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The Frequent Bowler
This group really is not interested in making a commitment to bowling. They may join a league for a season or more. They may come every week to bowl in Glow or for a special, but they will not admit that they are committed bowlers. Approaching these bowlers to join a second league, to come practice, to bowl in a serious tournament or anything like that will probably seem like a failure. However, a small percentage of this group will move to the committed league bowler group so the effort should still be taken, just expect small results.
This is the group that needs to be approached in groups, either as a league, a team, with some friends, an organized group, etc. These bowlers are the social ones and do not like to do things alone or with people they do not know. The key is to find out what their connection is to someone else.
This is the group that needs to be approached on the basis that “your friend is coming” or “bring your family”. They need a strong reason to reach out to their friends and or family to convince them (or at least suggest) to go bowling. Perhaps a promotion that if a group of 4 or more comes in and pays for 2 games each they would get a free large one-topping pizza or perhaps a promotion that is geared to their family and close friends (like the Saturday Family Special). It will not be common to see these customers trying something new without their support group. However, once you get them to bite at a promotion with their family or friends and they like it, they will be back on a regular basis.
Age is not a factor in determining if they fall into this group. They can be youth, young adults, older adults and seniors. Each of these sub-groups needs to be approached in a different way. Why is it difficult (impossible) to form a new youth league? It is mainly because their friends don’t do it. If these same youth were approached by their friends for the same league, many would join also. Adult youth leagues are key for this frequent bowler group because it is a bonding time, not because bowling is their favorite thing to do. The enticement of a certain ball or other prize allows them to talk about it.
Bowling centers must be very careful when adding bowlers to a set team or even putting together teams for leagues. Remember that these people are looking to spend time with people they know. If you put someone they do not know on the team and they are not compatible to become friends, at least bowling friends, everyone on the team will quit bowling. They may last until the end of the season but they will be lost for several years or maybe forever if they do not like the new bowlers.
We must constantly be reviewing our offers to determine if we are trying to reach the frequent bowlers. If we are, we must gear the message to more than the individual. Perhaps we need to promote and set up our pricing for couples, groups of 4 to 5, etc.
Since these are not committed bowlers but show up on a regular basis, we need to keep the bowling experience fresh. We need to make it a different fun experience. What I mean by this is to do extra things from time to time to keep it fresh. Things such as the games on the scorers, spin the wheel, giving out cookies, handing them a discount or free game coupon, different lighting, whatever else needs to be done so that they do not get bored. They want to be entertained.
Bring a friend or bring the family should be the theme to any new promotion that is targeting this group. This type of theme will have a better chance of working whether the offer is made inside the center or being promoted in the newspaper or on the radio. Individual attention will not produce big results. The internet, Facebook and other might work also. A lively web page, with pictures and accurate up to date information is very important to this group but they need to be told a couple of times about the web site.