THOUGHTS FROM CAREY…
Looking ahead to a post-pandemic future
How about some Good News for 2021?
While many bowling centers are open, with some reporting good business, many others are still shuttered/restricted by order of their Governor. With the case for closing bowling centers (based on fact & science) being weak, that argument will become even weaker after the vaccines are distributed. The challenge of course, is surviving until then.
More Good News!
As a big fan of history, I did some reading on the last big pandemic – the Spanish Flu of 1918-19. While that virus was much more severe than the current one, with 50 million dead and 1/3 of the planet infected, it does teach us some lessons. One of which is that the pandemic was followed by the Roaring 20’s, a time when people got out and celebrated! It was not a coincidence that this followed a pandemic, so can expect the same kind of response from the public once the virus has passed thru the population, or the vaccine is distributed. Humans are by nature a social species. Locking us in our homes cannot be sustained for long periods as it is simply not in our genetic makeup. The time will come when people are going to be ready to get out and socialize – and bowling is a great place for that! So get ready for a boom in leisure activity and sports participation beginning in 2021.
I encourage you to use this time to re-evaluate your operation for those pricing, operational, or system changes you had been contemplating, as the consumer is expecting that the rules will change at every business they visit. Have you been thinking about per game vs hourly rental? Is opening before noon really viable? Should you raise your party package prices? This is the time for those changes. Have you been thinking about online reservations? This is CERTAINLY the time to get that started.
For those that have reopened their bowling centers, you know that the restart is a slow process. We simply can’t open the doors and have the same level of business we had pre-Covid. Between the onerous rules placed on bowling by Governors, and the media’s continual message of doom and gloom, people are confused and scared.
If you have not yet reopened, or are open at a limited capacity, it is important to let people know that you are coming back as you don’t want them to forget about bowling. If you have reopened, you know that the return to pre-pandemic business takes time and effort. The good news is that there are centers that have hit 80% of their pre-pandemic business already!
This won’t happen overnight, and to get there quickly you must continually drive home the Bowling is Back message. The most cost-effective way to do this is using your email list regularly, keep your website current, and use targeted Facebook/Instagram ads. Over the past 10+ years, we have proven that these targeted ads can reach thousands of people every day with your message – and marketing your business today is more critical than ever. There simply isn’t a shortcut around promoting your business back to pre-pandemic business levels.
I am very optimistic about the bowling business on the other side of this pandemic! So I encourage you to do what you can to get thru the next couple of months, knowing that much better times lay ahead. And be sure to reach out with questions about how best to rebound your business, or if you just want to vent!
founder, eBowl.biz & BowlRx.com
*Need help driving traffic when you re-open? We have a proven track record using targeted Facebook/Instagram ads that reach thousands of people per day. More info here.