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The Castle Fun Center

The Castle Fun Center Saves Costs with a Single Printer for Tickets, Wristbands

Castle Fun Center

Entertainment Complex Prints Professional, Customized Tickets for Event Center

In Chester, NY, The Castle Fun Center is the place for year-round family entertainment. Open for more than 20 years, the large entertainment complex offers something for everyone: roller skating, laser tag, go karts, a laser maze, arcade games, mini golf, batting cages, driving range, climbing wall, bumper cars, roller derby, restaurant and pub, and more.

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The Challenge

The complex's event center hosts concerts, comedy shows and private gatherings in three different venues, seating from 400 to several thousand people. In a short time, it's become a regional venue to see local and national entertainers. Attendees can buy tickets online or in person at the entertainment complex.

The Castle Fun Center added live events to its lineup of entertainment and it needed a way to print tickets, quickly and with a professional look.

With a growing events schedule, the Fun Center wanted to generate paper tickets on demand. The facility initially tried printers from a leading provider, but poor support and slow turnaround times left the company looking for other options.

"We had a lot of unanswered questions with our previous printer," said Mike Baier, technology engineer at The Castle Fun Center. "We could be in the middle of running 1000 tickets and couldn't get support. We needed a more reliable provider."

The Solution

The Castle Fun Center turned to L-Tron Corporation, a data collection and barcode systems consultant. L-Tron's technical expert recommended the Zebra S4M direct thermal printer. The S4M prints barcoded tickets, enables easy and quick customization per event and integrates out of the box with the company's point-of-sale system, CenterEdge Software. Additionally, the entertainment center would cut costs on paper stock, without cutting quality.

"Instead of paying extra for tickets with pre-cut perforations, the S4M cuts tickets right on the spot. We get heavy stock on a roll and just load it in. It has the heavy feel that customers expect from event tickets," Baier said.

L-Tron assisted the company in setup and configuration. From there, Baier began customizing his own ticket designs using Zebra templates.

Using pre-ordered paper stock branded with its company logo and colors, the Fun Center prints barcoded tickets as orders are processed in CenterEdge Software. Barcoding ensures that tickets are valid—with a quick scan—and gives the Fun Center insight into who attended events.

With templates in the S4M, the Fun Center sells tickets for multiple events simultaneously and prints all on one printer—even if orders for different events come in one after the other. Logging the sale in the POS system pulls the correct event information into the ticket fields for print.

"We can have 10 different events and print 10 different types of tickets back to back," Baier said.

With a networked version of the S4M, Baier can flexibly move the printer throughout the large complex as needed. For example, the Fun Center may need to print a high volume of tickets just prior to an event starting. In such cases, it can locate the printer right there at the event site as customers arrive.

"We just unplug the S4M from the network and plug it back in at another location, without having to reinstall software," Baier said.

One Printer, Multiple Uses
Zebra's versatile S4M not only prints the company's event tickets, but wristbands as well. A recent addition to the Fun Center's operations, wristbands are issued for groups, restricted access events or time-based activities. For example, customers in a group or birthday party receive wristbands that specify which activities they can participate in. Using Zebra's Z-Band Fun wristbands, the Fun Center can choose from various colors, helping distinguish wristbands for different activities.

For time-limited events such as batting cages or roller skating, the wristbands list the date, eligible activities and expiration time. For "Winter Wednesdays," wristbands allow unlimited play from 3-9 p.m. Or, for the pub, the Fun Center can issue wristbands only for those over 21.

The Castle Fun Center can print all of the above with a single S4M. Staff members simply process sales in CenterEdge, which pulls the right data fields and sends tickets or wristbands to print.

Results

Working with L-Tron to make the switch to the Zebra S4M supports The Castle Fun Center's expanding events calendar with quick, reliable and customizable ticket printing. With automated printing based on sales, the Fun Center's young staff doesn't need any specific training. They simply log a sale and tickets or wristbands print correctly in seconds.

L-Tron and Zebra help the company keep its hardware and supply costs down. The Fun Center flexibly relies on one printer for tickets and wristbands, and doesn't need pre-cut ticket stock. Over the course of a year, the entertainment complex saves several hundred on media costs. Plus, tickets on heavy paper, instead of receipt paper, give the emerging event center a more professional front.

From Baier's perspective, ease of customization and low maintenance requirements mean he spends minimal time on the S4M. "We spend less time troubleshooting the printer, which has been a good change," he said. "We also have peace of mind knowing that we can pick up the phone and get the support we need from L-Tron or Zebra."

Looking ahead, Baier sees other opportunities for The Castle Fun Center to save time and improve operations with printing, such as asset tracking of the complex's large inventory of prizes, equipment and merchandise.