Business Strategies: Appealing to Couples at Leisure Entertainment Facilities

January 30, 2012

Over the past few years, women’s interest and other lifestyle magazines have been publishing articles that urge married and unmarried couples alike to engage in activities other than restaurant dining and movie-going when out on a date. Owners and operators of leisure entertainment facilities can make their venues the site of such alternative “date night” and “date day” activities—and many already do.

Couples love exclusive events designed especially for them, so closing facilities to other guests and, in turn, kicking up the romance a notch is a very effective means of attracting this crowd, observed Anna McKean, promotions manager at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures in Provo, Utah. If a somewhat unique element can be added, all the better, she said. For example, the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, which is located on the campus of Brigham Young University, holds two annual “Survivor Date Night” events modeled after the popular “Survivor” television show and tied into current exhibits.  Participants separate into groups or tribes and undertake different challenges against other pairs for which they earn points upon successful completion. The three couples who accumulate the highest number of points win prizes. During one very well-attended “Survivor Date Night,” couples reconstructed pots, dug for shells, answered trivia questions, and engaged in other pursuits in line with the special exhibits.

This past January 20, the museum featured another variety of date night, entitled “Culture Me Mine.” Couples filled out and compared a “Get to Know Your Date” worksheet, played a game of “Couples Feud” (resembling the TV game show “Family Feud,”) and enjoyed a scavenger hunt through two exhibitions.

The Dallas Art Museum follows a similar strategy with its monthly “Late Night at the Dallas Museum of Art” offering, which is periodically promoted instead as “Date Night at the Dallas Museum of Art” and geared primarily towards couples. One evening included a variety of different activities, among them a one-hour dance lesson given by instructors from the local Arthur Murray Dance Studio, a romantic music “showcase” performance by a local singer-songwriter, a presentation by the author of a novel about a private journal of love notes, and a lecture by an art historian focusing on the relationship between the artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir and one of his models. Guests also had the opportunity to work with a photographer to create one-of-a-kind photographs of themselves and their dates outfitted in felt.

In a slightly different vein, on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, 2012, the Casper Museum Consortium in Casper, Wy. will host a multi-venue “Date Night At The Museum” event. For $50 per couple, guests will be treated to catered hors d’oeuvres and cocktails as they peruse the exhibits at the Science Zone, Tate Geological Museum, Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum and The Werner Wildlife Museum. The fee covers not only food and beverages, but also private shuttle bus transportation from facility to facility.

For its part, the National Aquarium touts two different types of “date night” events to appeal to couples. Regular “Date Night” offerings scheduled every few months give duos the opportunity to view the exhibits and indulge in hors d’oeuvres and cocktails one evening after hours. However, said Special Customer Liaison Jennifer Hamilton, the museum has also seen demand among couples for alternatives to traditional Valentine’s Day celebrations, which could be promoted by seemingly any type of leisure entertainment facility. On Tuesday, February 14, the aquarium commemorates Valentine’s Day with a three-hour event dubbed, “Love Under the Sea”. Instead of hors d’oeuvres, there will be a light buffet; entertainment by a live band will also be provided. Response to the offer has been positive despite the price of $95 per member couple and $130 per non-member couple.

But while specially targeted events clearly are very effective in appealing to couples, “deals” that attract “date night” or “date day” customers without excluding other guests can also work well, pointed out Butch Hogan, manager of Pastime Lanes in Hastings, Neb. He said Pastime Lanes attracts, depending on the night, almost as many or an equal number of couples as larger groups or individual visitors to its Tuesday evening “Buddy Bowling-Date Night”. During this weekly outing, guests can purchase two games for the price of one, four games for the price of two and six games for the price of three.

Bryant Lake Bowl, a combination bowling alley, theater, bar and restaurant in Minneapolis, Minn., draws couples with Cheap Date Night every Monday from 6 p.m. to midnight. A total of $28 per couple buys one round of bowling and dinner; the latter includes two entrees and either two beers apiece or a bottle of wine to share.

Finally, on Saturday nights this past summer, River View Miniature Golf Course in St. Charles, Ill., touted special couples pricing, $8 per round, all inclusive. The offer will likely be repeated in 2012, a spokesperson stated.


Coast to Coast Entertainment, LLC and Step Evolution LLC Offer ReRave Arcade

From the experienced game developers at Step Evolution LLC comes ReRave. ReRave is already a hit on Apple iOS devices like the iPad and iPhone. This new arcade version, a collaborative effort between Step Evolution and Coast to Coast Entertainment, is quickly becoming a worldwide hit, just like the iOS version.

ReRave combines music rhythm, as well as physical dexterity and accuracy to create an innovative gaming experience that is both fun and challenging for all ages and skill levels. ReRave gameplay breaks the barrier of old-fashioned scrolling and matching symbol play typically found in music rhythm games with its unique, fun and revolutionary game movements. ReRave is the first music interaction and reaction-based arcade game to feature a huge 46” multi-player, color touchscreen monitor in a internet-enabled cabinet, combined with a real-time global interactive player ranking network with frequent music and software updates.

Improved Gold Medal Popper Safety Feature Also Saves Money

The revolutionary Auto Shutoff feature that changed small poppers is now available in Gold Medal kits for up to a 14-ounce kettle size, including the durable, workhorses Citation and Pop-A-Lot Poppers. (It is standard on the #2656 Ultra 60 Special, #1866 Ultra P-60, and the #2552LS PopMaxx Value Line Popper.) Operators can rest assured knowing their machine will automatically turn off after 15 minutes of idle time, and it re-sets each time a batch of fresh corn is popped.

Additional benefits of the Auto Shutoff kits include:

  • Reduced Energy Costs: Eliminates wasted electricity during idle times to cut down on energy bills.
  • Extended Kettle Life: Reduced heat and wear on the kettle extends the life of the heating element.
  • Simple to Operate: A blinking light indicates the kettle has been turned off. Then, operators can quickly re-heat the popper whenever necessary.
  • No Experience Necessary: The kits are easy to install.

Contact Gold Medal by phone or online to learn more about these products and available kit sizes. The complete catalog is available free both online and in print.

IAAPA Chairman Congratulates BALPPA on 75th Birthday

The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) celebrated its 75th birthday recently, and Roland Mack, managing partner of Europa-Park and IAAPA Chairman, congratulated the association on behalf of IAAPA. Mack pointed out the important role BALPPA had in the development of IAAPA Europe.

“BALPPA is an important partner of IAAPA Europe. I have always stressed the importance of strong regional organizations and BALPPA is an excellent example for that,” he said. Further, he said that the associations will continue working together closely to support the amusement industry and to agree on initiatives like safety standards and governmental relations.

The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions was established in 1936. It represents 300 visitor attractions and associated businesses such as Blackpool Pleasure beach, The EDF Energy London Eye, Alton Towers and the London Zoo.

IAAPA is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the amusement industry. It represents more than 4,500 facility, supplier and individual members from more than 90 countries, including more than 1,000 theme parks.

Universal Orlando Resort to Hire Hundreds

Universal Orlando Resort is now hiring hundreds of new full-time and part-time performers to help bring to life “Universal’s Superstar Parade” – an all-new daily parade featuring larger-than-life floats, state-of-the-art technology and high-energy performances – coming to Universal Studios Florida this spring. Opportunities are now available for a multitude of full-time, benefits-eligible roles, including talented performers such as skilled dancers, drummers, stilt walkers and animated character performers of all heights.

Universal Orlando Resort to Offer More New Entertainment Experiences Across the Entire Destination than During Any Other Year in its History

In 2012, Universal Orlando Resort will debut many new experiences for guests. Planned is a new Blue Man Group show, new animation and effects in The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, the Universal Superstar Parade and memorable moments from Universal Pictures most powerful and beloved films during the nighttime show Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories.  And coming this summer, families will laugh together as they are transformed into minions for an incredible adventure inside the new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction.

“We are about to offer our guests a historic range of incredible new entertainment experiences,” said Alice Norsworthy, executive vice president of Marketing and Sales for Universal Orlando Resort.  “This year will be filled with excitement and entertainment for the entire family.”

Hersheypark’s Fountains Benefit Worthy Causes

Hersheypark hosts millions of visitors every year, many of whom take a moment to make a wish and drop a coin or two into one of the park’s fountains. These coins are collected and used to help sick children and their families, who have plenty of wishes of their own.

At the end of 2011, the coins from the park’s fountains were gathered, and that money, along with a portion of the admission to Hershey Sweet Lights, A Holiday Drive-Thru Spectacular, was donated to Children’s Miracle Network.

On January 12, on behalf of its guests, Hersheypark issued a check in the amount of $14,345.90 to Children’s Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The donation will be used to support the hospital’s pediatric services.

Children’s Miracle Network is an international non-profit organization that has affiliations with 170 children’s hospitals. Children’s Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital serves the Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York region. The mission of Children’s Miracle Network is to raise funds for children’s services and create community awareness of children’s issues.

Earth Quest Laser Tag Arena Opens in Quebec

Cache-a-‘leau recently collaborated with Creative Works to open an Earth Quest laser tag arena, which resembles the scenery from the hit movie “Avatar.”  This entertainment facility in Boucherville, Quebec, specializes in providing the entire family a place to come and have fun.

The facility also offers climbing walls, trampolines, soft play structures, party rooms and a snack bar.  Owner Claudia Morlot wanted a new attraction that would provide a high level of interaction, while accommodating many guests at once. The new, 2,400-square-foot laser tag arena has enough space for up to 20 people to play at a time. The Earth Quest theme creates a lush landscape throughout the entire two-story arena.  Bright plants and insects creep up through the tops of the maze walls, and giant trees stretch up toward the ceiling, acting as both visual elements and geographic landmarks.

Everyone at the facility has been very pleased with the response from the guests so far.  “It’s working very well and we are getting lots and lots of comments on how great it looks,” Morlot said.


Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine and Foundations Entertainment University, through their leading roles in the industry, have joined together to recognize the many hard-working and talented individuals who have taken their centers from good to great, raising the bar for our industry. Please follow this link to cast your votes today on the official Entertainment Excellence Award Ballot.

(You may also print out the BALLOT HERE and fax your submission)

In order to recognize entertainment center excellence, here are the nominees once again:

Best Bowling Anchored Center

  • Jupiter Bowl, Park City, Utah
  • Shenaniganz, Rock Wall, Texas
  • Emagine Star Lanes, Royal Oak, Mich.
  • Star Lanes, Newport, Ky.

Best Family Entertainment Center, Indoor

  • Funplex, East Hanover, N.J.
  • Triple Play Family Fun Park, Hayden, Idaho
  • Provo Beach Resort, Provo, Utah
  • Fun Spot, Grand Country Square, Branson, Mo.

Best Family Entertainment Center, Outdoor/Indoor

  • Treetop Family Adventure, Birmingham, Ala.
  • Fun Spot, Orlando, Fla.
  • Frankies Fun Park, Columbia, N.C.
  • Boomers, Irvine, Calif.

Best Roller Skating Center

  • Scottie’s Fun Spot, Quincy, Ill.
  • Skate N’ Fun Zone, Manassas, Va.
  • Classic Fun Center, Sandy, Utah
  • Northridge Skateland, Northridge, Calif.

Best Laser Tag Center

  • Laser Blaze, Louisville, Ky.
  • The Web, West Chester, Ohio
  • Laserdome, Lancaster, Pa.
  • Laser Tag & Games, Metairie, La.

Best Games Zone, Arcade

  • Big Al’s, Beaverton, Ore.
  • Mohegan Sun Casino Cyber Quest, Uncasville, Conn.
  • The Clubhouse at Hackers, Statesboro, Ga.
  • Boomer’s, Dania Beach, Fla.

Best Birthday Parties

  • TreePaad Family Fun Center, Malta, N.Y.
  • Fun Expedition/Ashville’s Fun Depot
  • Freedom Station Family Fun Center
  • Heros, Toledo, Ohio

Best FEC Website

  • Family Fun Center and Bullwinkles
  • Boomers, (Chain)
  • Fiesta Village, Colton, Calif.
  • The Children’s Museum of Denver, Denver, Colo.

Best Facility Maintenance Program

  • Paradise Park, Lee’s Summit, Mo., 10 years old
  • TreePaad Family Fun Center, Malta, N.Y.
  • Bowlera, Caguas, Puerto Rico
  • Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Waterpark, West Berlin, N.J.

Best Facility Food Operation

  • Bowlera, Caguas, Puerto Rico
  • The Clubhouse at Hackers, Statesboro, Ga.
  • San Antonio’s Incredible Pizza Company, San Antonio, Texas
  • Boomers! Dania Beach and Greater Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Best Redemption Prize Center

  • Enchanted Castle, Lombard, Ill.
  • Blue Fusion, Marion, Ohio
  • Funhaven Entertainment Center
  • Fannie Farkles, Gatlinburg, Tenn.

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