Industry sector: Leisure

Pool hall: Customers

Traditionally, snooker and pool clubs attract a predominantly adult male clientele and you may decide that this is the market you will aim for. Government figures show that:

  • considerably more men than women play snooker, pool and billiards
  • of all the social classes, participation is highest - by a large margin - among students
  • it is most popular among 16-29 year olds

Targeting your customers

Once you have identified who your customers are likely to be, you need to decide how you are going to attract them to your club. Some ideas to consider are:

  • putting up posters in colleges and universities offering reduced membership and playing rates for students at certain times of the day - there might even be the opportunity to approach universities' pool and snooker clubs to see if they would consider using your club for regular sessions
  • advertising in newsletters that are targeted at students and other young people
  • advertising in your local newspaper, possibly including a voucher that entitles the holder to a couple of hours free playing time after they join
  • building relationships with other businesses that will let you advertise on their premises, such as taxi firms, leisure centres and so on
  • running competitions and exhibition days that will hopefully attract local, and possibly even national, press coverage
  • having your own website advertising your establishment - this is particularly important because your target age group now gets most of its information online

Corporate customers and functions

You may be aiming to hire out your club to corporate customers and to people who want to use it for a function. If so, your customers may include:

  • businesses that want to hire out a games room for a snooker or pool day
  • individuals that want to use your club for hosting an event. Depending on the layout of your club, you may have a separate bar area or function room which is not filled with snooker and pool tables that people can hire for birthdays, weddings and so on
  • event organisers that want to use your club to host a tournament

Cash or cheque

It is likely that you will have a mix of cash, cheque and credit/debit card transactions. If you operate as a members club, membership fees may be paid by cheque, particularly if reminders are sent out by post, table charges are likely to be predominantly cash, as will payments for food and drink (although you may decide to accept cards, particularly now that contactless and mobile phone payments are popular and widespread). If you run a snooker and pool shop payments are likely to be a mix of cash and cards, as well as cheques if you decide to accept them for shop purchases. Corporate customers are likely to pay you using either cash, cheque or a card.

Special offers and discounts

A well-thought out system of discounts and special offers can be an essential tool in marketing your club. For example, you may decide to:

  • charge a discounted rate for games outside the peak times
  • offer free membership to certain groups of people
  • offer discounted rates at all times to students and pensioners
  • run 'happy hours' in your bar at off-peak times (bearing in mind the restrictions on irresponsible alcoholic drink promotions)
  • offer 'meal-deals' at quieter times of the day and on less busy days of the week