How to ramp up sales at your VR location
- Number of headsets 12+
- Asymmetrical time slots
- Good prices for session
- Get to know your customer
- Promo materials lead to instant 2nd booking
- Relax area and drinks
- Educated staff and high-quality hardware
🕶 Number of headsets 12+
Majority of business owners believe that having 12+ headsets is less cost effective than having 8 headsets.
During our business trip, quite surprisingly we discovered that there are some factors which can define your growth in the future right from the start.
If you have 8 and less headsets in your location, you automatically block an opportunity to grow faster as a business, rather than when you have 12+ headsets right away.
We are not saying that a business can not be successful even with a smaller amount of equipment, it will just take you longer to ramp up your sales and increase your margins.
If you take into account all the costs, the more headsets you have the lower the cost per one headset will be. It's no brainer that 12+ headsets will open a huge variety of opportunities to 📈 scale your business.
If you are to open a VR location, do not be afraid to buy more headsets. The most common fears are: occupancy rate and investment return.
Let us reassure you of higher profitability from a bigger amount of equipment. If you have 4+ headsets in your location you miss out on the opportunity to welcome big groups of people, therefore the occupancy rate will be low.
With a 12+ headsets you can create multiple offers for bachelor parties, birthdays, team-buildings, family gatherings. The more people try VR the more brand recognition you will have, so called 🗣️💬 word-of-mouth works as the best marketing strategy for all the businesses.
We all are aware that sometimes technical issues occur and suddenly headsets can stop running smoothly. It is unfortunate if it happens in the middle of customers’ experience. To prevent seeing unsatisfied clients you need to offer them the ability to switch to another headset. Consequently, if you have a bigger amount of headsets, you are more likely to secure a customer’s satisfaction.
Average occupancy rate with 4 headsets even in prime time:
3 people booked, 1 headset left = 75%
Average occupancy rate with 12 headsets:
- 11 customers booked, 1 headset left = 92%
- 10 customers booked, 2 headsets left = 83%
☝🏻 Even though you can also sell those 2 headsets additionally for other customers, let's say a couple, that way the occupancy rate is 100%.
Various combinations of bookings:
- If you have 4 headsets there might be such bookings as: 1 person/3 people; 2 people/2 people; 4 people as a group.
- But if you have 12 headsets the combinations are: 6/6, 2/6/4, 4/4/4, 5/5/2, 3/3/3/3, 4/4/2/2, 2/10, 3/9, 12 as a group and so on.
Simple math, but also strong proof that the percentage of your occupancy rate will be increased and there will be more flexibility as well as the combinations for the number of people during the same time slot, if you have 12+ headsets.
⏰ Asymmetrical time slots
The most common time slot differentiation is 1 hour. Let us prove that having asymmetrical time slots will only benefit your business.
Let's say you operate with 12 headsets, have 1 gamemaster and 2 booked time slots 6 people in each. The first booking is at 10am and the second is at 10.30am.
One staff member can easily serve the first group and while they play, welcome the second one. When the 1st finishes the game, the gamemaster has just enough time to clean the headsets for upcoming booking and be ready to assist the 2nd group when they complete the game.
You are able to cut the cost of having too many staff members, as well as being able to run your location smoothly with 1 staff member, whilst not pressing so much onto his/her shoulders at once, making their work more effective.
Periodically you leave behind a big chunk of potential customers on time slots. For some people the slots at 12.00pm and 1.00pm are not suitable, but the 12.30pm is good for them! Asymmetrical slots are a key to running a business with 12+ headsets successfully. This flexibility will open opportunities for more potential clients.
The Facts mentioned above demonstrate that with asymmetrical slots, the margins of your business scales, while the costs of having staff and a big amount of headsets lowers. It is much easier to open a successful business with 12+ headsets, as you can offer different asymmetrical time slots, the unit cost of each session will decrease, and the amount of bookings will grow, and you have the opportunity to switch players to other headsets if one is not functioning properly.
💸 Good prices for session
Do not be afraid to drive the price up, as the practice shows you will not lose your customers, instead - ramp up your marginality with a fair price!
You have 30 USD as the original price, approximately 27 USD is spent on other costs and your profit is 3 USD. Just by raising the price from 30 USD to 33 USD, your profit will grow to 6 USD, as your other costs are more likely to be constant. This may sound like just a small increase, but in reality you scale your profitability up 100%.
You can drive your prices up by more than 3 USD, consequently the percentage of your profit is increased too.
We have created an internal financial model for calculating the marginality of VR venues and defining the optimal price for tickets. Let us know if you are interested in receiving this, and we will be happy to customize it for your case and share our expertise!
1. Prime time and non-prime time differences
The majority of VR venues owners are scared to raise their original prices during prime time.
Through our analysis, we can assure you that making different price options depending on prime time and non-prime time will only benefit your business.
Example - 🎥 Cinema.
If people want to experience premieres during weekends or evenings, they pay more than for a regular ticket on weekdays or mornings.
The VR business is not an exception! Everyone would like to play on Friday evening or during the weekends. This is your perfect opportunity to raise the prices. It is up to you how much to increase them, but we would say that driving the price up to 30% for prime time will not scare your clients away, and at the same time will increase your profits tremendously.
To not lose any potential clients, you should use your optimal price for non-prime time. Increasing the price for prime time will help you to solve the issue of occupancy rates as well as scale your sales. Depending on our calculations you have approximately only 15% of prime time, so make the most of it!
🤝 Get to know your customer
All the stages of customer experience should be top-notch. We believe that a client-oriented model of internal operations is a key to having satisfied customers and a great percentage of recurrence of visitors.
1. Trouble-free booking
Make sure your booking system is easy to understand and the amount of time it takes for a potential client to book a time slot is minimized.
One of the most common reasons why people go to the booking page, but do not book a time slot successfully is they simply forget. If you have a promotion on different aggregators, which direct potential customers to your booking page, please make sure you do not lose them.
Due to the fact that the game is multiplayer in most cases, and people tend to come in groups of at least two, customers need to all agree on the time which will suit all of the participants, and this can result in them leaving the booking page.
To prevent this, use 🔔 reminders like messengers, emails to jog their memory of an unfinished booking. If you can at least get their phone number or email before they leave the page, you will have an opportunity to remind them about an uncompleted reservation.
2. Gather personal information about your customers, when they come to your venue
There are various ways on how to do it, but we recommend handing out a tablet with some kind of questionnaire before the start of the game.
Make sure you have such fields for a client to fill out like:
- birthday date,
- games they have already tried,
- what type of group they are.
If you know their birthdays, you are able to create special marketing campaign. Make special discounts and invite people to celebrate their special day at your venue.
If you have information about the type of group 👫- family, friends, couple, kids, colleagues, you will narrow the target audience. So in the future you can send special offers, which will definitely make them come back to you.
If you are aware of what games customers have already played, you can simply select what to offer for the next time they attend.
3. Quality of onboarding for customers
During our business trip we found out that a small percentage of all locations pay enough attention to the quality of onboarding for customers.
But we were pleasantly surprised that some partners created their onboarding for customers with 🧠 creativity and dedication.
- If you have enough space, have a separate small room or separate zone with a television screen or a tablet, where one of the staff members invites players.
- Show a short video or a presentation about the game, without spoilers or any clues for puzzles.
- Educate clients on how to use the VR equipment and tell the story of the game as well as explain what the main goal of the game is.
That way you promote the clients interest together by providing better understanding of the game itself. The customers will be on cloud nine if they are fully aware of what’s going on, besides seeing that you truly care about providing the best experience.
We strongly believe that this is a prominent example of how you can win the customers over without putting too much effort and resources to it.
4. Follow up email/message after a visit
This is a great way of showing appreciation and value of your clients. Personalized small messages with thanks for coming in addition to inviting them to come next time will likely encourage them to return in the future.
📇 Promo materials lead to an instant 2nd booking
If you have a website with promo, posters, banners, printed promo, television screens or tablets with trailers, anything which shows the variety of the library choices, it will help you to convince clients to return for an instant 2nd booking. Visibility plays a huge part in the level of recurrence of the customers.
During our visits we discovered that after seeing several trailers, customers are prone to try out several games instead of one. This is a good time to offer a chance to book another time slot straight away. Instant bookings and payments should be followed by a discount not less than 10%.
If you want to have it all at once, we can create a website where your clients will have an opportunity to book a time, as well as to see what games are available.
Please share in the comments, so we can see if it's relevant.
🍻 Relax area and drinks
It is crucial to have a space at your location, where your customers can relax or wait for their time slot, more importantly to catch their breath after the game and share their experience with you.
The recurring rate of customers is also dependent on the after the game time and place where they stay. The lack of such a place means losing an opportunity to influence their choice to come back to you, and having a totally pleasant experience.
Make sure you offer for them to try other games and provide them with printed or virtual promo material.
The main mistake of gamemasters was brought to light during our business trip. Answering the question - “What else do you have for us to try?” with “We have 80+ other games, look at the screen.” Let's say you are in a restaurant and you want to consult with the waiter about what to order. Imagine having a response : “We have 80 dishes listed on the menu you can choose from” instead of “Do you like cheese? Try out our 4 cheese 🍕 pizza! Our restaurant is famous for it!”.
Gamemasters should not be scared to ask detailed questions and try to find out what would be the best choice for future visits for the particular client. There is no denying that having a small chat about customers' experience is a crucial part of increasing the chances of them coming back to your venue. Your clients need to know exactly what experience they should return for next time, and it's the job of operators to convince them that you have something special waiting for that next visit.
If the space allows, the relaxation area should include:
- TV screens, which show trailers or how the game is played by others.
- Drinks, you may offer at least some water. Most of the VR games presuppose physical activity, so players will need to take a minute and grab a drink.
- Comfy chairs, couches or armchairs.
- Printed promo materials, banners, posters, where clients can take photos and share on social media.
With that being said, having a visually nice and comfortable relaxation area will leave an amazing impression of high-quality service, and it will inspire customers to try other experiences and drinks, working as an upsell method. Add to the mix, a small chat after the game, and you can influence the choice of whether they will come back to your venue.
🎓 Educated staff
One of the most vital components of a successful business is educated and top-level staff. The overall customers’ impression is directly based on the professionalism of your staff members. The quality of service may attract more potential customers or prevent them not only from returning, but also from bringing new clients.
Personnel should be polite and welcoming, asking customers questions like:
- How are you doing?
- How was your trip there?
- Where did you hear about your venue?
- Have you tried VR before?
- Do you have any questions regarding the game or how to use a VR headset and controllers?/Is everything clear?
- Do you need any assistance?
- Would you like something to drink?
- How was your experience?/Did you like it?
- Do you have any ideas about what you want to try next time?
We know it all sounds quite basic, but these little things influence customers, and help you to win them over. Unfortunately, only a few of the locations we visited have done those things.
☝🏻 Note: if you have 12+ headsets you can hire at least 2 staff members, one who is more experienced in the technical side of things and the other whose strong side is communication and soft-skills.
Another important aspect, which may influence customers' return is the quality of hardware. We personally experienced minor glitches on most of the locations that we have attended. These issues will definitely decrease the level of returning visitors. Please make sure that your equipment runs smoothly.
Please keep in mind that educated and first-rate staff as well as high-quality hardware may double your return rate.
Authored by Elizaveta Novikova and Bohdana Savchuk