Bowlmor is much more than a typical bowling alley when it comes to high-impact corporate group events. With 12 locations across the U.S., the multi-purpose venues offer meeting planners a complete package combining flexible meeting space, F&B and live entertainment for all budgets. We spoke with Shannon Corley, vp of sales, to learn more how the company works with groups in New York, Florida, California and Maryland.
Prevue: What are some examples of past events where people did something unique and creative?
Shannon Corley: There have been celebrity events like the CSI holiday party, pro athlete fan parties, the Gossip Girl cast party, Broadway cast events and corporate meetings. An ad agency did a holiday event that brought a lot of entertainment like karaoke, live bands, stage, photo booth, etc. We can do a lot of that in-house and outsource if we don’t it.
Can groups do buyouts?
Absolutely! There’s possibility for buyouts at every location. In New York, the buyouts would range from 1,000 to 2,000 people. Miami and locations out west would be 500-900 guests.
Are the venues equipped with A/V?
Yes. All the locations have 12-foot flat screens across every two lanes. They all have the ability of playing iTunes playlists and movies. They can connect laptop, slideshow, company logo, personal photos, etc… and we can customize it for them. A lot of groups put the logo on every other TV and then the others they would put a sports game in between. There’s also a DJ booth in all properties, and in the restaurants they have large screens as well. That way, if there’s a meeting in there they can look at the flat screens and then go bowling after.
Can you tell us about food?
It ranges from casual finger food favorites such as Irish nachos to Jalapeño poppers, healthy choices like hummus and pulled pork sliders to more impressive dinner items like steak, pastas and fish entrees. There are several full-course menus for all budgets, and there are also party platters to pick and choose from. If you have an idea, tell us what it is and we can make it happen!
Can you describe the overall ambiance at Bowlmor?
The new Bowlmor in Midtown is 90,000 square feet. There are 17 bowling rooms with event spaces besides bowling, including Stadium Grill Restaurant and a Coney Island themed boardwalk with games and other activities. The Carnival Room in Midtown fits about 250 people. One third of the room is arcade and boardwalk-style games to win prizes. There’s also a reception space in that room as well, with a stage, downpour and DJ space. We’ve put two to four lane downpours in the middle of a full buyout for karaoke, dancing, etc.
Do you offer any specific teambuilding options?
It all depends on what the event is. They can rent out a room or whole tier and have dinner and do bowling after. There are little tournaments we can do and we can craft bowling bingo or sports trivia games that can occur during the game. Even if you bowl your worst game ever, you can win a gift certificate prize to come back and practice more.
Each lane gets a bingo card and on that card there are different boxes that might say “7,” “strike” or “gutter ball”…. Whoever crosses off the entire bingo card for that group wins a prize.
In terms of corporate groups, what is the ROI? What does an event at Bowlmor accomplish in a business sense?
Fifty percent of business is referral or repeat. The general consensus from surveys says that they are treated to a VIP experience where they can share a comfortable space together. There’s an event host to manage/work the whole thing for them, so that way they don’t have to worry about a thing—we run the show!
The thing that is different is that they can mix and mingle casually with colleagues and friends in a space that is together. It’s not as if they are in different areas doing different activities with the same few people. In this environment, they are forced to meet the goal of bonding and mingle with different groups of people that they may not know.
You don’t have to be good at bowling—it’s fun no matter what! When they go back to the office there is a new sense of energy and excitement. It changes the whole atmosphere for the group.