What I Learned About Playing Pool to Market My Bowling Center

Is your open play up since the beginning of the year? How about March and April compared to 2019?

Proprietors I have spoken with have indicated that open play, compared to the same months in 2019, is up as much as 30% to 45% even with only having 50% of the lanes available.

Their happiness and excitement bubble up in our conversations and I am ecstatic for their business increase, especially on weekends where they even have waiting lists!

And then I ask the Fred question. 

“So, what’s the plan; the next step with these open play bowlers; some new, some you have seen before and even some league bowlers?

The phone goes silent for about 10 seconds or more and then I get answers like:

“Well, we try to get their names when we can.”

“Uh, were too busy for that.”

“Sometimes, when we can, we go down to the lanes and hand them a league flyer, but that’s only when I’m here.”

So, I ask all of you the same question: what will you do or what are you planning for these people who are now visiting your center?

When I was younger, I played a lot of pool. And the one thing I expensively learned was the most important strategy in playing pool: “setting up the next shot.”

Here’s how to do it in bowling:

First, I’m going to assume that your center is clean, sanitized and ready to roll and that you still have that kind of signage up.

Second, whatever “mask” rules exist in your community, you are enforcing them, even though you will get push back from some. Its important to show those that aren’t pushing back that you are in compliance.

Third, and this is probably the hardest, your employees, especially new employees are trained in your brand of customer service. And while I know how difficult it is to find new employees, keep grinding on that. 

When you go to a Chick Filet, a diner, a Red Robin an Olive Garden or a CVS drugstore or a Home Depot or any other establishment and you get good service from an employee, offer that person a chance to work for you and make more money and have more fun.

Train your employees to do that too. Get them business cards that they can hand out to these prospects. Train them on the type of questions to ask and in what order? Maybe even put a free game offer on the back of the card so when they come in you can try and interview them

But I digress

Have a Plan for Customers; It’s The Setup for Your Next Shot

1st  Do you want them to come back again and bowl in a casual format and if so, do you have a way to offer them new programs or the same program? Will you offer them a special discount or incentive to come back?

2nd  Do you have information to share with them about league programs and how often and in what manner and social media options will you? 

3rd Who will do this work because it will require you to get peoples name and emails and ask them these questions?

1.     Are you interested in receiving information about?


a.    short season 8-week bowling programs yes____ no___


b.    fundraisers                                               yes____ no___


c.     company or group events                       yes____ no___


d.    birthday parties                                       yes____ no ___


e.    casual open play special                         yes____ no ____


f.     other ___________ please specify

Get better at planning. Get better at setting up your next shot

if you can get this kind of info on a 3 x 5 card or send them an email to fill it out you will have segmented your suspects into prospects who want something that you have.

And that’s what marketing is about. 

Finding out what people want and then giving it to them!

About Fred Kaplowitz
Marketing is in my DNA. I love to solve problems and meet challenges head on and I have successfully produced results for hundreds of clients. I love what I do and love helping to make my clients more successful and happier. I am a husband and father, consultant, a coach, a teacher, a motivator, a copy- writer, and a speaker. I look forward to working with anyone searching for a proven methodology out of mediocrity. May I assist you in taking your business to the next level. Please call me now @ 516 359 4874 to review your business goals and strategies.

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