What Works at FECs
Wild Island Coconut Bowl is a locally owned family entertainment center (FEC) and water park located in Sparks, Nevada. As such, our facility has acted as—and remained—a staple of the community. With the trials of the past two years during the global pandemic, like many other businesses, we adjusted to stay afloat. What works? Here are three success we’ve found that proven beneficial for us at Wild Island Coconut Bowl.
To begin, addressing staffing levels is a trial in and of itself—every industry can relate. In order to combat the ever-growing staff call-outs, no-call no-shows, etc., we had to get creative. Rather than host one or two large annual parties to celebrate our front-line staff, we decided to break them down and offer more frequent events in an effort to improve morale. These parties each include complimentary food, activities, and raffle prizes. Staff who showed up and worked for all their shifts within the period between parties were able to attend the celebration. Our idea behind the parties is to incentivize staff to arrive at work on time for their shift and enjoy time with their peers outside of work at our FEC. We have since hired about 25% more employees than our average since 2019, and we’ve simultaneously seen our retention rate at Wild Island Coconut Bowl increase 3% between 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
The second success we’ve seen at Wild Island Coconut Bowl is upgrading a large portion of our entire 125,000-square-foot facility to self-service stations—primarily kiosks. This includes the ability to purchase and reload arcade cards from kiosks, order food and beverage (F&B) items from kiosks, and have F&B items delivered to your seating area. The kiosks have proven so successful, most recently, our FEC added several brand-new-to-the-industry kiosks where guests are now able to pay for and reserve bowling lanes in advance or play immediately without the requirement of visiting a service desk.
Lastly, Wild Island Coconut Bowl created a shop-n-go style redemption store in our arcade area. Now our guests can redeem tickets at their leisure.
All of these features combined create a more immersive guest experience and have drastically decreased wait times for F&B and attractions, which is a goal we set and continue to work toward.
Editor’s Note: What Works is a new addition to Funworld in 2023. In each issue of the magazine, an IAAPA member will share insights and trends that others in the global attractions industry may use to benefit their operation. Have process or program you’re proud of? Share “what works” at your business by contacting [email protected].