For the last 35 years, league bowling has been eroding. Probably at a 3% to 5%rate annually. From 10 million sanctioned league bowlers to about 2 million today. From a 5% penetration rate (against adults 18+) to less than 1% today
In other words, less than 1 in 100 adults in this country bowl in a league.
This downward cycle has been met with various industry initiatives; none of which reversed the cycle. It was hoped that the quick fix magic pill of “promotion” would make our cash registers ring like it once did a long, long time ago
But quick fixes or neither quick nor do they ultimately fix the problem.
Instead, individually and collectively we need to create a better plan. A plan that:
1. Truly recognizes this long cycle.
2. Strongly considers “what will it cost me to replace it with a different one?”
3. Asks “Is there anyone who can help me? Is there any organization that can help?”
4. Probes, “What do I need to learn to get to an “up cycle?”
5. And finally hits a hard question, “How do I change my habits and instincts?” (which clearly haven’t been doing so well in confronting this problem.)
One of the first things you can do is to get out of the center and go speak to some people.
Younger people. People 15 to 25 years old. People 26 to 35 years old. Married people. Single people. Find out what’s important to them and you’ll find out what they want and expect from your bowling center.
What you think you know about why people bowl may be diametrically opposed to the reality you find or it might align quite nicely.
Ask them about bowling; how often they go bowling? Why they go bowling and why they don’t go bowling? Find out if they ever bowled in a league and would they do it again if it was a shorter season, less expensive, 2 games instead of 3, etc?
Listen to what Winnie the Pooh has to say about your business: “You cannot stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” –
Makes sense to me.