Amusements remains pinned to the fabric of Hollywood Bowl

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Hollywood Bowl’s amusements manager Will Etherington discusses how the company’s march continues as expansion takes its bowling offering into new territories ahead of the company’s latest rebrand.


Hollywood Bowl has highlighted the importance of its arcade offering as the company looks to move towards contactless payments, and away from the ‘shackles’ of the £1 coin. This process takes place as Hollywood Bowl rebrands 11 Bowlplex sites, the latest of which is a £750,000 project in Portsmouth set in the centre of the glamorous Gunwharf Quays.

“The games areas for Hollywood Bowl are an integral part of the experience and whilst every new build has its own identity, there is always a desire to include amusements,” explained Will Etherington, amusements manager for Hollywood Bowl.

“Amusements account for 23 percent of the company revenue and often attracts customers from other leisure activities, encouraging future visits and extending dwell time.” With the new sites come additional pressures to maintain standards of the arcades across the board to continue the considerable revenue flow that it provides.

“HBG and our partners Bandai Namco and Gamestec ensure we have the latest machines and great game standards which in turn enables us to maintain a healthy mix of machine types and continue to see growth in video, skill and particularly redemption.”

The arcades complement the bowling and dining facilities of the bowling alleys and keeps customers inside for a greater amount of time.

Etherington acknowledged this saying: “HBG includes amusements in all its e-coms and marketing as we recognise this plays a large part in customer’s enjoyment of coming bowling as well as continuing the healthy competition from the lanes to the games area.”

He continued: “As our amusements are often the first and last thing customers will see they selfpromote provided the presentation and allure is right.”

As part of their growth the group have committed to opening two new sites a year with sites in Southampton and Derby opening earlier this year. These featured cashless payments for arcades, however Etherington explained that this is decided on a case by case basis.

The cashless payment method is an appealing proposition for Hollywood Bowl as Etherington explains: “It’s clear the challenge for all coin operated businesses is the change in payment preferences and how to apply smart payments to machine crediting.”

He elaborates: “Embed card is one option and one we’re keen to explore. The key benefits are that it enables us to sell amusements through our Contact Centre and online as well as rewarding customers with bonus credits, the more they spend. Add to this the flexibility of pricing and you’re no longer shackled to the £1 coin.”

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