In the US, roughly 69 million people bowl at least once a year, making bowling the top participation sport in the United States. An over $10 billion industry, bowling has been and remains a popular activity for people of all ages.
The greatest shift in the bowling community has been the decline of league play and the growing population of casual, entertainment bowlers. This shift has been well documented and the bowling alleys that are able to capitalize by offering an exciting bowling experience are the ones that are succeeding with this new type of bowler.
Whether you’re starting a bowling alley or operating an existing bowling business, your business model must utilize a more diversified offering that goes well beyond bowling and focuses on entertainment as a whole. For this reason, the products and equipment any new bowling alley invests in must have entertainment as the central focus. If you’re starting a bowling alley or entertainment business that features bowling, here is what you will need to look for.
While there are various product and equipment options to choose from, any new bowling business will need to have a trusted advisor to help them along the way. From offering equipment insight and knowledge, to helping you get a grasp on potential costs and financials, find a bowling partner that can guide you in the entire process.
Arguably one of the most important choices any new bowling business will make, the pinsetter is the foundation to your bowling experience. Pinsetters need to be fast, efficient and reliable in order to deliver the most enjoyable bowling experience for your bowler. Especially for the casual bowler, pinsetters that don’t work as intended will damage the reputation of your alley. String pinsetters are becoming more and more popular because they have limited maintenance costs, they don’t require a technician to maintain, they don’t break as much and they offer faster pin-reset speeds. Again, like anything else, not all string pinsetters are the same and you’ll need to go with the most proven in the industry.
While the standard 10-frame game is still an extremely popular gameplay option, many scoring system developers offer a broad range of gameplay types. Offering your bowlers options when it comes to how they bowl makes each game more dynamic, interesting and unique. Your scoring system should be robust enough to provide these options while also delivering a simple to use scoring system interface.
In the same way that pinsetter speed is important, so is the importance of the ball return speed. In our fast-paced world, everyone expects speed from tools and technology. When reviewing ball returns, make sure you’re looking for not only speed, but safety and reliability so you can deliver the best bowling experience possible.
From an entertainment perspective, lanes offer some really exciting ways for bowling alleys to differentiate and create a unique environment. With glow in the dark lanes, design overlays and logo printing, there are a variety of customization opportunities for your alley. When looking for lanes, make sure your supplier offers you these options so you can create that one-of-a-kind experience.
While the traditional bowler just wanted to bowl in a local alley with reliable lanes, today’s entertainment bowler is seeking a memorable experience that can be shared with friends and family. Your alley design and aesthetics are critical for creating an ambience that is unique to your business. The atmosphere you create is largely a function of the design choices you make. From seating and tables, to murals and lighting, your design choices are critical when building your bowling experience.
Building a bowling alley that excites and engages your bowlers doesn’t happen overnight. In addition to finding the best, entertainment-focused equipment, your bowling partner is critical. Ideally, you will be able to work with a provider that can not only advise, but also manufactures, maintains, installs and coaches you along the way. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us today.