Moving Past the Pandemic | What’s Next?
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives, changed the way we conduct business and altered the operational procedures in place for the center. Many have experienced loss of loved ones or friends, loss of their livelihood, grief, and isolation. A crisis like this can either paralyze a center or force it to thrive. As I prepared to write this blog post, I spent some time reflecting on the first half of 2020. It has been a challenging year in so many ways, but within every set of challenges, there are opportunities.
People are slowly starting to transition back to normal activities. Centers that successfully gained the trust of their customers during the quarantine will start to reap the benefit of their marketing efforts during that time.
As the world starts to adapt to the new normal, we need to shift away from the strong COVID-19 related messaging and gravitate to the fun experience you offer. Centers should expect to see a change in their customer’s purchasing behavior. Centers will need to market and attract both new and existing customers. Now is the time to reassess how customers make their purchasing decisions. It’s time to recalibrate their journey, understanding new insights on customer experience in the post-COVID-19 world. CEO and Executive Director for InnoVision Marketing Group Ric Milti noted what marketers should expect on how consumers buying behavior will unfold in the new COVID-19 environment
No longer can the center afford to let marketing get pushed to the bottom of the to do list. In fact, the center should have a well thought out, aggressive plan to generate new business. Approach reopening the center as if you are opening the center for the very first time. Here’s a few marketing strategies to help you thrive:
Now’s the time to evaluate programs, promotions, and packages.
If you don’t have a loyalty program, start one. If you DO have a loyalty program, utilize it to reengage existing customers and drive business. Loyalty programs utilizing the QubicaAMF Frequent Bowler Tracker allows for promotions in which customers can receive additional points on specific days. Promote your loyalty program and reward your customers for stopping in. Offer new customers bonus points for signing up, create promotions for loyalty club members only. The sky is the limit with a loyalty program and customers will love it when they can get paid to have fun! Customers are looking for value without the loss of quality of experience and a loyalty program fits the bill perfectly. And remember, for your avid bowlers looking to better their game, don’t forget to advertise that as a loyalty club member, you can track your bowling statistics when they come out to practice. This is one of those features that is often overlooked, but is a competitive that can be leveraged, especially with competitive bowlers.
As crowd control becomes necessary to stay compliant with federal and state restrictions, time bowling is now accepted by bowlers that once refused to consider anything except bowling by the game. Now’s the perfect opportunity to make that transition to more time bowling offerings to better manage crowds and be more efficient with lane management. Customers realize change is inevitable with mandated restrictions and will be less likely to resist, as they may have done in the past. Game bowling can still be offered, if desired during select slow days or periods for those that won’t hear of bowling by time. Remember, time bowling can be by the lane or by the hour.
Many centers are reopening the center by reservation only. This gives the center full control of capacity and can result in a more enhanced experience. Reservations can certainly be taken over the phone but today’s customers have an expectation that much like shopping for groceries or making a reservations at their favorite restaurant, they can book their experience online and have a lane ready at the time they desire. With Web Reservations, centers can upsell the experience with food or beverages sold in advance and can opt to receive full payment in advance as an added convenience and safety enhancement for the customer of not dealing with money or credit cards once at the center. Take their online experience once step further by capturing the names, shoe sizes, bumper status, environment choice and any games desired in advance so the experience is full service and virtually touchless, that includes staff setting up. Utilize the Customer Courtesy Card found in the Marketing Kit or the customized versions found in the blog post Enhancing Customer Service | Kicking it Up a Notch.
The customers aren’t necessarily looking for a bargain but they are looking for a great experience and great service, both of which are easy to deliver. The customer doesn’t mind paying for an over the top experience and will often provide great organic advertising in the form of social media reviews, shared videos, photos, posts and conversations about the experience with family, friends and colleagues. Promote the amazing features of BES X to show the customers what an experience at your center can include. If your customer isn’t aware of the features you offer, how can they possibly ask to try them? If you don’t have a quick and easy way to show customers the options available at your center, download the BES X Customer Guide or Let Us Arrange a Striking Event BES X or Let Us Arrange a Striking BES X and HyperBowl today and open up a whole new world of fun for your customers.
QubicaAMF is committed to getting through this pandemic together and helping our customers rebound as quickly as possible and come out of this devastating time stronger and more resilient than ever. If your center doesn’t have the capability of managing reservations or setting up a loyalty program, there is a sweet deal you might want to consider. The Back To Bowling Web Booking Support Package offers a comprehensive, integrated solution for local and online reservations that will be upgradable in the future to our completely new enhanced platform. With an attractive offer, this immediate solution helps you deliver for customers who expect you to adapt to today’s changing model of customer service and booking models.
Make the commitment to move marketing to the top of your list from this point forward to get your center back on top and continuing to grow revenue. If you’re more comfortable in your bowling shoes than marketing shoes, we’re here to help. Inquire about the Virtual Marketing Manager Program and let us partner with you through this customized program to set you up for success. For more information, contact VMM@QubicaAMF.com
Is your marketing material top notch? Are you sending out the right message? The quality of your marketing material has a direct reflection on your center. Poorly printed material sends out a negative message. If you do not have a professional printer you regularly use, as a convenience, QubicaAMF has partnered with a nationwide printer who has all the marketing kit files, to include the Reopening Marketing Kit and has set up a Print Solution site for you to conveniently order marketing material and have it shipped directly to the center. Many of the marketing pieces can even be customized with the center logo as an added feature. To access the site, you must first set up an account by following the New User steps. For questions, customization of material or additional printing needs, contact:
Thompson Print and Mailing Solutions
Let’s put the negativity of the first half of 2020 behind us and focus on growing revenue to heights beyond the wildest imagination. Nationwide feedback has been that customers are excited to be back and ready to start having fun again. Let’s continue to give them great experiences and amazing memories that will keep bowling alive and well for years to come!
What was your customers’ reaction to reopening? Any pleasant surprises? Any unexpected challenges? What one word best describes the mood of your customers? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below.