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Recovering Lost Revenue

Co-branding with major companies is also something you w


March 31, 2008
By Cam Wood


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There’s a competitive nature within all of us. And it’s that emotion –
be it on our sleeve, or quietly held in check – Donna Hill-Green wants
amusement operators to tap into.

Co-branding with major companies is also something you want to explore

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There’s a competitive nature within all of us. And it’s that emotion – be it on our sleeve, or quietly held in check – Donna Hill-Green wants amusement operators to tap into.

Hill-Green, along with James and Heather Hills from CoinOp Sports, was at the recent ASI show in Las Vegas to discuss how operators can recapture lost revenue by training location staff to think beyond the traditional pool and dart leagues.

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“The players are there for camaraderie and the social aspect … but let’s face it, they’re also there to win,” she said.

“And we all have our mainstays in every location – pool, darts. But what we need to do is ask manufacturers what criteria on new equipment could there be for running tournaments.”

Touching on the phenomenon of the past few years, Hill-Green pointed out that video golf offers up to 28 different options for league and tournament play; video bowling 30.

“You can do this on any piece of equipment.”

And while the idea creates new events and activities for the location to promote, Hill-Green stressed that operators need to find ways – such as these events – to maximize their return on investment. Without a doubt, she added, new equipment is expensive, but a little creativity and marketing can reduce that time period and realize profits sooner.

“It’s getting to the point where we can’t sit back and expect a machine to generate revenue.”
One idea that Hill-Green brought from her own experience at the location level was the creation of a bar-sport triathlon league. Using pool, darts and video golf, players worked through all three categories to compete.

“In today’s world it is more important than ever to create dynamic events for customers,” said Heather Hills, events director for CoinOp Sports. “For coin-op games to thrive again we have to shift the emphasis from just placing games to providing entertainment.”

And in doing so, training staff at the location level becomes a key element. As they are already in a customer service situation, they should be able to give an operator a good assessment of the demographics, and likely have a bit of marketing savvy. Bar staff have grown accustomed in a lot of situations to promoting certain drinks or brands from alcohol sales reps, said Hill-Green.

“Co-branding with major companies is also something you want to explore.”

A big part of the investment for the coin-op operator is teaching the location staff how to use and maintain the games. Hill-Green said that if the location staff are comfortable playing the game themselves, they are more likely to support the idea of organizing an event around it.

“And they need to know the ‘lingo’ for the games,” she said. “Then you have these people at your locations every day that can make you money … on every single game, even the bar-top games.”
She also suggested exploring the idea of developing tournaments around games that no longer generate consistent revenue. It may be the game has fallen out of fashion with players, but also newer players may not be familiar with how it works. Mini events, as such, revitalize some awareness and may help extend the life of the game. Or, at worst, it may confirm that it’s time to replace it altogether.

By working closely with the location staff, Hill-Green said, the operator creates an environment where both parties can win. The leagues and events give the customers a reason to be at the location, and in doing so, increase revenues for food and drink sales. That way, the operator becomes a valuable partner for the location.o


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