A blast from the past – roller skating rinks are experiencing a major resurgence in popularity, likely due to the nostalgic factor and inclusion in many shows like Stranger Things, but also because people are more eager than ever eager to get out and experience fun activities in a social environment. Roller skating has always been an exciting and engaging pastime, and roller rinks are the perfect venues for skating enthusiasts looking to spend a few hours each week or month recapturing that sense of fun in a recreational and entertainment-focused space.

But, as with any business, there are always opportunities for improving sales and increasing foot traffic. Ultimately, what is it about your skating rink that makes it THE rink of choice within your city or town? Once you’ve got a solid answer in place, you’re ready to start making some simple and effective improvements. And fortunately, we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you!

We’ve put together a list of some creative, results-driven ideas you can implement in order to boost traffic at your roller-skating rink business:

1. Add a karaoke room

Karaoke room with a group of girls singing in Boom Battle Bar in Manchester.
Karaoke room in Boom Battle Bar, Manchester

If you want to add serious value to your roller skating rink business, look no further than a karaoke room. Karaoke, like roller skating, is a communal entertainment activity – one that encourages togetherness and light competition in an enclosed, judgment-free venue. Friends looking for a night on the town tend to favor outings that let them truly hang out. And including these two activities under one roof is a fantastic idea for growing revenue and carving out a wider customer base.

Just like booking skates and rink time in advance for your group of friends, karaoke operates in a similar way. Customers can select and reserve a private karaoke room for a set number of people and a pre-determined amount of time. They can have a great time engaging in competitive socializing and entertainment in a totally inclusive arena – and they can even include add-ons like drinks and snacks from the bar, too (more on that in idea #2).

Karaoke room with seating in disco lights in a roller skating rink venue.
Karaoke room in the VOX BOX, Hull

Best of all, by incorporating a dedicated area for karaoke fans in your roller-skating rink, you are opening your business up to an entirely new customer base. While most people will come specifically for the skating, others will come for karaoke – and each group is likely to try the other (and love it). Karaoke rooms are inexpensive and safe, and add seamless value without causing any major building disruptions to just about any business – especially businesses that specialize in social entertainment like roller-skating. You can get started easily with the a spare room, the right karaoke software, and the proper equipment.

Check out our guide on how to open a karaoke room in your venue.

2. Open a snack bar

If you haven't already considered the benefits of having a dedicated snack bar in your roller-skating rink, you should really give it another thought. Delicious food and drinks keep people engaged with your business – it creates an environment that is conducive to hanging out for longer. It might not be easy to go about getting a liquor license or permits for selling food but hang in there because, ultimately, it is one of the most surefire ways to bring more people into your business and keep them there, spending money, for greater periods of time.

Snack bar in a roller skating rink with a line of people waiting.

3. Incorporate an arcade area

Another great source of group activity that blends seamlessly with roller skating, an arcade can drum up significant additional revenue by bringing in extra foot traffic on typically slower nights. Not only is an interactive play area a practical move, but it’s also extremely timely as the once-retro arcade destination is considered a hot trend in entertainment venues, including sports arenas and movie theaters. Adding an arcade area to your roller rink – especially one that includes other types of competitive-style play, like video gaming consoles and sports-themed challenges – looks great from the outside. And even better from the inside.

Two-player basketball arcade game in a roller skating ring arcade.

4. Lessons, anyone?

It stands to reason: to ensure you get more visitors to your roller-skating rink, more people need to know how to roller-skate. That's where you can swoop in and make your space a kind of one-stop shop. If you've got any staff members qualified and available to teach – basic steps, or even some more advanced classes –– you can not only grow foot traffic and increase revenue but also endear your business to the neighborhood by fostering a sense of community. If the local roller-skating rink is helping kids and adults alike to learn a fun new skill on top of running a business, you're sure to find a dedicated and appreciative surge in audience attendance.

5. Host a roller derby event

Roller derby is a hugely popular niche sport that tends to draw people out of the woodwork. There's something about the brightly colored outfits, the maniacal personas, and the high-speed performance that truly riles up an audience. If you've got the space, why not advertise your business as a venue for local roller derby team tournaments? Chances are, there will already be an existing fan base in your rink's city or town –– have players check out your business and collectively determine whether weekly or monthly roller derby events can happen.

Girl skating in a roller derby event in a rented roller skating rink.

Or, if you're really ambitious, start completely from scratch: put out a call on your rink's social channels (you've got social channels, right?) letting your followers know that your business will be auditioning roller derby teams and hosting regular events. Bring in some qualified referees to keep track of penalties and ensure safety and go from there. Not only is a roller derby event a great way to bring together a community of skate enthusiasts, but it also opens a new revenue stream in the form of roller derby spectators people who may not be skaters themselves but would be willing to spend some money to watch people skate. It’s really a win-win situation.

6. Stretch it out and offer exercise classes

With fitness all the rage, why not use your massive arena for something a little more practical before the fun starts? During the day, maybe even before your venue has opened for business, consider using the space as a host for skate-themed fitness. Bring in a certified instructor and tailor classes around stretching and bending – the type of workouts from which serious skaters can seriously benefit. Make it fun, of course: start with a roller skate warm-up to break some sweat (think: a drill sergeant shouting ‘give me fifty laps!’, but on wheels), followed by some advanced HIIT to help skaters stay in shape. Or, maybe the mood is more mellow? Yoga, meditation, reflexology? The choice is yours!

There you have it! Some effective and highly engaging ideas to increase revenue and foot traffic into your roller-skating rink business. Given that competitive socializing venues continue to be a popular destination throughout the country, once you’ve incorporated one or a few of these practices, you can work towards significantly expanding your reach within the entertainment market while skating circles around the competition.