By Scott Borowsky and Frank Seninsky
As we now enter the fourth quarter of 2018, it has been a good year overall for our industry and our outlook for the rest of the year looks positive. Here are some of the trends, both good and bad, that we have witnessed over these past summer months:
Lots of Rain. Rain on the East Coast and in the Mid-West has hurt amusement park pre-season revenues. Add this to rising gas prices as reasons why some families decided to stay home. Both have certainly helped summer FEC revenues.
What’s Going on in Las Vegas. One would not realize that Las Vegas casino hotels have as low as a 20 percent occupancy when there are not large conventions in town. Gambling revenue is down and hotels are making up these lost revenues with food and beverage and entertainment revenues. The reason? One answer could be that millennials are going to Las Vegas to have fun, but not to gamble.
Big Box and Shopping Center Space Deals. Our industry is being offered a lot of options to expand into new places with tenant improvement money. Yes, landlords are offering more TI money to attract an entertainment operator. In one recent case, $1.5 million was offered on a 75,000-square-foot space.
Bowl Expo June 18-21, Las Vegas, Nev.; A Success!
Bowl Expo 2018 saw more exhibitors and more attendees, including international participants, and more importantly, more first-time attendees. More than 400 new attendees were counted – you could pick them out because their names were written in red, which was a good idea the BPAA came up with to improve networking. The 16 hot topic seminars were also well attended with standing room only for several of the seminars.
With Lou Holtz as the Keynote speaker, the first day of the trade show was packed. Many of us did not get to see all of the exhibitors on the first day – there was a lot to see. Virtual reality (VR) received a lot less interest than it did at Amusement Expo, but you could still hear the buzz. It continues to evolve and the aggressive bowling center proprietors are installing this attraction.
The number-one attended seminar, and our favorite, was “51 Ways to Improve Your Food Operation” by Mike Holtzman of Profitable Food Facilities (PFF). The buzz clearly demonstrated the trend of bowling centers’ strong interest to upgrade the quality their food offerings (and at the same time to reduce product/labor costs) to keep up with the out-of-home leisure competition.
The center space of the exhibit trade show floor was given to the official rollout of QubicaAMF’s new game changer “Hyper Bowling.” On Tuesday, Emanuele Govoni, president and CEO of QubicaAMF, gave an extremely detailed seminar on the good and bad aspects of bowling and how Hyper Bowling can increase the target market for bowling, and make it a more social experience. Players bowl one ball per frame, trying to time the bounce of the ball against flashing light bumpers to get multiplier points for the number of pins knocked down. Timing and finesse make this new game a lot like pool and bowling combined. Note that every major sport is making changes to their game. For example, golf is considering shortening the play from 18 holes to 12 holes, and even using a soccer ball instead of a golf ball, with wider holes of course.
Connect 4 Hoops (Bay-Tek) Was a Hit New Game at Bowl Expo
This is a great example of how our industry can use existing technology to combine two competitive games into a great new game! The first player to align four balls either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on the augmented reality vertical LED projected grid wins. They say that one or two players can play, but we all know that the more hands a team has the better. Teamwork pays off! This is a game where a player can be ahead and lose at the last second. It looks easier than it really is, and that is what repeat play is all about.
Top Hits from Bowl Expo 2018
Here are some interesting videos from Bowl Expo that you may want to follow-up with:
Nancy Schenk, BPAA President; Jeff Boje, BPAA President (2004-2006); Michael Ducat – BPAA President (2000-2002); Peter Gustafson, American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA); Lori Schneider, Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA); Meg Bonnichsen, SureShot Redemption; Emanuele Govoni, Jay Buhl, QubicaAMF, ‘Hyper Bowling;’ Mark Johnson, Bay Tek Games, ‘Connect 4 Hoops;’ Wayne Snihur, American Changer, ‘Debit Card Dispenser’ and several others.
(To view the videos, visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCs2Ejr78O-kwFxb0J_HlJb1NNAfYSnMw.)