June 2021 | VOL 29.6
Bowling at The World Games in 2017
By David Garber and Patty Heath
The World Games On A String (Pin) Is competition on string pins at The 2022 World Games a good step for bowling?
By Paul Lane
Cover Story What Are They Saying About You? The importance of online reviews to your business By Robert Sax
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Remember When Band-Aid
By Patty Heath
Business Make A New Plan, Stan!
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Planning today makes your life better tomorrow By Fred Kaplowitz
PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager email@example.com
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Garber firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFICE MANAGER Patty Heath email@example.com
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Stephanie Davis
CONTRIBUTORS Natalie Davis Jackie Fisher Frager David Garber Patty Heath Fred Kaplowitz Paul Lane Robert Sax
MARKETING MANAGER AND SALES Natalie Davis Natalie@bowlingindustry.com
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jackie Fisher firstname.lastname@example.org
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FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)
THE WORLD'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BUSINESS OF BOWLING
BUSINESS AT LARGE 8 LOYALTY PROGRAM SOFTWARE New Center Consulting, Inc., the leader in bowling software, is now offering bowling game redemption tickets for customers’ bowling games that work with all TouchDesk Management systems and TouchScore Scoring. This software allows proprietors to create a reward or loyalty program for bowling customers in their center. The company is now offering online reservations with a credit card phone app that allows a more contactless interaction with staff and allows customers to book online, order food from their phone, and process all payments from their smartphone or tablet. It is even possible to use this system as a direct replacement for credit card processing systems.
8 LAI’S NEW HIT PUSHER GAME PEARL FISHERY
8 FILL YOUR STAFFING NEEDS...
LAI Games will soon offer a new two-player version of their hit pusher game, Pearl Fishery. The latest offering has a footprint of 2/3 the size of the original three-player version, making it an excellent choice for operations with limited space. The company continues to sell the original version as well, which has been a top earner since its debut last year. Pearl Fishery takes the classic appeal of a coin pusher and mixes in the thrill of a multi-layered big-ticket game. Players drop small pearls down the pin board into a matrix of multipliers to win tickets and release Big Pearls onto the playing field, giving them access to a super bonus jackpot
It’s no secret employees are hard to find and keep. If Covid restrictions aren’t bad enough, finding staff is the next big challenge many operators are currently struggling with. One approach that is getting traction is to find staff from the folks who love you the most – your current customers. The folks at BBBI are offering a free service to its Kids Bowl Free™ centers
game for an even bigger ticket payout. Winning tickets are consistently paid out to reward players and keep the excitement levels high with plenty of opportunity to win across multiple mini-games, making Pearl Fishery a uniquely entertaining amusement machine that’s fun for all ages.
WHERE TO LOOK AND HOW TO ASK
addressing this very problem. BBBI sends out a short survey to adults in the center’s Kids Bowl Free™ database on behalf of a center. One of the questions asks, “If your center has a full or parttime staff position available, would you be interested in applying for the position?” So far, the service has been very successful, generating leads for every center that has taken advantage of it. “We have been able to deliver leads complete with email addresses and phone numbers to centers all around the country. Over the years, most center managers have agreed that some of their best employees have come from their customer base, so we aren’t surprised that this approach has been fruitful in finding new staff,” says Andy Vasko of Kids Bowl Free™. What if your center is not in the Kids Bowl Free™ Program? For centers not in the KBF program but who do have an upto-date database, Vasko suggests calling the BBBI office for some complimentary direction on how a center can properly survey their list. BBBI/KBF can be contacted toll-free at 1.800.720.0410.
EXPANSIONS, OPENINGS & NEW BEGINNINGS
PALACE LANES TO REOPEN AS PALACE SOCIAL IN HOUSTON The long-time staple of Houston bowling centers, Palace Lanes, which was owned by Hall of Famer Bill Lillard Sr. is almost done with its complete overhaul into Palace Social. Bill Forney, CEO of the new FEC,
You wouldn’t ignore a customer complaint at your front desk, so make sure you don’t overlook those reviews on social media.
GUY FIERI PUTS HIS STAMP ON PIGEON FORGE WITH FLAVORTOWN Here it comes, Pigeon Forge! It’s not a diner, or a drive-in, and definitely not a dive. The complete package would be driving down the street in a sleek Camaro stopping at Guy Fieri’s Downtown Flavortown in Pigeon Forge, TN, for a night of yummy food such as Fieri’s award-winning Bacon Mac and Cheeseburger and Hot Honey Chicken and Fries Waffle. Of course, there would be craft cocktails and beer on tap, along with an awesome arcade and 14 lanes of Duckpin Social bowling by Brunswick. It’s on its way.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS said, “We’re excited to welcome guests of all ages to Palace Social, drawing on the memories of the past with a new vision of what a neighborhood entertainment concept can be.” The remodel takes the traditional bowling center into the new age of FECs: eight lanes of bowling, elevated Southern style comfort food, an extensive bar, numerous VR games, and an e-sports lounge. Palace Social is scheduled to open in June.
It’s nice to be in St. Croix, but even better now that Tropical Ten Pins has reopened. After a year, closed due to the pandemic, the 12-lane center in Castle Coakley is renovated and open to the public. Edmund Ferrol Jr., one of the partners, detailed the upgrades which focus primarily on family entertainment. The ball returns were upgraded, along with the gutters, and the addition of bumpers which can be utilized on all the lanes. Ferrod wants the center to be a gathering place for families.
OREGON MANSION A` LA BEVERLY HILLS
Beverly Hills doesn’t bat an eye when it comes to mansions. Oregon’s Willamette Valley doesn’t either. Tyrone Cruze, the owner of high-end Custom Chrome, an aftermarket Harley Davidson motorcycle parts and accessories company, has a jaw-dropping, 23,000 square-foot abode called Paradise Hill. Wanting to sell, he put it on the market for $10 million. No mansion anywhere is worth its salt unless it includes bowling lanes. This one has two BCSC professional-level lanes, a mirrored ballroom, and an Olympic-size swimming pool with a retractable glass roof. For short jaunts, there are two helicopter pads and also support systems, environmentally advanced with ultraviolet air sanitation and geothermal heating and cooling. Beverly Hills, eat your heart out! At this price range, IBI suggests a looky-loo approach.
“I’ll Have What She’s Having!” Loyalty to Your Center As businesses begin to reopen post-COVID, proprietors need to think about re-establishing loyalty programs. In the recent past, loyalty programs saw huge growth. Research shows that consumers use these programs to stretch their budgets: 75% of businesses enrolled in loyalty programs reported a positive impact on participation due to the COVID economy. Millennials feel that loyalty rewards are more important during a recession or pandemic, and they actively look to enroll in new programs. A whopping 35% of all new business was directly correlated with a loyalty program. Loyalty impact is a simple equation:
To build loyalty impact, connecting your center to the customer relationship and showing value rewards you with valuable data for your center, for example, emails, phone numbers, etc. Triggering that extra loyalty spend starts with incentives and discounts which can be segmented in a myriad of ways: by age, gender, zip code, etc. It’s time to re-engage your customers! Spreading the word about your loyalty program should be present at every touchpoint throughout your center: Customer service staff should know the programs inside and out and engage with customers about the program; promotion and customer engagement become part of the company culture; and, notably, other customers should observe the loyalty program in action. This is the surest way to gain new customers. If they like what they see, they will want to get the same perks as their friends. Designing a strong loyalty program consists of three layers: 1.The core program represents the heart of your loyalty offerings. Its features will attract guests to join, and, ultimately, to visit. 2. Additional, layered offerings will give your program depth. Adding your own center’s flair strengthens guests’ connection. 3. Promotions enable you to further influence guests’ buying behavior. Loyalty programs are great for everyone: the customer, the proprietor, and the community. Keeping your program simple, establishing small and frequent rewards, and staying engaged with customers will keep everyone happy, and the customers will keep coming. Give it a try; everyone will like it! 10
PEOPLE WATCHING Trifecta Management Group, the premier entertainment/ restaurant concept development and management firm, has announced the promotion of Kim Wheeler to Senior Director, Team Development. Wheeler is a shining star in organizational planning, management/staff development, and training for the company with nearly 16 years of entertainment and restaurant operations experience. “Kim’s creativity, hard work, and communication style have elevated the development of the team members she Kim Wheeler trains across the country. Kim is a highly effective communicator and an experienced resource for our clients,” said Pat Hart, Partner/Chief Operating Officer.“ We are excited to continue expanding our team development services across our entire client base under her leadership.” Betson Enterprises is proud to announce the promotion of Steve Lamoreaux, Regional Sales Director, managing the Mountain States and Pacific Northwest regions. Lamoreaux, who previously served as Regional Sales Manager, follows Mike McWilliams, who recently announced his retirement. “Steve has continued to progress with the company, and I am confident he’ll step into this new role and keep growing our business in the region,” said Jonathan Betti, Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Steve Lamoreaux Development for Betson Enterprises. TrainerTainment announces the promotion of Candi Kelley to COO. In this new role, Candi will work directly with Beth Standlee, CEO, to drive and expand TrainerTainment’s current and future operations. Candi initially joined the TrainerTainment team in April 2019, serving in the role of Director of Training. “I’ve had the great fortune to work with Candi over the years. When she decided to expand her career, I was thrilled she reached out to TrainerTainment. Candi is a thoughtful, kind leader. She is poised to lead our company in the future as we serve others. Candi’s experience in the hospitality sector gives her a unique perspective for TrainerTainment and the new center projects we work on, as well as the training and coaching we provide to numerous facilities across North America. Simply stated, Candi Candi Kelley Kelley, in the role of Chief Operations Officer, gives TrainerTainment and the clients we serve an expanded opportunity to excel! I couldn’t be happier.”
WATCH GINGER ASSASSIN Reno, NV, and the National Bowling Stadium hosted the 2021 PBA U.S. Open Championships, which Storm staffer Chris Via won. Still, the show’s biggest highlight came when Anthony Neuer, aka the Ginger Assassin, converted the 7-10 split on national TV for only the 4th time in PBA history. “It was pretty cool, honestly,” Neuer said of his feat, per Sports Illustrated.
“ROCK THE BLOCK” UPDATE “Rock The Block” pits four two-person teams of well-known celebrity home remodelers in a competition to take a brand-new, two-story home, including the basement, with $225,000 and trick it out, staying within budget. Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt’s celebrity team decided to install US Bowling’s Rollerball Classic Mini Bowling in the basement of the house they were remodeling. The judges praised Brian and Mika as they toured their home, noting the family-friendly functionality and budget strategy to improve every part of the property. Their bonus features, including a covered porch with a ‘smart’ pergola, an indoor two-lane bowling alley, a stunning home fitness center, and a mother-in-law suite in the basement, ultimately scored the most significant dollar signs with the appraisers.
BOWLERO HAS A “BETTOR VIEW!” Bowling franchise, Bowlero, has partnered with sports betting content company BettorView, as reported by Sporttechie.com. Through BettorView, Bowlero locations will be able to offer betting content, display sporting event stats, analysis, promotions, and odds at Bowlero bowling centers. It started with this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. BettorView content will only be shown at Bowlero centers in states with legal online betting. More than 20% of Bowlero’s roughly 300 locations are based in these states, and the company expects that percentage to grow above 50% in 2022. BettorView and Bowlero also plan to promote sportsbooks. The center franchise caters to more than 28 million visitors annually.
IN REMEMBRANCE Don Lutz, a 30-year veteran in the bowling business, passed away April 16th. Don spent most of his career with Perry-Austen International Inc., located in Des Moines, IA, as their national sales manager. Don played a significant part in the introduction of Guardian Lane Surface, with over 25,000 lanes installed worldwide, which then evolved into Glow In the Dark Guardian, which went on to become Cosmic Bowling, introduced by Brunswick Bowling & Billiards.
By Robert Sax
What Are They
Saying About You?
The importance of online reviews to your business
s BECs and FECs have reopened across the country, pent-up demand from customers shut out by the pandemic has driven a big surge in business. That’s a welcome relief to operators, but once that demand is satisfied, a business may level off as consumers look to vary their entertainment mix with other choices. Before the priority shifts from coping with the reopening rush to bringing customers back for more, operators should take a close look at online consumer reviews and what they mean for their business. As several experts explained to IBI, customer reviews are crucial to your business and can undermine your marketing efforts. The posting of opinions and reviews online has been around almost as long as the Internet, but the practice expanded dramatically with the onset of social media. Platforms like Yelp and Facebook made it easy for consumers to post, find, and read reviews. Over time the “wisdom of the crowd” replaced the opinions of professional reviewers, and many consumers have come to rely on online reviews to choose where they go for entertainment. Then review platforms allowed business owners to respond to online reviews, and the playing field was leveled.
WHY REVIEWS MATTER The most important thing to know about social media reviews is that people read them and are influenced by them. “Some of the stats out there are that 93% of people read reviews before they visit a business,” says bowling marketer Carey Tosello, owner of eBowl.biz. “Even more importantly, 97% of review readers look for the business’s response to reviews. So people are going to read the reviews.” People don’t have to work hard to find online reviews either. One big reason is that Google, Yelp, and other services aggregate reviews from a variety of sources and post them with search results. So if someone is searching for a Carey Tosello bowling center in a particular area, a Google search will display available reviews of all the local centers that come up in the results. Tosello claims that consumers read up to 10 reviews before deciding. That means that before a potential customer even visits your website or location, they can use reviews to decide whether they might like your center or not.
Actual FEC review
BO S e Bo W e U oth L E s a #5 XPOt 1
BO S e Bo W e U oth L E s a #5 XPOt 1
COVER STORY Taylor McGlamery, marketing director of TrustWorkz, gives an example. “If I were to go on Google and I were to type in one of our clients, you’re going to see the Google reviews, obviously, because you’re in Google. But then if you scroll down a little bit more, you’re also going to see reviews from the web, and they integrate Facebook and Yelp.” Google’s algorithm analyzes good and bad Taylor McGlamery reviews and assigns an overall review rating, which can affect the order in which your center appears in the search results. So your center may be listed below a competitor because you have fewer stars or a lower review
Actual bowling center review
rating compared to them, notes McGlamery. Even if the searcher doesn’t read the individual reviews, their choice of where to bowl is already being influenced by your ranking. More sophisticated consumers who know how to read reviews can learn a lot more about your center, says Vivian Conterio, a marketing and training specialist for TrainerTainment. “As a mom, I often look at reviews for places I visit. Sometimes the reviews are great, detailed, and helpful as a consumer. It is important to distinguish junk reviews from authentic, Vivian Conterio informational reviews,” she says. Consumers can search for consistent and revealing terms from many reviews, such as “dirty bathrooms,” “surly staff,” or “poorlymaintained equipment.” They will also want to know how the business responded. “People like to see an interaction, especially if you resolved the matter,” says Conterio. “As a business, you should always look for and respond to reviews.”
time at least a few days a week to monitor the major review sites. Consider this an essential part of your marketing program and try to respond to reviews, especially negative ones, within 24 hours. Darrin Spindler, the founder of BowlingLeads.com, cautions against responding in the heat of the moment, especially if the review upsets you. “One of the worst things that you can do is get defensive. You’ve got to address [complaints] in a professional manner,” he says. “One of my rules is you’ve got to have the 24-hour rule on some things. Clearly think about what you’re about to post because, in a millisecond, somebody can screenshot what you posted and then go repost that Darrin Spindler elsewhere. You can put gasoline on an already flammable situation.” While it is important to make your initial response online, it’s safer to take the process off-line until the matter is resolved. “You post, ‘Sorry you had a bad experience on Saturday night. I really want to hear more about it. Please contact me.’ And then you put in [your contact] phone number or email,” says Tosello. “That does two things. First, it tells everybody who reads the review, ‘Oh, the business cares. They’ve reached out to take care of this
FIND, LISTEN AND HEAR The first step in engaging with reviews is to read them, which means making 18
Actual bowling center review
COVER STORY person.’ And secondly, you don’t get into that back and forth [in public].” The key review platforms to track at the moment are Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, which can all be accessed with a free account. Google and some other services Actual bowling center review will notify you of reviews if you “claim” or register the comments page for your business, which McGlamery recommends. “If you actually own the business, you can claim the listing. More often than not, they’re not claimed. Then the [owner] will be able to respond to these reviews,” she says. If you want to save time, the process of gathering reviews can be automated by using a paid platform such as Gather Up or Yext. These platforms can notify you of new reviews, simplify and automate your response process, and even assist you in sharing good reviews on your own website or social media pages. respect without blaming. If you resolved the issue, let Consultants like eBowl.biz and TrustWorkz can handle this for you, them know.” using proven tools and processes, for a monthly service fee. You will reap Sincere and informative reviews can be a helpful the benefits of the consultant’s expertise in handling reviews, also reality check, revealing that you may need to improve your facility or customer service. “The first thing to do is make sure that your guests have what we call a five-star experience,” says Spindler, who also owns and operates a restaurant. “One of the things that we teach our team members — it’s one of our five core values — is [provide a] five-star Actual FEC review experience every time.” How you respond to good reviews can help your business, too. Showing known as “reputation management.” Monthly fees can be a couple of customers you appreciate a good review can lead to hundred dollars or more, but as with any marketing service, this can be return visits and additional reviews. That’s important a good value if you have more than one center or are short on time. because many consumers dismiss reviews that are more than a few months old. You should also share good reviews with your staff to build morale by showing that customers appreciate what they are doing. Savvy operators know that no business is immune from complaints. It’s how you respond that protects your reputation and brings in more business. You wouldn’t ignore a customer complaint at your front Whether you use a monitoring service or do it yourself, it matters desk, so make sure you don’t overlook those reviews greatly who responds to reviews. If you assign a trusted junior staff on social media. They can make or break your member to monitor reviews, you must establish a hierarchy of who marketing and your business. ❖ responds to them. You may be comfortable having that junior staff member respond to the most positive reviews with a message such as “Thanks for liking our center. We hope you come back soon.” Negative reviews and complaints must be handled by the proprietor or a general manager who has extensive experience in handling customer Robert Sax is a writer and PR consultant in complaints. “It’s important to have a person in charge that you feel will Los Angeles. He grew up in Toronto, Canada, the home of five-pin bowling. represent your brand with the utmost character and answer questions without hesitation,” says Conterio. “Always listen with empathetic ears. Place yourself in their situation and try to answer the complaint with
PUT YOUR REPUTATION IN THE RIGHT HANDS
HAVING THE WORLD ON A STRING Is competition on string pins at The 2022 World Games a good step for bowling?
A CROSS-SECTION OF OPINIONS IBI has asked a cross-section of stakeholders in the business and sport of bowling what their take on the string pin machine debate is and how The World Games will impact the evolution of the bowling industry.
BPAA’S PERSPECTIVE JIM DECKER, BPAA President
By Paul Lane
he World Games has been an international sports event held every four years since1981. With the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics to July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The World Games was moved to 2022. Staged over 11 days, The World Games represents the pinnacle of competition for 3,600 of the world’s best athletes in thirty-plus unique, multidisciplinary sports, and it generates worldwide exposure for the participating sports, providing a highly visible stage on which athletes from more than 100 countries compete for gold. When the International Bowling Federation and QubicaAMF announced that Edge String Machines would be installed for The 11th World Games, it took the bowling world by surprise and triggered a landslide of questions. The use of string pin machines poses questions about the future for manufacturers; industry organizations such as the BPAA, MUBIG, PBA, and USBC; and competitors from around the world, many of whom will experience bowling on string machines for the first time while participating in The World Games. Jason Overstreet, deputy director of the USBC, has confirmed that Team U.S.A. will represent the U.S.A. in The World Games in 2022, despite the uncertainty of string pin lane certification by the USBC.
"The use of string pin machines cannot be ignored, and this thought is amplified with the announcement that string pin machines will be used at The World Games. The results will probably fall into two factions: the purists who resist change; and those with a more open mind and accept change. Hopefully, there's a happy medium, and the results will determine what happens in the long term. We cannot ignore the issue. It's a case of, 'Buy them, bowl on them, and like them.' They are here to stay." "Because it's the way of the future, [certification of the string pin lanes] requires a meeting of the minds between the boards and technical staff of both the BPAA and the USBC. Ultimately, the BPAA will go along with whatever the USBC decides. Certification by the USBC may not necessarily generate new opportunities for growth in BPAA membership. Instead, it will help to stabilize membership, as many existing centers will convert to string as an economical move. An influx of new centers that opt for string could help our membership numbers in the long run."
MUBIG'S PERSPECTIVE "MUBIG would hope that USBC, as they have in the past, review advancement in the business. MUBIG feels an open dialogue with USBC on any topic related to the business. Every decision has ramifications, so we respect the review process and continue to offer feedback to USBC as they review the certification of string pin lanes. In every technological advancement, the bowling industry has always attempted to grow the sport and solidify the business."
ROGER PHILIPI, MUBIG President
"The vast majority of proprietors, bowlers, and industry supporters are willing to share their success stories and ideas to advance the business. Growing pains are inevitable, but with string pin technology, this industry will collaborate for success. That's what makes the industry sustainable."
BOWLERO CORPORATION'S PERSPECTIVE COLIE EDISON, CEO of the PBA, Chief Customer Officer of Bowlero Corporation
"We have string machines at two locations – Bowlero Dania Beach and Bowlero Arlington. The string machines are very effective from a cost perspective and the customer satisfaction standpoint. We've heard no complaints. String machines also reduce labor costs in our centers and help eliminate a mechanic position that can be challenging to find. String machines allow a more affordable way to have more lanes and have more people go bowling which will help grow the sport."
MANUFACTURERS’ PERSPECTIVE "Brunswick's mission is to grow the bowling industry by providing products that meet the needs of bowling center owners, their employees, and athletes. Centers that primarily offer entertainment bowling experiences rather than competitive play have largely accepted string pin machines to take advantage of their low maintenance requirements. String pin has made it easier for nontraditional venues to offer bowling, which helps expand bowling's exposure. With more people enjoying bowling as a casual experience, there is an opportunity for some people to develop an interest in competitive play."
TOM CLARK, CEO and Commissioner of the PBA "It will be interesting to watch. Will the players feel the different [system] influences the scores abnormally, or will they reconcile that the string game — being played by everyone under the same parameters — is ultimately fair? To date, there have not been enough high-level events to influence player strategies one way or the other, or to completely judge the way the game is played on strings versus free-fall so that all eyes will be on The World Games.
"Existing bowling centers that offer leagues and tournaments will be influenced by bowler feedback from The CEO of Brunswick Bowling World Games as well as research studies that are currently in progress. We also expect that many existing centers in the United States will wait for USBC approval before seriously contemplating an investment in string pin machines."
"Right now, most competitive bowlers are either in a wait-and-see mode or against the notion of string pins because their first instinct is to believe the game differs too much from standard free fall pin setting. So, a major international competition like The World Games using string pins, and the opinions of the players coming out of the event, will go a long way to creating more familiarity with the string game and perhaps a greater acceptance that events moving forward will utilize this technology." "The PBA is open to conducting events on string pins. It's possible (or probable) that if the PBA conducts events on string pins, records and statistics, such as scoring averages, may be separated into two categories, free fall and string pin, as competitive bowling eases into acceptance. The differences crystalize between free fall and string."
"We believe competitive bowler acceptance of string pin machines will take time and largely be driven by experience using the machines as well as association certifications. For example, the University of Nebraska Women's team recently trained exclusively on Brunswick string pin machines and won the NCAA Women's Bowling National Championship in 2021."
"It is super exciting to see The World Games join the revolution of what is going on in the world of string pin machine installations in today's market. That exposure has the potential to further promote the already rapidlygrowing string pin machines market, which today represents 100% of US Bowling's new center sales."
US BOWLING DAVID FREWING, President of US Bowling
"The World Games will likely be the first string pin machine experience for many of the tournament participants. We will be closely monitoring bowler feedback."
"The bottom line is, string pin machines are allowing proprietors to provide a better experience to their customers, be more profitable, and make their bowling business operations more enjoyable. All of these reasons together result in a better business model, less stress, and more time with their families."
PAT CINIELLO, Chairman of QubicaAMF
JASON BELMONTE, World-Class Bowler
"I am excited and looking forward to being at The World Games in 2022. For the first time in the history of our sport, string pin bowling technology will be featured in one of the most important bowling competitions in the world. This is a huge honor and something we are very proud of." "The EDGE String machine has been designed to play as close to free-fall as possible. The bowlers will all be on the same playing field. It will be interesting to see how the players adapt and adjust as they do for varying lane conditions. And I don't expect there will be any meaningful difference in their averages on string versus free-fall." "This exposure will bring more awareness of string machines in general and to the benefits and overall savings, they offer for proprietors versus free-fall machines. I think proprietors will see the new string pin technology that is available today and get excited about the savings they can realize if they invest." "As far as bowlers go, at first, I think there will be a little hesitancy. Change is not always easy. But I think once they bowl on strings, they will find that they get accustomed to them quickly and even forget the pins are on strings." "All of the new centers being built today are FECs or hybrids, and the majority of these centers are going with string machines because they offer substantial savings peace of mind, sustainability, and are built with safety in mind. For proprietors, this technology will mean bowlers — both league and open play — will have a more enjoyable experience on the lanes. I think this will continue to be the trend for the foreseeable future, especially coming out of the pandemic, and presents a great opportunity for both proprietors and USBC. We grow the sport by getting more people to play!" 30
"Play your own game, and the pins will fall. Ignore and forget you are playing on strings – that is just a distraction. Avoid going [into a tournament] with preconceived anticipation of what to expect."
KELLY KULICK, World-Class Bowler "Regardless of the style of machines, competition will be fierce and extreme. The World Games is nothing to be sneezed at. It feels like an Olympic event, and there's no feeling like seeing your national flag flying and having your national anthem played on the international stage."
JOHN JANAWICZ, Former Team U.S.A. Bowler John Janawicz, a former Team U.S.A. bowler, agrees that string pins fall differently to free-fall, but no one style has an advantage. Some flush hits seemed to carry better on strings, while other hits (such as light) carried better on free-fall.
The bowling industry has ridden the waves of change before. With the newest iteration of bowling at the top of the next wave crest, the industry is poised to take on the thrills and challenges of string pin machines. ❖
Paul Lane is former Director of Marketing and Marketing Services for AMF Bowling, Inc. He has been the director of 18 AMF World Cups, an officer in national and international trade associations, and a pro bowler during a career that spans more than 60 countries and 50 years.
MAKE A NEW PLAN, STAN Planning today makes your life better tomorrow By Fred Kaplowitz 34
ometimes the thing we dread the most can become our greatest asset. In the case of planning this holds true. You see, a long time ago, I had a job with Citibank as a management trainee with an overwhelming amount of work. To help balance the workload, I created an annual planning system to help manage and organize my responsibilities. As I used the system, life got better because the projects were easier to handle; I knew what the goals were, when they had to be achieved, how I was going to approach them, and who else was involved in the process. When I moved into the bowling industry, I soon realized approaching the bowling business with an annual plan didn’t work so well because the core business back then was league bowling. If you were under goal in September, you’d play catch up the rest of the year — and then your ulcer would act up! So, I developed a cycle plan and proposed it to management who, at first blush, was not so excited with my approach. (I remember thinking that this would be the shortest employment I ever had.) Nevertheless, after a few meetings I broke through and we divided the year into three cycles based on the seasonality of the business. Traditionally, the first cycle ran from September to December when the demand for bowling increased in both league and open play. While that has been a consistent
BUSINESS model over the years, this year may be different due to the pandemic. Operators, including myself, have a lot of uncertainty and questions: what will motivate last year’s bowlers to come back; how can we adapt and do business differently; how do we find new bowlers and what do they want; who is going to do all this work? Those are a lot of questions to answer. In this issue, let’s break this down and look at just one component of the happy customer puzzle. Let’s think about what customers — old and new — might want, and how a planning system can help you accomplish your goals. I think most of us can agree that people are ready for entertainment. They’re looking to socialize, have fun, and lift a few cold beers together. But what else are they looking for? If trends continue like they have been, consumers will continue wanting a safe, clean, and sanitized venue, feeling reassured that sanitizing and health procedures are still in place. People have also quickly grown accustomed to minimal touch points, cashless transactions, and online ordering and reservation systems. How does your center stack up in terms of these new expectations, for example, what is your center’s policy regarding the use of masks and other safety measures? Once you’ve determined these policies and protocols, be sure to share them with your league base and open play customers. Include this information on your social media accounts, website, in-center displays, and all communications with your customers; people want and expect to be “in the know.” Planning is effective and reaps big dividends but can be time consuming until you find your groove. This process also requires that you have people who can follow through on your planning instructions. This year is especially hard to find and keep quality employees, but that’s a story for a different article.
Let’s get down to business: Cycle Planning 101.
PHASE ONE 1. Start an excel spreadsheet or grab a paper and pencil and at the top write NEW LEAGUE 2. Under that, name the league, i.e., “The Bad Bowler League” 3. Under that, make columns with starting date, number of weeks, starting time, bowler goal, and cost 4. Under that, list all the tasks to get that league floored a. Write and design flyers; don’t forget to put a benefit in the headline, not your center name b. Build a web page for each new league c. Build four or five Facebook posts (big picture, little copy) d. Segment your email list so you can target your message e. Build four or five emails (more copy, less graphics) f. Schedule posts three weeks in advance, then two weeks, then one week g. Follow up with everyone who opens your email h. Who does the selling to open play bowlers on the lanes? i. Who trains them in what to say? j. Who sells league bowlers on the lanes? k. Who trains them in what to say? l. Selling from the front desk? Who does it and what do they do? 5. Once you have planned the first league, you will have created a template for every league you want to start from now until eternity. Congratulations, you’ve just started the beginning of your cycle planning adventures!
PHASE TWO On the far right of your spread sheet, add two columns: “Who Will Do It” and “Due Date.” These are the most important columns — designating the responsible staff person with a hard deadline will hold everyone accountable.
QUICK TIP: Start planning in July. Break down the league planning into smaller pieces. In September, start on new, open play business. After that, move on to special events, holidays, etc. One final note: I know how many fires you put out and how crazy things can get at the center. Have a hard talk with yourself and hold yourself accountable to delegating and prioritizing. Leave the tedious tasks, like loading the candy machines or going to the bank, to someone else. Your business needs you at the captain’s wheel. Please do not avoid this process because it can seem cumbersome at first - this is the year you really need it!
HOW WILL YOU REACH YOUR TARGET? Will you use direct mail? Will you use old school media? Just because it costs money doesn’t mean it won’t work anymore. I have clients that are now using Every Door Direct mail program and have had some amazing responses, for the low cost of about 27 cents each, including postage. You do know that less than 9% of your emails are opened, and if you don’t boost your Facebook posts or target them to the market, your Facebook posts will float into space? Right? And if you don’t create videos to support your offer, who is going to see it, let alone remember it? 40
THINK OF IT AS A MARKETING PLANNING VACCINE. 95% EFFECTIVE IN HELPING ALL OF US FROM NOT GOING BROKE.
For more information on cycle planning or kicking Phases One and Two off in high gear, reach out to me at email@example.com or call me at (526) 359 4874. ❖
Marketing is in Fred Kaplowitz’s DNA. He loves to solve problems, and he meets challenges head-on. He has successfully produced results for hundreds of clients. He is a husband, father, consultant, coach, teacher, motivator, copywriter, and a speaker. He has been a friend and contributor to IBI for the past 25 years.
SHOWCASE TOUCH EXPRESS Steltronic will debut a new food and beverage self-order kiosk at Bowl Expo. Food and soft drink orders can be printed in your kitchen, while alcoholic drinks can be printed in your bar. Customize your system to fit your needs: allow alcohol orders to be age-verified before preparation; or exclude alcohol orders from your snack bar. However you want to organize it, it’s all customizable on your Steltronic Focus-NEX front desk or back office computers. Reservations are currently available in booth 1001 at Bowl Expo for a live demo of the scoring system. Register at www.steltronicscoring.com For more information, call us toll free (800) 942-5939 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are YOUR bowling center management specialists since 1980.
PRODUCTS THAT PERFORM Redemption Plus has been serving the bowling entertainment industry for 25 years and is a proud Smart Buy Vendor for the BPAA. We provide end-to-end redemption products and services, including custom design of redemption rooms and esports arenas, merchandising plans and installations, online and in-person redemption training, auto-replenishment technology, and a curated line of prizes that perform nationally. Stop by our booth (#510) during Bowl Expo to chat about how Redemption Plus can meet your centers’ needs. Website: Redemptionplus.com Phone: 888-564-7587 Email: Smile@redemptionplus.com. Booth: 510
ANGRY BIRDS COIN CRASH GAME Visit Booth 323 at Bowl Expo to see LAI Games’ brand new coin pusher, Angry Birds Coin Crash. Players attempt to build a huge tower of coins and then send it crashing over the edge for a major ticket win. The larger the tower, and the more of them on the playfield at one time, the more irresistible the game becomes to players. Guests have multiple ways to win tickets and add coins to the playfield. Unlike coin pushers with collectible items, Angry Birds Coin Crash is completely self-contained, with nothing to restock. The fact that Angry Birds IP appeals to all ages, coupled with a stunning cabinet available in twoand three-player configurations, make Coin Crash a great addition to your bowling center. To learn more, visit www.laigames.com/angry-birds-coin-crash.
NOW THERE’S A SELF-SERVE OPTION FOR POPCORN! It is easier than ever for bowling centers to serve up fresh popcorn! Gold Medal Products Co. is pleased to introduce the 16-oz ReadyPop® and 8-oz ReadyPop® Jr. Each unit combines the power of a popper with the convenience of a self-serve dispenser in one compact unit. No more scooping, you can dispense popcorn with just the push of a button! Pop multiple batches, then hold the popcorn in the warmed cabinet until it is dispensed. Push-button dispensing is more convenient and sanitary than other options. Each unit includes a stainless-steel E-Z Kleen kettle, PowerOff® Control that automatically turns off kettle heat after 15 minutes of idle time, and a heated corn deck to keep the popcorn warm and fresh. Mount to counter or purchase base separately. Both ReadyPop and ReadyPop Jr. are available from concession equipment and supply leader, Gold Medal Products Co. at gmpopcorn.com.
AMP UP FOR SUMMER WITH BMI MERCHANDISE BMI Merchandise features an extensive product line of the most-trending redemption merchandise in the marketplace, the latest and greatest toys and electronics, a wide range of crane and merchandiser kits, and a large selection of customized merchandise for birthday parties and corporate events. BMI is the leader in licensed products for your family entertainment centers. We carry over 30 of the most-trending licenses in the industry, featuring products and characters from the latest blockbuster movies, TV shows, and video games. Our licensed merchandise assortment includes novelty toys, plush, collectibles, crane kits, and more. And it doesn’t stop there! Our full-service redemption program saves you time and money. Our game-changing technology increases your efficiency while decreasing your operating expenses. Let BMI help you increase your guest experience while increasing your profits. For more information, contact BMI’s Dave Schwartz at (800) 272-6375, email@example.com.
CLASSIFIEDS SUBSCRIPTION RATES: One copy of International Bowling Industry is sent free to every bowling center, independently owned pro shop and collegiate bowling center in the U.S., and every military bowling center and pro shop worldwide. Publisher reserves the right to provide free subscriptions to those individuals who meet publication qualifications. Additional subscriptions may be purchased for delivery in the U.S. for $60 per year. Subscriptions for Canada and Mexico are $65 per year, all other foreign subscriptions are $80 per year. All foreign subscriptions should be paid in U.S. funds using International Money Orders. POSTMASTER: Please send new as well as old address to International Bowling Industry, P.O. Box 7350 Overland Park, KS 66207 USA. If possible, please furnish address mailing label. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright 2021, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.
P.O. Box 7350 Overland Park, KS 66207 (818) 789-2695(BOWL) Fax (818) 789-2812 firstname.lastname@example.org www.BowlingIndustry.com
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CLASSIFIEDS EQUIPMENT FOR SALE INFECTED with the REMODEL BUG as you FALL into League Season? ENTERTAINING the idea of a face-lift? Got you covered: A2s, parts, lanes, scoring, seating, and, of course, masks. email@example.com. FOR SALE: 10 pin drilling machine with vacuum system, measuring ball, scale, etc. Call Vic at (780) 454-1110. NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com. REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751.
CENTERS FOR SALE ILLINOIS: 24-lane, recently remodeled center w/ new parking lot. 40,000 s/f on 1.67 acres. Qubica scoring and POS system. Strong leagues w/ 900+ bowlers, also pool leagues. Sports bar & grill, pro shop, video gaming, & banquet hall w/ lots of room to convert. Owner retiring. Call (847) 613-5020 for price & info. NEBRASKA: 32-lane center, land & building. Features Brunswick A2 pinsetters, Brunswick Pro Anvilane lanes, Brunswick 2000 ball returns. Also, large lounge seating to 250; party room seating up to 80; game room, café with established catering service. Center caters in-house and to other locations year-round. For more information, call Don Mehring, Action Holdings Real Estate, office (308) 384-3777 or cell (308) 380-0444.
EQUIPMENT WANTED LANE MACHINES WANTED. We will purchase your KEGEL-built machine, any age or condition. Call (608) 764-1464.
EDUCATION & TRAINING PRO SHOP TRAINING. Classes always forming. Jayhawk Bowling Supply (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
SERVICES AVAILABLE Drill Bit Sharpening and Measuring Ball Repair. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. (800) 255-6436 or jayhawkbowling.com.
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(818) 789-2695 LOCKER KEYS FAST! All Keys done by code # Locks and Master Keys E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org TOLL FREE
ARE YOU A FAN OF BOWLING? www.Facebook.com/BowlingFan
AMF and some BRUNSWICK PC board repair/exchange. 6-month warranty, fast turnaround. Call or write: WB8YJF Service 5586 Babbitt Road, New Albany, Ohio 43054 Toll Free: 888-902-BOWL (2695) Ph./Fax: (614) 855-3022 (Jon) E-mail: email@example.com Visit us on the WEB! http://home.earthlink.net/~wb8yjf/
AMF • BRUNSWICK EQUIPMENT COMPLETE PACKAGES WORLDʼS LARGEST NEW – USED SPARE PARTS INVENTORY ALL AMF BUMPER PARTS, XS Q-BUMP, DURABOWL AND GEN II IN STOCK
Danny & Daryl Tucker Tucker Bowling Equipment Co. 609 N.E. 3rd St. Tulia, Texas 79088 Call (806) 995-4018 Fax (806) 995-4767
Bowling Parts, Inc. P.O. Box 801 Tulia, Texas 79088 Call (806) 995-3635 Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
SELL YOUR CENTER
(818) 789-2695 WWW.TEXTBOWLING.COM
uchies need BandAids, and bowlers need protection to live to see another strike. 1964 was the height of bowling popularity: 330,395 YABA members; 4,550,000 ABC members; and 2,821,747 WIBC members with 121,127 leagues going full tilt. With those numbers in the marketplace, Johnson & Johnson had bowlers’ backs — and their thumbs, too! ❖ - Patty Heath
JOHNSON & JOHNSON BAND-AID SHEER STRIPS
The best trade industry magazine for the bowling industry, including bowling centers, bowling alleys, family entertainment centers, and FECs...
Published on Jun 1, 2021
The best trade industry magazine for the bowling industry, including bowling centers, bowling alleys, family entertainment centers, and FECs...