We talk about it a lot, but the face of today’s bowler is changing. While some bowling businesses still have a strong competitive bowling audience, the biggest trend impacting the bowling industry is the rise of the entertainment/casual bowler. That means bowling businesses should consider accommodating this type of customer.
There are many ways to do this. Some bowling entrepreneurs see their businesses as Family Entertainment Centers (FECs) versus the traditional bowling alley. For these types of businesses, the focus is on delivering a diverse set of entertainment options that span beyond bowling.
We’ve worked with long-standing bowling businesses that are actually eliminating a few lanes in order to offer more entertainment options (table games, arcades, etc.) to entice the FEC crowd and diversify revenue streams.
Whatever the case, if you’re an existing bowling alley owner or an entrepreneur looking to get into the FEC space, you’ll need to develop offerings that attract the FEC crowd. Here are some ways to upgrade the entertainment value of your bowling lanes.
Glow in The Dark Bowling Lanes
A number of our bowling alley clients are taking advantage glow in the dark bowling lanes to offer an exciting bowling experience. With silk screen technology, bowling lanes can now offer a unique glow in the dark pattern that can be revealed under black lights. Also, these patterns don’t interfere with standard bowling experiences but give you options and are great for both league play and the weekend enthusiast.
Bumper bowling is a great way to make bowling fun for young bowlers that are new to the sport. When every throw is sure to knock down pins, bumpers make bowling a great entertainment option for the entire family. This also makes your lanes more dynamic, allowing you to easily put bumpers up or take them down depending on the needs of the customer. Best of all, Funk bumpers can be electronically controlled from the front desk.
Bowling Alley Lighting
Lighting and light shows can make for an unforgettable bowling experience. Bowling businesses that invest in special light effects and light shows will help bring a fun and exciting energy to the bowling experience. Paired with glow in the dark lanes, your lighting options add that extra level of excitement for family and entertainment bowlers.
Bowling Center Murals & Artwork
The art and design of your bowling alley can help to differentiate your business from the competition. In many cases, your artwork on the walls surrounding your lane can help to create the overall theme of your bowling experience. These designs can be completely customized to fit whatever vision you have for your bowling alley and they represent another way to “wow” your bowlers.
Bowling Games & Scoring Systems
Instead of just offering the standard 10-frame bowling game, bowling business owners have access to all kinds of game experiences. Your entertainment bowlers will appreciate the option to compete in different ways, making each visit to your alley different than the last. Investing in scoring equipment that offers these games is a great way to elevate your entertainment value.
There are many ways to upgrade the entertainment value of your bowling center. It all starts with having a vision that is unique to your bowling business and finding the right partner to bring that bowling experience to life.
Generally, family entertainment center owners have limited space, but lots of different entertainment options to choose from in order to fill the space. In the end it comes down to, how much return on invest does each entertainment option give per used square feet.
From a financial perspective, one of the biggest considerations is the pinsetter. Free-fall pinsetters can take up a lot of space and are a big initial investment paired with lots of ongoing maintenance costs. But string pinsetters change this calculation a lot since both the investment up front and the cost of operation is much lower, while offering the same revenue in FECs as the typical pinsetter. Even stronger numbers could be achieved with mini bowling solutions in FECs, which take up even less space.
To learn more or to start a discussion with one of our bowling experts, contact us today.