Category Archives: Keeping the Staff Pumped

New Normal Means New Opportunities

The never-ending Covid-19 pandemic presents what is undoubtedly the greatest challenges centers have ever faced.  Mandatory closures, new cleaning protocols, staffing issues, supply shortages and other challenges have resulted in many sleepless nights and a new normal that seems to be here to stay.  However, with this new normal, comes new opportunities to bring in new business and additional revenue.

Embrace the new normal and identify ways in which the center can become a part of the customer’s new way of life.   The new normal includes things like transformed workplaces, changed social behavior and modified travel habits.  Let’s take a look at a few things that the center can do to tap into this new normal.

Transformed workplaces

Remote work, is here to stay, accelerating the need for companies to provide activities that reinforce cohesion and teamwork.  Plan to market the center to companies, most of which have designated funds available to build strong teams.  Put together attractive programs designed to deliver a memorable experience, utilizing games such as Rocky Road Race or HyperSquad, great food, and exceptional service.  For these customers it is less about the money and more about the experience delivered so do not be afraid to charge for it!

Continued workforce shortages are resulting in current staff being overworked and struggling with motivation.  Without a dedicated plan to overcome this, additional staff wind up quitting or the level of service they provide diminishes.  There is no better way to motivate and show appreciation than to give employees something that allows them to have fun.  This holds true for the center staff, but also other businesses in the area.  Promoting center gift cards as appreciation gifts should be on the 2022 marketing plan several times.  Remember, gift card promotions can include bonus cash added to the card or earning promotional gift cards based on the amount of purchase.  Another option for gift cards is to barter a portion in return for gift cards for the center staff.  A win for both parties!

Changed social behavior

Social isolation, remote work and economic insecurities have taken a toll on individual’s mental well-being.  Now, more than ever, society is ready to live for the moment.  The value of spending time with family and friends has never been greater.  Provide an alternative to the mundane.  Analyze the packages the center offers and make sure there are packages that tap into this need to share quality time with loved ones and friends.  The new norm has sparked an increased need in convenience and automation.  Keep it simple!  

People are relying on social media more.  Utilize social media platforms to stay connected with customers.   Posting on social media is inexpensive, efficient and a great way to keep customers engaged and wanting to patronize the center.   Bottom line…social media is a part of most everyone’s life these days so leverage it to your advantage.

Modified travel habits

While travel restrictions are more stringent than in the past, many are resorting to shorter trips that do not include air travel or hotel stays.  Many families are purchasing or renting recreational vehicles and striking out on family vacations that are more within their comfort zones. 

Transform your center into a Staycation destination and put it on the map!   Staycation 2022 can be fun for staff and lead to more revenue for the center.  Create a selection of fun branded souvenirs for purchase or for use as prizes.  Consider Staycation 2022 staff uniforms.  How about a punch card or Bingo Card that customers strive to complete by enjoying the various amusements and bowling games offered? 

What about a “tour guide” that offers center tours sharing interesting facts about the center and the amusements? Leverage vendors for support. Invite liquor and beer brokers and distributors to contribute content and prizes or invite them to participate in the actual tour or class. Gather the information necessary to deliver fun and educational tours. These tours and classes can be simple but something that the customer finds unique and interesting. Think outside the box. Try something new and different! Today’s customers are more forgiving and understanding than they have been in the past, so do not be afraid to be creative. Don’t forget the swag! Everybody loves walking away with something!

Gather input from the bar staff

  • Wine 101 – can be a partnership with wine vendor and food service provider.  How to choose, cheese pairing, the process of production, etc.   Price can include tasting or other offer of choice.
  • Tequila 101 – The many choices of tequila, the history, etc.    Offer an exclusive drink and get with food service provider for food options.
  • Vodka 101 – Flavored vodka’s are the rage.  Choose a brand or ask the distributor to talk about the differences and provide swag for participants. 
  • Beer 101 – Invite local Craft Brewers to conduct seminars or contact brand managers at local distributors.

Collaborate with the mechanic

  • How a pin is made – price includes a customized keepsake pin.
  • What makes a “bowling shot”? – Most customers do not have any idea what goes into preparing a lane for the best scores.   
  • The journey of a ball – what happens after the ball leaves the hand.

Create unique food and beverage options with a clever twist. Get the staff involved and ask for their input.

Non-peak travel days often result in slighter lower fares. Consider having modified pricing on slower business days. Blend in a cause and show your support while driving traffic to the center. Transform slow days into appreciation days for first responders or service industry workers while showing the community you care and increasing revenue all at the same time.

Create themed photo ops to spark the perfect Instagram post. Be sure to brand each op to share in the social media traffic and earn free advertising for the center. Promote a hashtag campaign, #centernameStaycation22 and include on all promotional material, staff uniforms, souvenirs and advertising.

Since customers can star in the show with Youtoons, have a selfie booth with wardrobe additions and let them have a ball dressing up and posing. We’ve even provided a YouToons frame that can be customized and added to the props. Click here for a YouToons Photo Frame and other photo props that can be customized and used to spark a little user generated content. Other props are readily available on the internet at places like Oriental Trading, Big Dot, Rebecca’s and Amazon.

Do not let the new normal weigh you down.  Embrace the change and continue to be willing to pivot and think outside the box.  Prepare to take the center well beyond your wildest expectations. 

Ten Ways to Motivate Beyond Money

Staffing continues to be a challenge for most centers.  It’s frustrating enough that there are slim picking when it comes to candidates to hire, and then you have to overcome the hurdle of them actually showing up for the interview.  If you’ve been fortunate enough to select, interview and hire for openings at the center, the challenges aren’t over.  Will they actually report for work?  If so, will they be engaged or motivated to work and provide the level of service the customers expect and deserve or are they simply there to collect a paycheck?  This might be one of the biggest issues centers are currently facing! Employee engagement reflects the involvement and enthusiasm of employees.  According to the State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report, there is only 20% employee engagement as a result of the pandemic. 

Engaged employees act differently, going above and beyond to exceed customer’s expectations, which gives the center a competitive advantage.  They are motivated!

Studies have found that motivated employees take less time off, stay with their employers longer, and help increase the company’s profitability. 

Unmotivated employees have contributed to economic losses of over $450 billion in the US alone.  How do you foster employee engagement and morale?  Money may have played a role in getting someone to accept a position but it’s not the only motivator in terms of performance.  Employees can become engaged when their basic needs are met and when they have an opportunity to contribute, feel like they matter and are given chances to learn and grow.

Ten Things to Promote Employee Engagement and Motivation

  1. Adopt flexibility with work schedules.  This helps employees achieve a healthy work-life balance.  There are a number of scheduling apps on the market that make it easy to give employees the flexibility of switching shifts without adding to the manager’s workload. 
  2. Incorporate technology to make the job easier and allow the employee to be more efficient and less stressed.
  3. Be mindful of personal hardships and challenges.
  4. Equip employees with the proper tools to do the job.
  5. Create an environment that is conducive to contributing.   From ideas and recommendations to customer insights and challenges, encourage employees to share by intently listening, with the mindset and willingness to see things from their perspective and give their ideas and recommendations a try.
  6. Set clear goals and provide real-time feedback.  The younger workforce thrives on achieving goals and expects timely feedback.
  7. Provide recognition and respect.  This can be as simple as a thank you from a manager but, it must be authentic and sincere. 
  8. Create a sense of ownership for the staff.  They will consider the success of the center as their own success.
  9. Support a cause that’s important to them.
  10. Develop a sense of true inclusion. According to Salesforce, 73% of employees are empowered to perform their best when they feel their voices are heard.  Create a work environment where employees feel they can be themselves, where they are supported, respected, and valued  for what they bring to the table and who they are as a unique individual. 

Today’s employees need a sense of purpose.  They need to feel recognized and acknowledged and need to feel like they have a path.  They want to feel like their work connects with their personal goals and values and those of the center.  When you’ve obtained buy in from employees and they are motivated and engaged the results are obvious.  A happier employee delivers a better customer experience which results in more revenue and a more successful center. 

Something to think about!

Keeping employees motivated and engaged is well worth the time and effort!  However, this doesn’t have to all fall on your shoulders.  Consider giving your league bowlers the ability to recognize employees that go the extra mile or provide outstanding customer service.  American Airlines AAdvantage Club Elite Members receive AAplause Certificates that can be filled out and given to a team member or mailed into Corporate.  The certificates are associated with prizes and corporate recognition. 

Issue each league bowler 5 certificates (or quantity of choice) at the beginning of the season and share with them that this rewards program is designed to keep staff members motivated and engaged so they, your valued customers,  continue to get the very best experience possible.   Share that their feedback is valuable and the center would like for them to help recognize employees that are going the extra mile or are providing outstanding service.  This instant gratification gives the employee a sense of pride and they will naturally want to strive for that feeling again.  Providing league bowlers with these certificates shows them their input is valued.  Each certificate will be entered into a monthly drawing for recognition awards of the center’s choice or certificates can be redeemed for individual awards.  Certificates can also be provided to managers or the entire staff to foster camaraderie.

Here are a few items you might consider for recognition awards:

  • Bartered items such as movie tickets, meals, etc. 
  • For larger monthly drawing consider a limo ride to a nice restaurant for dinner for 2 or something else that employees will likely not treat themselves to.  Of course, these items can often be bartered, as well.
  • Front row parking spot.
  • Time off with pay.
  • Donation to charity of choice.
  • Bowling party with friends or family.

Bravo Certificate Templates  

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