Think back to your earliest holidays… or even your most recent one. Chances are your memories include at least one desperate attempt to strike it lucky on a coin - flipping machine or prize grabber. It’s no wonder really. Amusements like these inject fun and excitement into a family’s holiday experience – keeping them wanting for more. While we all want our guests to enjoy themselves, our main objective is to generate revenue. And amusements, attractions and ride-on equipment do just that by allowing you to increase your sources of income. It’s important to remember, however, what a big investment holidays represent for most families. Here in the UK, research from travel booking site Expedia found that, on average, a nine day holiday comes with a £2,417 price tag. Importantly, this figure includes the little extras, such as a flutter on the fruit machines or enjoying activities together. And those extras can quickly add up to something significant.
That’s why it’s important to identify the right mix of amusements and attractions to boost your bottom line. While there are a wide-range to choose from, we look at the latest trends in the hopes that one (or more) will enhance your offering. We Brits love a good amusement or attraction when we’re on holiday. Indeed, at some point in their lives, 72 per cent of adult consumers have played with amusement equipment, according to research from Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC).British Amusement Catering Trade Association, estimates there are more than 310,000 machines in the UK alone played regularly by 14 million people. While many can be found in pubs, clubs and adult entertainment centres (AEC), a large number can be found in the UK’s more than 1000 family-entertainment centres (FEC). Many will be familiar with destination venues, such as Brighton Palace Pier – which attracts more visitors than Stonehenge – and Namco Funscape in London, on London’s South Bank, as well as the multitude of smaller operations, including those at holiday parks.
In the pub, however, some machines are starting to lose their appeal, according to Bacta. “Whilst the Category C AWP remains the most profitable four square feet of pub floor space, the trend is a downward one, accentuated by the proliferation of Licensed Betting Offices and the lure of FOBT (fixed odd betting terminals).” According to some experts, this has cost the sector dearly. There’s believed to have been a 25% reduction in average weekly income from them since 2007 and, so far, it’s cost the industry more than £600 million. Fortunately, all is not lost. Bacta explains: “Advances in technology have seen something of a revolution with pubs featuring the very latest in digital gaming equipment and internet-empowered jukeboxes.” Say the letters G-D-P-R and you’re sure to hear a sigh. However, big data plays a big role in making sure our machine investments pay dividends. “If you measure it, you can manage it. Appreciate the value of your site and machine data,” advises John Dorman, Marketing Manager for Playsafe Systems (www.playsafe.systems) in Bath. The company works with the AGC and FEC sectors to collect, record and secure customer site data, which it converts into the useful information businesses need to drive their amusement revenue streams forward… even when they’re off-site. To get best value from your equipment, John suggests site owners “consider introducing an integrated system of hardware and software that collects and stores all their gaming and machine information to track/measure performance and increase onsite security.” He adds: “And, if you use technology to help secure your site data and cash, you can enjoy better piece of mind – even if you are offsite.”
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