Senior citizens bowling

How to increase your off-peak usage through concessions and fundraising

It’s the age-old challenge – how can we get our venue to be busier at off-peak times? It’s highly likely that any Tenpin Bowling venue – outside of city centre sites – will usually have available lanes between 18:00 Sunday to 17:00 Friday. This creates an opportunity for you to use concession offers and fundraising to generate both revenue and goodwill.

Our Centre Support Manager, Matt Barnwell, outlines some of the benefits of leveraging discounts and fundraising and how to use them to create marketing content and PR opportunities.

General Concessions Usage

Off-peak times provide you with a huge amount of flexibility to offer heavily discounted, or even free, rates on activities to concession groups. These include offers such as ‘carer plays for free’ or ‘OAP discounts with free tea & coffee’. But why would you want to offer your activities at a discount, or even free?

Remember, your site will have a base level of staff needed to open.  You are paying them whether you have customers or not, so as long as the discounted (or even free) activities don’t require you to bring in extra staff, operating those activities is effectively cost free. 

Benefits for the site are then fourfold:

  • On top of paying for their lane and games, these customers will almost certainly also spend on food and beverage, and perhaps gaming too.
  • These customers may be visiting you for the first time and will see that this is a good place for their birthday party, corporate event, or just a return visit with friends and family.
  • An empty venue is generally not a friendly place. Having the lanes and game machines in use means the venue looks slightly busier which helps it appear more welcoming to walk-in customers.
  • You can often generate good marketing material from these groups.  Local newspapers welcome positive stories to report on and this could generate free publicity for you.

Usually, you agree a fixed rate for concessionary users which is applicable at certain times. You then advertise directly to the users for which the concession is applicable, for example, special needs groups, assisted living venues and specialist schools.


Charities and good causes are often on the lookout for venues to host fundraising events. There are two main ways we can assist with this, one driven by the charity, one by the site.

  • Charity Driven. In this case, you would offer to the charity a fixed number of tickets for an off-peak evening. They could then sell them at whatever rate they wanted and keep the proceeds. Often, they will sell some, and give some away to volunteers, charity staff etc.  Either way, your site will be welcoming users, often – as mentioned before – new ones.
  • Site Driven. Here, in conjunction with a particular charity, you would run an evening event as a fundraiser, in which a percentage (up to 100%) of the activity revenue is donated to that charity. Importantly, there may potentially be tax benefits to doing this, as the business is directly making the donation.


The benefits to your business are the same as those listed for general concession usage however the PR element is hugely increased. Hosting or being the location for a fundraising event creates a story on which to hang press coverage – and the local press tend to be very interested in fundraising events for notable charities and good causes.

You can actively seek out charities and fundraisers by using web tools – for example Google Alerts – to identify organisations whose fundraising events are covered by local press.

Should you like any further advice on maximising your off-peak opportunities then get in touch: 

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