Hospitality Business Magazine

Aussie entertainment brand sees Queenstown potential

A state-of-the-art Queenstown entertainment complex which would normally take just four months to create has finally opened its doors after two years, despite the lack of tourists in the resort town.

Kingpin Queenstown is the first overseas foray for the brand that has nine sites in Australia.

Its attractions include bowling alleys, cryptology ‘escape’ rooms, arcade and virtual reality gaming, karaoke rooms, table tennis, pool, two bars, and a restaurant.

Located in the Upper Village development near the town’s popular gondola ride, Kingpin had signed the lease for its Queenstown expansion when Covid-19 hit in early 2020, chief operating officer Belinda Falzon said.

The company, owned by the international TEEG entertainment group, decided to press on.

“We were excited to be opening in late 2020 and, obviously, just opening in 2022 gives you an idea of that vision,” she said.

“When we finally had restrictions lifted and we could get back working on the project, unfortunately Auckland was still in lockdown, and all of our fabrication gets done in Auckland.”

Prior to the pandemic, a Kingpin fit-out would take 16 weeks, she said.

Although all its attractions are open, the 610-person facility is limited to the 100-maximum under the red traffic light setting and is operating with half the staff it hopes to employ once it is at full capacity.

But Kingpin is being patient, said the Australian-based Falzon, who has yet to visit the site.

It sees a prime opportunity in Queenstown for an indoor entertainment venue other than food and beverage.

“There’s a gap in the market of filling time, whether you’ve been on the mountain all day and you’re wanting to catch up with people in a social setting outside of just dining, or the weather might be bad,” she said.

It also has high hopes for the Australian tourist market, which is already familiar with the Kingpin brand.

In the meantime, it was targeting the local market and staff were perfecting the art of running the complex, she said.

It was “thrilled” at this week’s announcement that border restrictions were being eased sooner than expected, allowing New Zealanders to come home without isolating.

TEEG also operates the Timezone and Zone Bowling entertainment brands and had opened nine new venues in this country in the past two years.

“We believe in New Zealand, and we can see already the potential of Queenstown when it comes back,” Falzon said.