My all-time favorite pricing structure

We have discussed pricing options in the past here in this blog, but today I would like to discuss my all-time favorite pricing structure: the 2-for-5 option (two games for $5).

The spring and summer months are a great time to test your market. I’m never a fan of “going cheaper” for the sole sake of reducing prices. However, I am a huge proponent of bundling packages together in a way that gives your customers great value and helps drive business into your centers. This type of bundling structure will always be a win-win for your bowling center.

The 2-for-$5 pricing structure is simple and attractive to customers. The offer includes two games of bowling (with shoe rental) for a total of five dollars. It’s difficult to beat that price. Customers have been conditioned to immediately recognize the 2-for-$5 as a deal worth snagging. Consider how many fast-food chains offer a similar package. In fact, I did a really quick Google search for “2 for 5” and the results were for two-for-five-dollar special offers at McDonald’s, Arby’s, Burger King, Checkers, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Why are so many fast-food chains offering this deal? Because it works!

So how does the 2-for-$5 structure work at a bowling center? First, determine the times and age group of youth bowlers who will qualify. Your goal is to try to get Mom or Day there, too, and the parent will purchase at regular price. You may want to consider an additional “freebie” – a soda. Yes, it adds cost, but it also gives your food and beverage staff an opportunity to upsell. You might want to offer pizza by the slice or a hot dog meal, and encourage your staff to consistently upsell at the counter. Remember: upselling successfully is the key behind any FREE or discounted offer.

Many centers do “Kids Bowl Free” as a promotion, and I think that program works well for certain centers. The idea of the Kids Bowl Free program is to get children interested in bowling at an early age, and to collect the parent’s information to begin marketing to them. We always hope in these scenarios that the children will bring a friend or an additional family member. Those additional people in the center – even if they are bowling for free – will pay to rent shoes and to enjoy our food and beverages.

One of my favorite clients used this 2-for-$5 pricing during off-times, and was pleasantly surprised to see his bowling center packed on Sunday morning all summer long. In fact, the program worked so well during what is normally a slow time that he had to bring in an extra cook and server to assist with all the new customers. Matter of fact he had to bring in an extra cook and server to assist with all the new customers. The center ended up liking the pricing structure so much that they decided to do a “2 for ?” structure for the entire summer. We developed three different price points – 2 for $5, 2 for $7 and 2 for $9.

The 2-for-$5 pricing structure is also a great offering when introducing schools, churches and youth groups of all types to your center. People understand it and get it right away!

No matter what you do, I encourage bundling offers like the 90-minute package pricing described in a recent blog post. Keep in mind that two things are very important to people when it comes to entertainment – price and time!

Yours for Better Bowling,