Under unusually stormy skies and flash flood warnings, hundreds of bowling aficionados met this week in Las Vegas for the International Bowling Expo. The event ran throughout from June 26-30 and played host to everything from pro bowlers to Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America meetings, from Super Bowl champ Peyton Manning to a trade show floor full of incredible innovations.
Many things were different at this year’s Expo, but Kelly Parker, Director of Meetings and Events at the BPAA, highlighted a few, including a new Sponsor Pavillion which brought industry partners and attendees into the same room for one-on-one education and networking. The BPAA also reached out to potential new attendees, including smaller bowling centers that may not have come before.
“We did a lot of marketing toward small centers, realizing a lot of their challenges,” Parker said. “Many of them usually can’t make it — they just can’t close down for a week easily — so we offered a discount and had a lot of success bringing them in.”
According to Parker, attendance from smaller businesses doubled this year. Another fairly new focus, social media, took center stage throughout the event as well. On Tuesday, during an industry breakfast and networking hour, BPAA members were able to sit with social media experts and have fruitful roundtable discussions about best practices and strategies. An entire track of educational seminars (one of which will be highlighted in RePlay’s August issue) on Tuesday was dedicated to marketing through that medium as well.
Bowling, despite being the focus of the event, was far from the only attraction present though. The show room floor was packed with laser taggers, amusement machines, food pavilions, beverages and more.
“We wanted to give each event and each exhibitor a very different feel, and really incorporate the culture of amusement into the Expo,” Parker continued. “The amusement machines especially seem to be a trend that is increasing again, so that was a focus.”
All of the big names from the amusement side of the business were present at the expo, either with booths of their own or through AAMA’s conglomerate pavilion that brought together machines from many manufacturers.
For more information, look to RePlay’s August issue where the coverage will continue with a full photo gallery, notes from Peyton Manning’s keynote speech and more!