As January winds its way towards its final 10 days, yesterday, I watched with great excitement, the inauguration of a new United States President; our 46th President in this great country’s history.
With this inauguration comes not only immense challenges, but also continuing challenges for our industry…which got me to thinking about summer league bowling.
I usually meet with my clients right about now into mid-February to plan for Summer, so I’m just about on time for this project. I hope you’re starting to think about it too!
Within the last few days, I received an email from USBC indicating that about 700,000 league bowlers were sanctioned in September of 2020; down about 60% from September 2019.
Now considering that many of us recruit our summer bowlers from our winter bowlers, do you think that means that our summer bowlers will also be down that amount?
You could say yes, the equation follows, BUT what if you added more bowlers between September and today, then you would have a bigger base to draw upon, Yes? Or would they just be short season bowlers; really short season types?
On the other hand, you could say, “people have been quarantined for too long and they are not going to want to stay inside any more than they have to.”
Then again, people are starved for socialization and want to be with their friends, families and bowling mates.
Or you could say, they will get back to bowling on a somewhat frequent basis; maybe even start practicing for September 2021?
As I see it your summer business strategy boils down to the following options or any combination thereof…which gives you a bunch of choices.
The trick is to choose wisely and what you know or can verify about your market.
You could also start calling last year’s summer bowlers and tell them you are planning for summer and are doing a little market research! Ask them if they think they would bowl this summer? What would it depend on? Would they be more inclined to bowl a full summer season or an 8-to-10-week season?
- Keep flooring leagues starting now; from 8 to 16 weeks in duration, -depending on what your offer and price point are and who is the optimal target – and continue that process through September when you can round up your fall bowlers.
- Do what you did last year. Put together your summer schedule, add a few new leagues and work that hard.
- Pounce on open play with new programs that create fun and value as opposed to just another “me too” price special. And forget about the effort to floor leagues. Use that energy to hone your social media skills to build open play.
- You missed out on a lot of holiday parties and if the vaccine has taken hold in your market and people are getting vaccinated at an accelerated pace then you can develop a whole new take on “summer bowling parties”. The theme of indoor picnics has been popular before, maybe it will be popular again.
- Utilize our quintessential American holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, D-day and Labor Day to create special events honoring our Veterans. I have lots of ideas for raising money for BVL as does Mary Harrar, the Executive Director of BVL, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Parents will definitely be more inclined to put their children into day care programs and summer day camps as well. All these months at home!!! They need a break and that gives you an opportunity for day time field trips, summer rain out programs or even bi weekly bowling sessions.
- And last but not least sign your center up for Kids Bowl Free. Parents with stay-at-home kids will be looking for another daily option to do with them and Kids Bowl Free program has been a savior for many a proprietor’s summer revenue streams, especially when you make an effort to sell the Kids Bowl Free family pass.
A bunch of strategic options, but like all strategies, it’s the effective implementation of the tactics that make the strategy come to life.
Start now, please. Summer will be here sooner than you think.