Ever since first opening we have kept our prices extremely competitive, with only two small price increases between 2016-2020. However, the pandemic forced many changes onto us, some of which were positive but all of which added to our costs in some way. To be honest, some of the changes were needed and the pandemic simply brought them forward, but it also highlighted just how under-priced the indoor play sector was, compared to any other child-focused business sector. That’s not to say we want to charge you more, it’s only to point out that there has always been an expectation of lower prices for indoor play generally, despite it requiring some of the largest initial and ongoing investment of any business sector. This is why we had to increase our prices when reopening in Sept 2020 after the first lockdown. Although much of the increase was down to higher costs brought on by the pandemic, some of it was simply a rebalancing to try and protect our future as a business.
One of the measures put in place by government to help businesses recover from the pandemic was a temporary VAT reduction to 5% for the whole hospitality & leisure sector. This was of course very welcome. We all know that we have to pay taxes just like everybody else (and small businesses pay far more taxes than larger businesses, relevant to their overall earnings) but VAT is hated because it is a ‘hidden’ tax, and government know this. It’s not hidden literally of course but rather ‘hidden in plain view’, in that you, the customer, completely forgets there’s a tax there at all. If we charge you £12, for example, not many of you would realise that we’re actually charging you £10; the other £2 goes straight to government (at the normal rate of 20%). This is why government love VAT as a taxing tool, not only because it’s ‘hidden’ but because quite often businesses will try to absorb any VAT increases to keep their prices stable, knowing that customers almost always blame the business for any increase, not the government.
Our prices coming out of the first lockdown were based on the temporarily reduced rate of 5%. We were tempted to base our prices on normal VAT levels, knowing that the rate would eventually revert back to 20% anyway, but it was a jump too far and we also felt it was a little dishonest pricing for a future change. Sadly, the 5% rate has now come to an end and on Friday 1st Oct it increased to 12.5%, as one step back towards 20%. We can no longer absorb any such increases so on Mon 4th October we had no choice but to increase our pricing by the relevant amount. Please note that we do not make a single penny extra from our price change, it is only to cover the additional VAT. If Government do indeed put it back to 20% next year we will have no choice but to add it to our prices again (although there is an industry campaign starting now to hold it at 12.5% indefinitely for hospitality, leisure and tourism).
As a final note to this, we often hear complaints of indoor play centres being expensive, so we thought we’d put together a little chart for comparison, to show you just what good value we are! Obviously, there are many things you can do with your children that cost less, or may even be free (at least at the point of use) and there a large variances to consider with regard to how much of your adult time and concentration is required alongside each of the experiences below, so we’ve only included the most popular. We hope this shows you why we’re one of the best value experiences you can share with your child!
All prices are based on one adult and one child and we’ve tried to be as objective as possible – the price shown for us is our standard price but many of the other prices shown may include special offers or weekday discounts, for example. We’ve made some assumptions to reach the price per hour figure but we believe they’re all quite realistic, we can give you the details of our calculations if you wish, please just ask.