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Ardent Leisure AGM gives vague hints of reinvestment strategy for Dreamworld

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Ardent Leisure AGM gives vague hints of reinvestment strategy for Dreamworld

Dreamworld's parent company Ardent Leisure emphasised regaining the public's trust through park improvements and new attractions in an annual general meeting that was light on specifics despite considerable scrutiny from shareholders.

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I don't think Ardent can get anything right.  Small extract from an interview with Noel Ambler.  It seems everything Ardent does turns to slop.

Former Australian Bowling Association Noel Ambler said it was “disappointing” Ardent planned to close AMF centres.

“I’d like to make the point that some of those centres weren’t underperforming until Ardent started managing them,” he said.

I was stupidly dreaming that Dr Weiss could show real leadership but after watching the AGM he didn't cure any of my anxiety on where DW is heading.

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Ardent bought AMF in 2005, so the suggestion is that bowling has been in decline since then.

Of course, that would be completely unrelated to the proliferation of other kinds of entertainment, leisure, smart phones, gaming and the rest?

ETA: complete coincidence that Nintendo released Wii Bowling in 2006 also... ;)

Edited by AlexB

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Amf bowling may be in decline because Ardent are neglecting the centres which are in decline. Look at Mt Gravatt, Robina and other “prime” centres that seem to be doing great trade, but then look at “regional” centres like the old Kedron centre or the Redcliffe centre and you can see why people aren’t going to AMF anymore.

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The problem is bowling just isn’t as appealing as it used to be due to the influx alternate offerings. 

Outside of kids birthday parties and school holidays, the centres are dead. 

League bowling has been on the wane for many years, largely as AMF lane conditions and machining wasn’t well accepted by TBA and league groups - as AMF maintained lanes largely for leisure purposes, pushing away leaguers. 

Ardent didn’t seem to know who it wanted to focus on, and it left centres stuck in the abyss of not being able to cater for consistent income (leagues) in favour of leisure bookings which were sporadic. 

 

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I believe Noel is still a director of a few bowling centres. 

Townsville Tenpin and Fun Centre

Bundy Bowl & Leisure Centre

The common way to succeed in the bowling world, if you go by these centres is Dodgem cars.

Put in dodgem car in and they will come.

Serious now, it shows that people want more than a Bowling Centre and Noel’s centres offer even more than what Main Event currently does.

All this shows is Ardents tight ass way does not work.

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What this should all tell folks, inclusive of those at Ardent, is that the way forward is to just take the risk and invest appropriately on locations where people want to spend time at and they will come.

Suffice to say, this isn't at all rocket science - consumer tastes are evolving and entertainment & leisure is a booming industry right now - if major shopping centres all have quality, diverse multi-million dollar food & bev precincts, then simply not matching that product (which is now the standard) is why an entertainment business won't succeed today, and nothing else.

TLDR: Don't be cheap and look at your customers as dollar figures, people see it for it is. Spend the money, invest in your customers and they'll come.

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After years of seeing theme park industry observers questioning Ardent's ability to operate theme parks (a major component of Ariadne's argument for board representation), it was interesting on Monday to hear a bowling industry expert criticising that arm of the business too.

It's clear that Noel Ambler takes a traditionalist view of tenpin bowling; the business model he espouses is one that probably just can't compete when Strike Bowling and Ardent's own Kingpin capture the youth and corporate crowd. Certainly these two businesses are all the proof you need that bowling is a popular activity and a viable business.

The real question would be why haven't Ardent been remodelling the decrepit AMF chain and offering something more akin to Main Event that can compete with other modern family entertainment offerings people can choose -- everything from modern cinemas to escape rooms to trampoline centres like Bounce Inc. The answer is familiar of course... they're starving their Australian businesses and throwing everything at Main Event in the USA.

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AMF felt by increasing the amount of video game machines in their centres it would provide the added entertainment required to differentiate from the traditional bowling alleys of old, and appeal to the young generation. That and the investment in m9 laser, but again, outside of school holidays and parties, it has no real regular patronage 

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3 minutes ago, YaBoySlam said:

Maybe Ardent should create or invest in something like Timezone as for example in Surfers Paradise there is Bowling, laser tag and dodgems along with the arcade games, VR could also be added as I've seen VR stuff in Japanese arcades and they look insane

That's the solution. Not hard was it!

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9 minutes ago, YaBoySlam said:

Maybe Ardent should create or invest in something like Timezone as for example in Surfers Paradise there is Bowling, laser tag and dodgems along with the arcade games, VR could also be added as I've seen VR stuff in Japanese arcades and they look insane

 

5 minutes ago, pushbutton said:

That's the solution. Not hard was it!

Isn't that what Main Event is...

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33 minutes ago, pin142 said:

One thing I will totally agree with is Ardent are blaming lack of investment in their older run down looking centres as to why they have been closed. Heard people blame building ownership for why they haven't invested in the upkeep of facilities but if this was the case then other companies that rent buildings wouldn't spend money on upgrading the look of their properties. When you have a centre like Robina that is kept in top shape and somewhere like Richlands that looks ghetto as fuck you have to wonder what is going on in their heads to not have all locations at the same top level of presentation especially when they are owned by the same company.

Seems to be a common thing with Ardent to not invest then blame everything but the actual reason for a failing all while pumping stupid amounts of cash into their US operation. The really sad thing is I am sure the bowling centres in Australia over the past few years have had more spent capex wise than Dreamworld, the alleged jewel in their crown.

 

Dreamworld, the alleged jewel in their crown.
 

Dreamworld has now become the BASKET CASE in there crown SADLY 

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1 hour ago, pin142 said:

When you have a centre like Robina that is kept in top shape and somewhere like Richlands that looks ghetto as fuck you have to wonder what is going on in their heads to not have all locations at the same top level of presentation especially when they are owned by the same company.

Sounds like Woolworths...

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