducing your capital input by buying second hand – these machines depreciate at quite a rate in the first few years so bargains are out there. In most cases we see machines paying for themselves in the first 3 months and the owners enjoying profits from that point onwards,” he adds.
Liberty Games sell a comprehensive choice of both new and refurbished arcade machines covering a wide range of genres, from dance, driving and quiz machines, to prize redemption machines such as grabbers and cranes.
Jamie continues: “Currently our most popular products are the Galaxy and Cosmic range of machines. The cabinets hold up to 350 games and give the user a much richer experience than a single game.
“Apart from that, we find that the arcade machines that have not been well replicated on home based consoles are still very popular. Shooting games for example have not yet been replicated to any high standard in the home environment so consequently can still pull in the crowds at the arcades.”
Outside of the games room, larger scale games and rides such as bumper cars, dodgems and go-karts are also a firm favourite among families. Specialising in coin-operated family games and rides, World of Rides’ most popular range is their ‘Mini Moto’ pollution-free battery operated cars, which run on a hardstanding oval track.
David Robinson, general manager of World of Rides comments: “Battery rides are always a win-win investment as financially they are hardly ever viewed as an expense by operators, as they have such a rapid pay-back period.
“Our battery operated cars have remained virtually recessionproof over our past forty years of production. Parents and children love them as they are such fun, and operators and local authorities love them as they are pollution-free, and contribute to lowering their carbon footprint.”
David continues: “Incomes for such rides will vary at differing times of year, but our customers tell us that an average income, at a normal price of £1.00 per three minute ride, is normally around £100.00 per vehicle per day, which increases further at peak holiday periods.”

Company Contacts

JS Classics
Tel. 0800 112 33 41

Liberty Games
Tel. +44 (0)1372 736470

World of Rides
Tel. +44 (0)191 49 20 999

EMBED International
Tel. +44 (0)1225 311323

Pure Novelty

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