Pins of Progress: Bowling Innovation
By Brian Ardinger
Recently, the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA) hosted its annual Bowling Summit in New Orleans, an event where I had the privilege of keynoting. The Summit brought together industry professionals to delve into topics important for the evolution of the bowling sector. It focused on innovation in bowling, adapting to change, and enhancing customer experiences.
In my session, titled “The Innovation Imperative: Keeping Pace in an Era of Accelerating Uncertainty,” I emphasized the need for integrating new tools, technologies, and business models. It’s critical to continually create value in this fast-paced environment.
A key observation from the event was the willingness of industry veterans, some with over four decades of experience, to adopt new technologies like AI, explore fresh business models, and acquire new skill sets.
Many participants were keen on enhancing customer experiences. These ranged from improved food and beverage options to targeting new demographics, and implementing self-service technologies.
This shift indicates a broader understanding that bowling centers are now part of a comprehensive entertainment experience. They compete with a range of options from streaming services to innovative concepts like TopGolf and Chicken N Pickle.
Finally, the proactive stance of business owners in embracing change, exploring new ideas, and experimenting with innovative concepts was inspiring. As I look forward to future industry events, my goal remains to help others understand the critical role of innovation in bowling. And equip them with the necessary skills to thrive in today’s era of continuous innovation.