Recent reports indicate that movie attendance over the summer was down about 1%. More startlingly is the fact that movie attendance this year was just 570 million visits; the lowest number since 2007 when attendance was 573 million visits.
Simply put, the economic stress on our country has deprived the middle class of discretionary income used for movies, gifts, restaurants, and guess what? Bowling?
Our core audience of 67 million people who went bowling has not shrunk. Its been about the same for about 15 years. What has changed is the frequency of visits to our center.
Simply put, our customers either no longer see the value of bowling more frequently OR can no longer afford to more frequently bowl OR have traded off their decision to bowl with another activity (probably paying for food or gasoline).
To counter this, we need to find new customers. Customers with more discretionary income; customers who can afford bowling at the prices that will help us make a profit and enable us to reinvest in our business. The alternative is to continue to discount our products and make less and less money.
Who are these customers? Households earning over $60k ( U.S. median household income is $49,000) with kids under the age of 12, households who have taken vacations, bought non essential items, households who own or lease newer cars and households that do not have extreme debt or owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth.
It may sound, in this economy, like looking for a few needles in a haystack., but it will be worth it in the long run
Start with developing a product and offer that looks and feels more upscale. Full color fliers, Full color ads in local publications. Focus on corporate parties and fund raisers.
Here are Six action steps you can do right now:
- Develop a data base of people, (or buy lists) of higher net worth individuals.
- Link to websites that attract more upscale customers.
- Develop new products that will appeal more to Mid level and Higher corporate level people.
- Appeal to people at private clubs,
- Appeal to charitable givers and people who raise money for theater, arts, museums.
- Appeal to their kids for cosmic bowling, birthday parties and school fund raisers. These people HAVE discretionary income. And that is precisely who your NEW bowling customer should (and needs) to be!!