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7 Tips to Strike a Winning Solution for Your Bowling Business

12 June 2018 | Blog Posts

This column was originally featured in the June 2018 issue of RePlay Magazine.

Photo of a redemption counter
While bowling continues to be one of America’s most popular forms of indoor recreation, the industry continues to face some challenges brought about by market shift and the need to be adaptive to change.

Photo of Blair Scopp of Player One Amusement GroupNo matter the type of model used – be it a traditional bowling center, an FEC, a hybrid, or a boutique bowling alley – there are ways to add even more fun and profit to your location. If you’re already thinking about renovating a space, refreshing the offering to include a multi-attraction experience for your guests can be a great way to inject a new dimension and revenue stream to your core business.

Adding a redemption games room, laser tag, rope course, party rooms, as well as enhanced dining and bar options, are all worthwhile investments to help enhance your offering to both families and corporate groups.

Here’s our list of tips for a winning solution when it comes to operating games and attractions:

  1. Put the attractions close to the entrance – Doing so makes every guest pass through the new attractions area instead of keeping it where it might be out of sight and out of mind.

  2. Be strategic about your game mix – Redemption and instant merchandise games lead the way, but be sure to think about the mix of games that will be best suited for your audiences.

  3. Design an optimal floor plan – Optimize the placement and maximize the use of the space to encourage your guests to stay longer and spend more.

  4. Add a redemption counter with a great prize offering – Don’t underestimate the power of merchandising. While different from typical retail store executions, the prize merchandising strategy can have a huge impact on revenues. Put yourself in the shoes of the person redeeming and tailor the offerings accordingly.

  5. Integrate a playcard system – Cashless and ticketless systems will help provide guests with a more seamless experience. It also comes with the added benefit of being able to closely monitor game performance so you can make smart decisions about your game mix and promotions.

  6. Develop and implement your new operational structure – Now that you have a new game plan to earn more revenue and retain customers during busy times by giving them something to do while they wait for their lanes, ensure you’ve documented how it affects day-to-day operations.

  7. Provide staff training – It’s an important step that ties everything together and helps employees provide great customer service and result in memorable experiences for your customers.

Photo of a redemption counter

Real World Results

This all sounds great, but does it work? A prominent 40-lane bowling center wanted to transform into a contemporary FEC to provide a multi-attraction experience. By strategically removing the first ten bowling lanes near the entrance to add a redemption arcade, upgraded dining experience, party rooms and laser tag, the location’s income actually ended up being twice what was projected. The new attractions were so popular they decided to add 50 percent more space for the game room. By the way, bowling revenue also increased significantly as a result of engaging a new customer base.

Through experience, we’ve seen firsthand that growth is evident within the bowling sector, especially in venues focused on creating social and interactive entertainment experiences. Tap into new business building ideas and take advantage of the potential earnings you might be leaving on the table.

Blair Schopp started in the industry in 1987 as a route manager – eventually becoming Canadian route director in 2007 – for Starburst Coin Machines where he helped grow and develop the company into a dominant player in the Canadian Market. Schopp, currently VP of Operations for P1AG, said, “The best career advice I ever received was ‘treat it like it’s your own.’” His favorite saying is, “The proof is in the cashbox” because it is literally applicable in our business. Schopp says that among the highlights of his job is how he loves seeing the passion his team brings to their jobs every day.

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