December is the perfect month to offer a variety of tournaments or special events. Kids of all ages are on winter break, college students and young adults typically return home for a few days, and many adults are off work between Christmas and New Year's. This month, I will highlight a proven tournament that can drive traffic to your operation and ring the register.
After-School All-Star Tournament
When I operated a busy center in Ohio, we had a highly successful after-school bowling program that drew a lot of kids. Over the holiday break, we hosted an all-star tournament made up of the top bowlers from each school. We informed the principals of each school which of their students would be representing them in the event, which garnered a lot of support from the teachers and other school personnel.
When hosting tournaments, remember it is all about the customer's experience. Showtime is the name of the game; it's what people remember, what they post about on social media, and what sets your center apart from an everyday experience somewhere else.
You have an opportunity to make a great impression; you want to do it right. On tournament day, I made sure our staff pulled out all the bells and whistles to create an extraordinary experience for our young customers and their families. After the warm-up, I would turn off all the house lights in this tournament and introduce each child's high game and average. After each game, we took a moment to announce the current top 10 teams in reverse order, which kept the excitement growing. By the time the top three teams were an- nounced, the cheers were deafening. At the end of the competition, we awarded the top team and their school a traveling trophy to be displayed in the winning school until the next tournament.
The tournament was a hit with our young bowlers, their families, and the schools. While it was worth all the positive public relations we received, the absolute bell ringer was a house full of cheering parents and grand- parents at 2:30 in the afternoon on a weekday, when we wouldn't have had a lot of business otherwise. Be- tween the goodwill the event created, the extra expo- sure for our center, and the revenue it brought in, the holiday tournament quickly became a popular annual event for our customers and our bottom line! Although this tournament was labor-intensive, we could not put a price tag on all the positive public relations we received from it.
If you do not have an after-school program to draw par- ticipants, consider looking at another customer base in your center. You can use this same format idea to run a mid-season tournament with your adult-child leagues. If you need help with details on how to format and sell such an event, email me at [email protected]•ee.com, and I will assist you, with compliments of IBI.