The interest in bowling has dwindled in the past two decades or so, with league membership down to all time lows. However, there are bowling alleys that have been able to find their niche in the community, bring in the younger generation, and increase their overall revenues. What is their bowling alley marketing secret? Let’s find out.
Times Have Changed
Simply put, the younger generations are not interested in bowling at older, more traditional bowling alleys. When most of the population was blue collar workers, bowling and simple beer and snacks was viewed as a great recreational experience. However, with a population that has moved into white collar jobs, and requires better food, drink, and entertainment options, bowling alleys have to either create a more modern experience or risk going under.
League membership, which used to be the primary income for bowling alleys, has dropped by over 40%. Open bowlers, those that do not belong to a league but come in occasionally to play, have become the main source of income. Attracting these players and ensuring they come into play regularly and consistently is the key aspect of your bowling alley marketing.
Marketing Your Bowling Alley
As older bowling alleys are closing their doors, many others are opening and upgrading, experiencing long waits, and attracting new generations of players. Bowling alleys are repositioning themselves to be more than simply for bowling. There are many avenues a bowling alley can take to appeal to a more diverse clientele.
Family Friendly: Bowling alleys that provide smaller sized bowling balls, family friendly environments, and easy-to-use bumpers for little ones are attracting a previously under-appreciated niche for income. More and more families are choosing to spend an evening at the newer, updated bowling alleys, and they are bringing their money with them.
Birthday Parties & Other Events: According to one study, more than 10 million children under the age of 12 choose a bowling alley for a birthday party each year, making it the number one party destination for that age bracket. Other events that bowling alleys market for are kids sports celebrations, business socials, and corporate team building events.
Quality Food & Beverage Service: The days of stale beer and peanuts at bowling alleys is finally over. Today’s families and white collar workers want premium beverage options, appetizers, and meals that are more upscale and delicious. Many bowling alleys market to this audience by incorporating a separate area for sit-down dining, a full-service bar, and upscale menu.
Additional Entertainment: Modern bowling alleys have embraced the idea of offering something for everyone, and it’s paying off. No longer is bowling your only option. Many bowling alleys offer arcade games, sit down dining, full-service bar, meeting rooms, black light or glow in the dark pins, and other entertainment options.
The Future of Bowling Alleys
While traditional bowling alleys have lost their appeal to the majority of the population, trendsetting business owners have found a way to revitalize the bowling industry and find their way into the hearts of new clients. By adjusting your bowling alley marketing plan to focus on attracting younger generations, emphasizing family-friendly fun, and offering alternative entertainment, bowling alleys can continue to grow and remain profitable.