Things are beginning to look up! With over a year of restrictions, mandates and plummeting revenue it’s clear to see that people are ready to resume life in the new norm. The deployment of the COVID-19 vaccinations, curves are flattening, positive tests are decreasing and it’s time to get out and have fun…in a safe environment. Customers are ready!!! So let’s provide some fun, safe options for them to do just that.
Most centers have numerous options for the avid, competitive bowlers in the form of traditional leagues and tournaments but are you offering options for the customer that is definitely not a serious bowler but rather wants to come out, bowl, have some fun with friends and colleagues, eat, drink and blow off a little steam? It’s important to offer diversification in your programs to capture the needs of the various demographics. Is your center offering programs for non-traditional bowlers?
So what exactly is a non-traditional bowler? It’s someone who enjoys the thrill of bowling, but is more interested in fun, socializing with friends, having some tasty munchies and enjoying a few adult beverages rather than hoping to roll a 300. Listen in as Dan Patterson shares his point of view and ideas for non-traditional programs on a recent Beyond the Frame live segment. Non-traditional programs can be weekly or every other week. They can be 2 games or 3 games. The focus is fun! These type of programs are attractive for outside sponsors so don’t be afraid to have a featured sponsor who can provide support and marketing activation. One of my favorite formats includes bowling, food for the team and an adult beverage for each adult team member. As a result, it’s easy to approach liquor brokers or beer distributors for partnership. Many states have numerous restrictions when it comes to alcohol but be creative and explore what is possible and how to leverage it to the maximum benefit. Sponsorship could include prizes for additional games played, shirts, product tastings, having the promotional team stop in, reduced pricing on product so program members can get happy hour pricing during the program and many other creative ideas. Ask the food brokers and distributors for ideas too. Remember to offer something in return such as their logo on all marketing material, brand name included in the name of the program, their logo on welcome screen and scoring grid, MMS Ad, website, promote the featured product with special signature drinks or happy hour pricing on their brand, etc.
Recently, Beyond the Frame live hosted a segment with the Rum Bucket League founders who have had great success with this concept and found that the majority of the bowlers that are participating in the program are brand new to the center. They just want to have fun! Plus, they aren’t hung up on the shot, flash photography or other common challenges encountered with traditional league bowlers. In fact, this crowd is very easy to satisfy. Most of the participants are not familiar with typical bowling terminology or rules so it’s not uncommon for these new bowlers to think something is wrong when their name shows up on a different lane in frame 2. Gotta love it!
Approach food brokers to provide free cases of “trendy” items that can be used as the munchies throughout the program. Let brokers know that those items with the best feedback will be incorporated into the overall restaurant menu, thus sparking sales for them.
Pizza is a favorite to include as the team food and is easy to prepare and deliver in a timely manner to the lanes. Consider having signature pizzas that can be ordered by simply paying an upcharge or add a second pizza at a special price.
BES X has a number of fun features that can be incorporated into a weekly program for giveaways or prize distribution. Put on your thinking cap and consider the options available for adding additional layers of fun. BES X games and descriptions can be found in the individual marketing kit guides or the BES X Environments and Games Guide. This crowd just wants to have fun, hang out with their friends, eat, drink and be merry! With a wide selection of both chance and skill games, everyone can experience the thrill of being a winner.
Be clever. Come up with a potential sponsor, a catchy name (The Bacardi BS Experience), an enticing offer/format, marketing material that clearly states that the program isn’t for serious bowlers and start promoting.
To get the ball rolling quickly for you, we’ve created a couple of social media posts for what we are calling The BS Experience…B as in Bowl and S as in Socialize. We have no doubt you have a number of ideas running around in your head for a great program that will attract this desirable new audience. Keep it simple. As we learned on Beyond the Frame Live with the Rum Bucket League founders, social media is the best option to promote this type of program since the audience you are going after relies heavily on social media for communication and best of all, it is free!
As society is starting to return to a sense of normalcy, it is clear that people just want to have fun. Let’s put the pandemic behind us and focus on fun, food, friends and rebuilding our lives and centers.