Building it is just not enough these days; you need to create a bowling center master planning that maximizes your space in order to increase revenue.

Although bowling dates back to 3200 BCE, your bowling center shouldn’t.

In order to keep up with the changing times, you have to adapt to trends and learn how to change your bowling “alley” into a bowling entertainment center in order to maximize your space and increase your revenue. Your first step should be to work with a seasoned bowling center design firm on master planning when considering a redesign or are starting a new bowling center business.

For a bowling center to thrive today, it must not only change its way of thinking but must also change its products and services from core bowling to a full-circle entertainment. Yes, your anchor attraction will be bowling, but your “impulse” games and attractions can be so much more.

When working with a bowling design firm to implement change in your bowling center master planning or create something from scratch, it’s important to create a strategic growth plan and examine all aspects of your bowling center. From old, underutilized league/tournament meeting rooms to outdoor space, there is a multitude of ways to create additional revenue streams by fusing bowling and entertainment into one lucrative business model.

When you look at your bowling space, think “revenue” and ask yourself and your design firm how your current space can turn into a money maker. After all, when guests stay longer, they spend more money, and when they spend more, your revenue increases, and when your revenue increases, you can make things bigger and better in order to wow your guest, bring them back more often, and attract new guests. The cycle keeps going.

Below of are four ways your master plan can maximize your bowling center space to increase revenue and add value to the experience.

1. Add Attractions

Growing your bowling space into an entertainment center should include adding more attractions to the scope of your bowling center master planning.

Attractions can consist of an exciting, vibrant, redemption arcade, or interactive attractions like laser tag, laser mazes, bumper cars and more. Many centers will add a redemption arcade first, as they can provide an extremely good payback with high revenue per square foot.

For redemption arcades, it can cost from $5,000 to $7,000 or more per game. You do have options however about the amount of investment you’ll need to make. Consult with a good games distributor about buying, leasing, or using a games operator with revenue sharing. Although there are pros and cons for each, doing a bit of research will give you an indication of which will best fit your budget or provide the best tax advantages. For redemption, you can go with a traditional redemption prize counter, or space permitting, many centers are seeing great success with “redemption store” concepts. Either way, just remember that your prizes must be displayed like you would see merchandise displayed in a great store. There are professionals in the business who can help you, so don’t hesitate to search them out.

One thing is for sure, you’ll need a mix of games to appeal to all ages. Depending on your demographic, you may want to include two or three older games. These classics will be well-known to parents and adults because they grew-up playing them, but still be popular enough for kids today to enjoy.

2. Add Birthday, Corporate Parties, and Event Space

Bowling birthday parties are amongst the most popular choices for kids, and when marketed, for adults as well! Most companies will have at least one company event or outing per year, and this has become one of the best revenue growth opportunities for many bowling entertainment centers.

Whether for charity events, or events such as bachelor/bachelorette parties and even wedding events, when combined with a good food & beverage offering, your party and event space can provide exceptional revenue opportunities.

3. Enhance Food and Beverage

In today’s world, going out to eat or drink is as much about entertainment and socializing as it is about having a meal or quenching a thirst. Most high revenue producing entertainment centers have a very good, stand-alone restaurant quality facility and food & beverage offering. Take a look at what your center offers and ask yourself:

Does my restaurant/bar/snack bar visually appeal to my target customer (families, millennials, corporate crowd, etc.)?

Does my food & beverage menu include the type of offerings my target customers expect?

Do my centers level of service meet my customers’ expectations and provide a high level of customer satisfaction?

One of our customers, the Krause family, owners of Seminole Lanes in Seminole, FL recently underwent a complete renovation of their bowling space, as well as adding on a fantastic pizzeria and redemption arcade in what was previously lower revenue producing leased space.

The design for the bowling remodel, along with the addition of the pizzeria and redemption arcade for Seminole Lanes was developed by US Design Lab with the Krause family; incorporating a modern, industrial chic look with an emphasis on the look/feel of natural materials, a highly social environment, and along with a flow and look as if the new pizzeria and redemption arcade were simply part of the facility from the beginning.

Both new venues are highly successful, with the pizzeria providing a high-quality look/feel & menu which has surpassed expectations to the delight of the Krause family, and especially their customers!

4. Add Outdoor Entertainment

If your bowling center has space outside, especially if it’s in a state with a good climate year-round like California, Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina, consider adding to your bowling center master planning outdoor food, beverage, and entertainment. People love socializing, eating, drinking and having fun outdoors in the right environment. If your property allows for this, take advantage of it!

Entertainment can include games like bocce ball, a karaoke machine on weekdays and a live local band playing on weekends. If you don’t have outdoor space or are in a cold climate, create the same mood inside with string lights, concrete floor, and bistro tables.

The idea is to design an environment that goes beyond bowling and gives your guests more reason to stick around after the pins fall. Adding the entertainment element provides a continuous pursuit of strategic growth by creating repeat visits while attracting new guests.

Utilize these four ways in your bowling center master planning to maximize your space, increase revenue, and add value to your guests’ experience.