Sam Sutton – New Forest Activities
April 26, 2017

My name is Sam Sutton, my company is new forest activities that I run with Rich the other Director.

We provide a whole load of fun and enlightening things to do in the national park, we have a core of water sports activities based around canoeing and kayaking and then we have got the land based activities based around the Battlefield and then a ropes course centre with Archery, high and low ropes and alongside that a couple of Battlefields as well.  New Forest Activities is now the largest provider of outdoor activities within The National Park

Where did our journey begin?  Well we were 2 lads straight out of university, we did a course in outdoor studies which was basically making use of the outdoors as a classroom, set up a canoeing and kayaking company initially, then after 4-5 years in business we picked up on the Battlefield Live brand and the Battlefield Sports equipment, investigated it and then set up on the back of that.  We’ve now been running battlefield for 6 – 7 years now, and here we are!

We started the laser tag business because we wanted a really solid land based option as up until then 80% of our income was water based and seasonal so we wanted a solid land activity to give us an annual spread of income and give us something solid we could sell as a land based option.  The first 4-5 seasons we were running with it, Battlefield was the core of the land activities and then we introduced the ropes

We came across Battlefield Sports when one of our activity providers had another company’s kit that we tried out and we thought the concept of laser tag was fantastic!  We started looking around and there was only 2 or 3 good suppliers that had metal guns the others were a bit cartoony and we were looking for quality, durable proper outdoor activity kit.

When we went to see the guns at Battlefield Sports HQ we saw them and the new SATR technology with feedback and were sold on the technological edge that those guns had compared to the other ones we had tried out elsewhere.  Battlefield sports also had various different models and that seemed to be the way to do it really.

What’s pleased us most about the Battlefield Sports equipment is the Durability and life span of the kit, it has been through thick and thin, it’s been through wet sessions, mud, we’ve got guns that are 6-7 years old that are still running!  Other than expanding the gun range, we’ve kept the full numbers from the original investment,

ROI has been good, the kit is largely reliable, it means you can go on session after session and the battery life is fantastic.  That was something that concerned me before we purchased, if these don’t last the game then we are in the middle of nowhere then it’s going to be a huge problem!  The battery life really proves itself, you haven’t got to charge the guns every day which is fab.   Then location wise because it was very low impact, there’s not paint spread everywhere, with little bits of plastic lying around after games.  This was particularly important due to our location being in a national park.

My favourite feature on the equipment is by far the feedback – People love the feedback, and that ability of knowing when you’ve hit something, getting that satisfaction of a casualty or kill confirmed, is really really good, for us that’s brilliant and really really good.

The No1 thing our clients say about the equipment is it surpasses expectations, the experience what they have by and large exceeds what they thought it would be.  Females especially on a corporate day out say ‘I didn’t think I would like that but I love it”.  The whole experience without a shadow of a doubt exceeds expectations, from the kids to the ladies and gentlemen that are coming down as part of a business day or granddads and grandmothers that join in with the kids.

Starting a laser tag business has enabled us to now run all year round which we were not doing before we invested in the equipment.  It means we can confidently run the business all year round, we get party bookings and group bookings all through winter, so it allows us to enjoy a back office rather than us trying to do everything ourselves. It provides a decent backbone to the business as we do a good job so we do get quite a lot of repeat bookings, it’s a really solid and really reliable income.  It means we can keep the business kicking around as a viable entity.

The mid week has been quite transformational for us in our business strategy, we focussed on generating income Monday – Friday and this has been transformative for the business, since we have identified and focussed more on groups markets, school projects, youth projects and business event days.

We would definitely recommend Battlefield Sports equipment.   The range of equipment is really solid, fairly simple to use, the training is straight forward, it’s a fairly simple process to get a staff member set up running the battlefield if they have good presenting skills, the accessibility of it really good, different shaped guns, different sized guns, means that everybody from a child to a full grown adult can find something to suit their playing style.

David definately is leading from the front as well as being a brand ambassador for Battlefield Sports equipment.  What David and his team are also doing with his own laser tag site in Oxford using the milsim theme, I think it is fantastic.  The passion is a shining example and is really good and we enjoy that, We are for sure happy with our investment in the Battlefield Sports Equipment, it’s delivered for sure, we would never think of dropping it from our line of activities

We have really exciting growth and expansion plans this year for Battlefield LIVE New forest, we have just expanded to another national site Moors Valley Country Park which has huge footfall and enables us to expand our activity offerings further and we will continue to grow our business and scale it over the coming years which is the long term goal.

Sam Sutton – Director – New Forest Activities & Battlefield LIVE New Forest –