The reception area: greeting customer professionally
The reception area must be both inviting and functional. Client distribution is going to happen at this particular place. The purpose of this area is to provide customers with the most detailed information about the arena.
The entrance area should be designed in the same manner as the labyrinth, although this is not paramount. It is more important that the clients get a general idea about the place. This can be achieved by hanging the labyrinth site plan on the wall, and providing information on prices, promotions, discounts, battle rules and hanging an accomplishment board for the most active players and teams. It would be wise to place a couple of sofas and a TV there – for those who would like to watch the battle live.
Comfort is above all
The administrator’s working place may be represented either by a pullout compact stand (if you are trying to save some space), or a full size reception desk 1 – 1.2 metres high, with a high partition added to the writing table. The second option is more appropriate when there is no separate room for the game coordinator. The partition on the desk will help him concentrate on his work without getting distracted.
In practice, closets for the game equipment, cloakroom, and other things as well as the administrator’s desk and sofas for teams awaiting their turn, are placed in the reception room in order to save space. That is to say, arena owners bring all their staff and customers together literally in a two square metre room, instead of allotting several separated areas for various purposes. This approach is inconvenient for both guests and the employees, in particular when the arena enjoys popularity and serves teams nonstop (wasn’t it the goal you aimed to achieve when you were setting up your company?).
Subsequently, it is always going to be noisy and messy in the reception room: some will come in to play, others will have just finished playing and will be sharing their impressions, while someone will come in to see what’s going on, and so on. Yet one can avoid this all by using plasterboard partitions or at least by using screens. If you don’t have separate rooms for equipping a recreation area, a coordinator’s room and a cloakroom, “build” them from the available material.
Breaking the area up into separate parts will allow the arena staff who are not in charge of greeting the clients, to work more efficiently.
WOW-effect or simplicity?
Well, to be honest, in the context of the Russian market, considering frequently sky-high rental prices, at times one has to cut down on important things. The reception area may be left altogether unequipped. Indeed, some customers, such as professional teams from laser tag clubs, are not particular about design or special effects, not to mention an attractive reception room. They come for the sake of playing the game and improving their skills. Yet professional players are not the target market for arenas. Arenas’ regular customers include children and teenagers, families, groups of friends and colleagues who want to have a good time together and experience new positive emotions. Such clients are fussy about all the details: the layout, comfort and a cheerful administrator are all important for them. Let them feel the arena atmosphere from the start – the result will be happy customers who will come back again.
Some arenas work in this manner: book teams for a particular day and time (for instance, for the weekend, or whenever there are enough customers wishing to play), hold the game and close down till the next booking. They have few casual customers or guests who drop by to get more information. Unlike the arenas that are located inside shopping centres where the chance to work non-stop is very high, such arenas are established at separate places. For some reason they bypass reception area design, even though a big share of their customers are kids. It is common knowledge that children are visual thinkers, attracted to everything bright and unusual. Impressing them is a piece of cake: decorating the reception area with colourful balloons will suffice.
Provided the arena is inside a shopping centre – a place with numerous ads and bright signs – you will have to compete with other entertainment centres and use all the means for this at hand, whether you want this or not. All in all, if the arena aims at newbies or those who would like to play with their own team from time to time, or by themselves, be ready to surprise them. The wow-effect means a lot for such clients. You have to impress them from the very start. Still one must admit that most people pay attention to the ambience of the arena, as well as to the maze itself. It only takes us one minute to create our opinion about a new object. You should bear this in mind, when you are deciding on whether you need a reception area or not.