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Technology: The enabler that powers Hollywood Bowl Group - Part 1


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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 two 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 One: The Single Customer View

Peter: Has the business proposition changed since you joined the business? How has technology helped with that change?

Stephen: The proposition hasn’t really changed at all. We’re still offering the experience. The elements within it have changed quite a lot as we’ve evolved the proposition to match our customers’ wants and needs.

One of the biggest issues we had was trying to find a way of getting a single customer view. That’s the Holy Grail for any leisure-based business. Up until that point, we were guessing at what our customers wanted. Where should we be investing our marketing expenditure to ensure that we were talking to the customers in a language that we knew that they would understand and interact with?

So, what we did do, was look at how we could try and pull all our systems together. It became very clear that everything that we had wasn’t fit for purpose. We would therefore need to develop a system with the customer at its heart. So many of the businesses that I’d worked for in the past would have a finance system, a reservation system and people systems, and then feed into a data warehouse that attempted to power customer relationships.

What we wanted to do here was start with the CRM system and then bolt everything onto that so that the customer was at the heart of everything that we did, and the decisions that we made. Which is when we engaged with Green 4 as they focused on the customer. We then enhanced their system and started rolling it out across the entire business.

Peter: What sorts of techniques have changed to enable you to capture customers’ information more readily?

Stephen: What CRM enabled us to do was to start building a customer database that we were then able to start segmenting, to ensure that we could talk to our customers in a way that they would understand. This means, when we are talking about specific offers and products, that we are able to put things in front of you that you are more likely to buy.

If you are a family and you’ve bought family products, we’re not going to start sending you details about the Friday night special with buckets of beer. Equally, if you’ve come with your friends and only bought adult-related products, we’re not going to talk to you about face painting on a Saturday or our family fun weekend.

As a consequence, we’re getting more and more people interacting with our database. We generated just under £4m from our database through personalised email campaigns last year. 

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