Predicting a strike

Hollywood Bowl Group’s commercial director Mat Hart, explores the significant opportunity for ten-pin bowling as leisure-led experiences continue to rise


of UK population within a 15 minute drive of a bowling centre

It’s no secret that leisure has become an increasingly important factor in today’s changing retail environment. As part of the wider growth of the leisure market, driven by a variety of factors including GDP, consumer confidence and behaviours, ten-pin bowling has been forecast to grow by 4.3 per cent per year between 2015 and 2019, superseding the total UK leisure sector which is predicted to grow by three per cent.

There’s no doubting the popularity of bowling in the UK but when compared to the nation’s other favourite past times such as a trip to the cinema, the opportunity for growth in bowling is clear. Over the past 12 months, 33 per cent of consumers have participated in ten pin bowling compared to 68 per cent for cinemas. One of the obvious reasons for this is accessibility.  An estimated 47 per cent of the UK population live within a 15-minute drive of a bowling centre, compared to 69 per cent living within a 15-minute drive of a cinema.

A strategy for growth

This predicted growth in ten-pin bowling over the next few years is therefore expected to be underpinned by developing new sites, primarily located in mixed retail and leisure schemes.

New sites will increasingly be considered as part of refurbishment programmes of existing centres to enhance the overall leisure offer, as shopping centre owners like intu continue to focus on delivering compelling experiences.

Hollywood Bowl Group is leading the way in driving growth in this market with its refurbishment and new site development programme focused on prime, high footfall destinations to drive forward on their customer acquisition and loyalty strategy. Working with intu, Hollywood Bowl Group is able to execute a key part of its growth strategy across its UK-wide portfolio of popular retail and leisure destinations.

This year, intu Derby revitalised its leisure offering and welcomed a Hollywood Bowl centre which features 18 fully computerised lanes, including four exclusive VIP lanes. Set over 23,000 sq ft, the Americana themed space also includes an American diner, a stylish bar and fun packed amusements and pool areas. Future confirmed developments include a 34,000 sq ft flagship venue at intu Lakeside’s new leisure extension as well a new centre at intu Watford’s £180m extension, which are both due to open in 2018