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Member of the Month and Views on Memberships

Over the weekend I went out to play some laser tag as usual. I had been playing for almost the entire night before something caught my eye. Apparently this had been flashing right in front of me all evening and, oblivious me, I hadn't actually noticed it until the last fifteen minutes of the night.

I didn't even see the whole message at first, just my name blinking on the new LED board. I asked Jared why my name was flashing and he informed me that I was the member of the month. Well...that's a nice surprise! To be perfectly honest I have no idea what that means or how I was chosen, but I was told that it's a new promotion that they are starting and I appreciate that they picked me to start it off. Many thanks! The Fun Warehouse is a great place to play laser tag and I enjoy being a member...I must, because I have roughly seven or eight memberships here!

This actually gives me an opportunity to bring up something that I've had a few interesting discussions about recently...memberships in general.

Most places where memberships are offered there are a few incentives that make them particularly appealing to the players. Things like choosing your own custom code name, tracking personal stats and unlocking achievements or power-ups are among the typical perks common across most laser tag systems that have membership options. Sometimes there may be discounts or other perks made available depending on the individual business location as well. And often times the more frequent, dedicated players won't mind paying a little extra to have access to these perks.

Like with anything, there can be pros and cons, so from the site operator's perspective there may be reasons both for and against implementing memberships. Here are a few varying perspectives.

When asked about memberships at this particular Laserforce site where I was playing in Syracuse, NY manager Michael Brandt explained why they see memberships as a benefit to the business, saying “We use memberships to help create a customer database and a repeat customer. All of our memberships come with special member pricing, access to member only events, and in game features that makes the laser tag experience a much more interactive one. We encourage all of our customers to become members if they want to be involved in leagues and tournaments, as these are required to access them.”

Meanwhile Laser Quest has taken a different approach in recent years. Although traditional memberships were once offered at Laser Quest locations, that is no longer the case. However frequent players can become an LQ Arena member and use their app instead which allows access to other kinds of incentives. In this excerpt from a February 2019 interview, Laser Quest Vice President Jeff Morris related his take on memberships...

I've also heard opinions from some people about reasons to NOT have memberships. During a recent discussion I had with one site owner who has seen and helped laser tag establishments all over the world I learned that for his own business he opts against offering memberships. I asked him the reasons why and, I'll paraphrase, but the essence of what he said is that sometimes members can feel a bit too entitled, can start to take over and become overbearing when playing with the public and he also told me that most of the highest grossing laser tag facilities actually do not offer or encourage memberships. I was a bit surprised to hear that last part (let me say the source is quite knowledgeable, but this was a casual conversation so I have no statistical info at hand to corroborate that). I can certainly understand his point, but personally I think there is also potential for these same members to have their “enthusiasm” redirected in ways that can be helpful to a business. As you can see there are a variety of opinions about the value of memberships and what they can mean to a laser tag operation.

As a player I think memberships are a way of adding to the sense of community that I value in the tag sites I visit the most. And while I'm not deterred by the lack of it, I definitely feel that I am more likely to actively take interest and engage in the activities at the sites where I feel that sense of community the strongest, whether it's local or from afar. I don't become a member everywhere I go of course, but I do have active memberships at laser tag centers in North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, California even Hawaii (codename "Tivia in HI") just to name a few. To me being a member is more about the experience and the people, so when I decide to become a member somewhere that means more than just having a means having a connection.

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