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Technology: The enabler that powers Hollywood Bowl Group - Part 2


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Across this three part series, we’re going to share the highlights of Stephen Burns, CEO at Hollywood Bowl Group, talking to Peter Oliver, founder of Green 4 Solutions, about the impact of technology on his business. Part one and part three are here.

Hollywood Bowl Group is the UK’s leading ten-pin bowling business, operating 56 centres nationwide under the Hollywood Bowl, AMF Bowling and Bowlplex brands. It has built a reputation for delivering outstanding family entertainment in venues that are also aspirational leisure destinations for young adults and perfect for corporate parties and events. Since its formation in 2010, Hollywood Bowl Group has modernised the customer bowling experience. With innovations like its state-of-the-art booking and scoring systems, and centres offering American diners, licenced bars and exclusive VIP lanes, Hollywood Bowl Group has brought bowling into the 21st Century.

Part Two: Key Metrics

Peter: What are some of the key metrics that you can share with us? What are the key things that you’re learning about your customers?

Stephen: Well, frequency’s an interesting one, because we’re a capacity-constrained business. One way of driving frequency is through discounting, which we are pretty loathe to do really. We feel that we’re incredibly competitive and a great value-for-money experience as it is. We don’t particularly want to discount that.

The way of driving frequency is by really engaging with customers at times that we know they’ll be interested in coming to us. We know when customer has last bowled, what their triggers were for booking in the first place - whether it was maybe a specific e-communication that we sent out, or a specific time of the year, which enables us then to be a lot more sophisticated in terms of the buckets that we put them in. We can target them a lot more proactively without using discount as a lever.

In terms of some of the key measures, frequency is one of them and we’ve improved frequency from 1.1 times a year to 1.32 times a year. Now, some of that frequency increase has been off the back of investment, but really the only way that we can target our investments is by knowing what our customers really value.

We’re able to do that through the surveys that we do, which we do on a monthly basis. We get over 5,500 bits of data from our customers on what they value and what they don’t about our product. That all then feeds into the mix to build a more complete picture about our customers.

Also, equally, spend per game. We’ve moved our spend per game from what was £5.70 in 2011 to north of £8 now. By presenting customers with products that will help enhance their experience when they’re with us. Then, by creating a nice environment for customers to be in, they’re much more likely to dwell and stay longer and have the second game or have the extra drink at the bar that they wouldn’t have done previously.

They’re all things that are the core indicators to our success. Ultimately, that has helped us drive profit growth, which we’ve moved from around £11m EBITDA in 2011, to what we are expecting to be in line with market expectation with this year, for the financial year 2015, around the £30m EBITDA mark.

That’s been off the back of investment-led growth, organic growth, as well as then driving frequency, improving yield.

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