Author: Cassie Gasaway
What does archery have to do with Valentine’s Day? Everything! After all, the holiday’s mascot is a winged cherub wielding a bow and arrow.
A love-inspired archery event helps your community enjoy something fun, unique and memorable on Valentine’s Day. It’s genius marketing, and if they fall in love with archery, you might see them more than they see each other. But no need advertising that!
It’s not too late to host an arrow-flinging, laughter-inducing Valentine’s Day class, tournament or date night. Consider the options below, and read our experts’ tips for hosting successful events.
Invite couples to a sweet and simple holiday shoot with a prom-style Valentine’s Day décor. Nick Nobile creates events and programs for B&B Archery in Middletown, New York, and said details bring holiday events to life. He recommends heart-shaped targets, red or pink lightbulbs, love songs played repeatedly, and fruit punch or pink lemonade for drinks. You can also decorate your shop with candy hearts or chocolates, and give each couple chocolates to take home. As with any introductory event, keep things fun, safe and casual. To learn how to teach an enjoyable archery class, click here.
Offer a catered dinner with a romantic table setting. Photo Credit: Architecture and Design
2. Dinner Date Night
Offer the complete package with food and entertainment. Consider partnering with another business to cater your event. Before promoting the event, agree on the details, including the date and time, decorations, the number of people to host, and which staff members will help. Rent or borrow tables, and use tablecloths for a formal atmosphere. Factor in the cost of meals and decorations before setting the event’s price. Finally, market your event on your website and through social media.
3. Desserts and Wine
If you don’t want a formal dinner party, offer a class or party featuring cake, chocolates and sparkling juice. Or partner with a local winery. Start the event by explaining its instructions, and let participants shoot until they need a break. If you know how many couples registered, create a goodie bag for each pair. Check local, county and state laws before serving alcohol, and obtain the required licenses or certificates.
Brainstorm fun ways to get everyone involved. For example, hang a piñata at the end of the night, and give everyone one arrow. Tell them at least half the class must hit the target to get the contents inside.
Host an archery tournament over the holiday to give couples and singles something to do during the day. Offer a themed trophy like the one pictured, which has three hearts dangling inside it. Photo Credit: Archery Excellence (Top) and Melinda Hawley (Bottom)
Hosting a tournament on Valentine’s Day weekend is another great option. Melinda Hawley, co-owner of Archery Excellence by C.B.A. & You Inc. in Independence, Missouri, has held holiday-weekend tournaments since 2005 for the National Field Archery Association. She said it’s risky because you never know who will commit on a holiday, but Hawley usually generates a good turnout.
“Shops don’t typically host events on Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or the weekend before Thanksgiving or Christmas because they think people are busy,” Hawley said. “I’ve found people enjoy morning tournaments because they’re looking for something to do.”
As an incentive for her Valentine’s Day tournament, Hawley gives couples a discount if they register together. She uses the slogan, “Bring your sweetheart or your bow, whichever one you love more,” to promote her event with humor. She also gives heart-shaped trophies to winners. She hopes to add a couples category, so husbands and wives, and boyfriends and girlfriends can compete as a team against other couples.
5. Anti-Valentine’s Day
Don’t forget about your single or anti-Valentine’s Day crew. Make your business inclusive and welcoming to everyone, no matter their relationships or feelings toward the romantic holiday. Instead of decorating with mushy-gushy items, pick a theme like “Love Stinks,” “Cupid is Stupid,” “R.I.P Valentine’s Day,” or “Say No to Love, Say Yes to Chocolate.” Decorate accordingly. Think grumpy cat, sleeping Cupid, or slashed or broken hearts. Play songs like “Love Stinks” by The J. Geils Band or “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. You could also hang heart-shaped balloons and let customers shoot one to join the “Heart Breakers” club.
Have themed targets or balloons for the archers to pop. Photo credit: NFAA
Nobile’s Top Three Tips
— Offer user-friendly equipment like low-poundage bows that are easy and fun to shoot.
— Create a fun atmosphere by breaking balloons, giving away prizes, and setting up friendly competitions.
— Make it affordable.
Top Tips and a Bonus
— Schedule enough staff to help monitor the crowd, and enforce safety rules.
— Ensure you have enough room so people can sit, stand and easily park their vehicle.
— Be friendly, flexible and willing to adapt your event to please your customers. It’s an easy way to make them feel appreciated and welcome to return.
— Bonus tip: Relationships matter. Celebrate love by congratulating each couple for being together and finding something special to share.
Nobile and Hawley said these events inspire customers to bring their significant others, which expands your customer base. To encourage their return, give coupons for product discounts or a couples lesson.
Questions? Please contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail-programs manager, at (502) 640-0944, or firstname.lastname@example.org.