Ain’t No Party Like a Bowling Party!
Promotions You Can Build Around the Classic Attraction (& Others, Too)
By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment
Whether you have the small-ball, string arcade game of bowling in your center or the full-size experience, it’s no secret that family entertainment has realized the value of gathering families and friends on the lanes! June marks the month where all things bowling gather together at Bowl Expo. Proprietors, vendors, bowlers, legends and dreamers will come together in Vegas to celebrate the business of bowling. I personally have so many friends in the industry that it promises to be an exciting few days.
Of course, I am always motivated by education and as a native Arkansas gal, am excited that Coach Lou Holtz is the keynote speaker! If you’re involved in the FEC business, I think that IAAPA and Bowl Expo are “must-attend” events. I hope I’ll see you there.
As the “Party Professor,” I want to ask you a question about events you’re holding in your center: What kinds of parties are you promoting on an annual basis that could create the same kind of excitement we have about attending a trade show or conference? Maybe you think that sounds like a weird question, but I don’t think it is. Every town has some type of festival or celebration that people look forward to attending. Have you put together something like that at your center?
I think you could take a look at your attractions and come up with a theme that creates some type of awesomeness. Maybe it’s your food. For example, National Pizza Month is October so that could be a cool platform to create not just a single party or event, but something for the entire month.
Since I know more about bowling than any other attraction in an amusement center, let me give you some good party ideas built specifically around that attraction.
1. The most obvious is a bowling birthday party. You can have MANY of those right? A birthday party feeds so many other group events and parties. You have one child who brings at least nine other kids and hopefully some parents. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with a parent who has the ability to book a company bowling party, an end-of-season sports event or even a fundraiser. Of course, those nine other children have birthdays during the upcoming months!
2. What about holding a “Bowling Blow Out Event.” You could connect with the fraternities and sororities in your area and invite them to bring their incoming freshman pledges to an initiation event at your center. This is an annual initiative that could grow into much more since sororities and fraternities have many parties throughout the year. The annual blow out may establish your center as a go-to gathering place! (This could work for any FEC with any of your attractions, not just bowling!)
3. Host a “National Bowling History Event.” It’s easy to gather facts about the great game of bowling (and I’m sure the same is true with laser tag, trampolines, mini-golf, arcade games and rollercoasters). Why couldn’t you host an event (or an entire week) and promote it throughout the school system? Because it’s educational in nature, you’ll have an easier time talking with the schools and gaining their enthusiasm and support.
4. At TrainerTainment, we developed a simple “Outside-In Event” we encourage centers to run quarterly. You invite about 100 (expecting to get 25) decision makers from different clubs, groups and organizations to attend a two-hour, midday focus group event. We give a short presentation about how to build team morale by taking people out to play together. Plato is thought to have said: “You learn more about a person in one hour of play than you do in a lifetime of conversation.” Whoever actually said it really hit the nail on the head. Inviting business and organization leaders from the outside into your center to explore –– through fun –– what’s possible for teams is great for business!
I hope you’ll ask the members of your own team: “What could we do to establish our center as that place people rely on when it’s time to come together?” You have a ton of opportunity, especially in the summertime when families and high schools have reunions, and when kids are out of school and need a reason to stay out of trouble. Playing at your place could be that all-in-one solution. In addition to being “that place,” I also think you should begin to think big about what annual, quarterly or monthly events you’ll commit to in order to create that excitement for others.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in your town said: “Ain’t No Party Like a (insert your center’s name) Party!” Go for it!
Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at www.trainertainment.com.