COMPETITIVE SOCIALIZING: A PASSING TREND, OR A COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE BOON? March 22, 2023 | Commercial Real Estate News , Property Investment | real estate trends , business tips , commercial real estate tenants , restaurant , special purpose facility What’s popular in the world of commercial real estate is dependent on both cultural needs and capitalizing on trends that effectively draw in an audience. One trend making waves is “competitive socializing,” but are these venues a passing fad, or a sign of a rapid transformation in the entertainment sector? Let’s take a look at what exactly this broad concept is, and why it’s making such a splash in commercial real estate. The History of Competitive Socializing Competitive socializing is a term that commercial real estate investors and property owners have likely come across in association with many of the new “experience-based” businesses growing in popularity. Commonly considered a fusion of hospitality and entertainment, competitive socializing venues look to combine high-quality or niche food and beverages with a unique game or experience. The bones of this concept have been around for some time in the states through restaurants like Chuck E. Cheese or Dave & Buster’s, where customers can enjoy a meal along with classic arcade-style games. Prior to then, though, the term was first used in the U.K. where pubs have long been central gathering points for games and drink. Today, unique concepts that try to fill the need of an outgoing social experience are cropping up in the US and across the globe, and their success is hard to ignore. For the most part, these venues are modeled around a single classic game or sport (e.g. Topgolf with golf, Chicken N Pickle with pickleball, AceBounce with table tennis, and Flight Club with darts), and the casual competition seems to have capitalized on a deep desire for interaction. Finding an Audience and Filling a Need Though the basic concepts around competitive socializing aren’t new, there is a fair question as to why this has become so much more popular in recent years. According to a pre-pandemic Harris Poll which surveyed Americans based on their preferences on spending money, a shocking 78% of millennials said they preferred “experiences over things.” After losing opportunities to pursue these “experiences” during the pandemic, competitive socializing venues have stepped in as the perfect answer to their entertainment priorities. In a study conducted by Cushman & Wakefield, one of the world’s largest CRE firms, competitive socializing concepts have seen a growth of 386% since 2021. While this growth can be associated with a number of different things, the conditions of other industries in commercial real estate have certainly been to the benefit of these venues. The continuing struggles seen by traditional indoor malls have led to large, anchor tenants moving out and other businesses that formerly occupied sizable lots have turned into vacant spaces. Competitive socializing businesses, meanwhile, demand considerable space and, thanks to their popularity, provide a boost in foot traffic for their neighbors as well. The Circumstances for Success Competitive socializing businesses can be a boon to a neighborhood or complex, but there are a few attributes that tend to lead to success. Similarly to other restaurants or bars, location has a strong influence on these new venues’ prosperity. Audience demographics can vary depending on the venue’s concept, but the most important thing to consider is whether its location means easy access to its core customer base. In general, highly urbanized areas with dense population, high foot traffic, and a younger clientele is ideal. After a location that’s conducive to activity and with easy access to customers has been secured, the venue needs to nail its concept. Ideally, these businesses need their “experience” to be easy to capture in a snapshot and shareable to their customers’ social media outlets as an additional marketing outlet. For millennials and Gen Z, their ability to record and broadcast their experiences can be just as important (or even more important) than the experience itself. At National Property Inspections, our CRE professionals have the expertise and experience needed to perform a meticulously efficient commercial property inspection, and adapt to meet the needs of each unique case. Contact Us Today to schedule your next inspection!