Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Strike Up the Parties: Corporate Holiday Events Boost Entertainment Venues

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Strike Up the Parties: Corporate Holiday Events Boost Entertainment Venues

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - For some companies, the corporate holiday party involves standing around in the conference room, drinking soda and eating butter cookies. But many organizations are taking their celebrations to a whole new level, and entertainment venues are reaping the benefits.

Norman's HeyDay Entertainment once had 10 to 15 corporate holiday parties annually, but its expansion from 14,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet has led to an increase in business events. The renovated HeyDay has been open only since October. Co-owner Brad Little said the company has hosted 46 seasonal parties this year, and still has some planned into January.

The expansion allows the venue to host multiple groups without having to shut down for one company. For example, on Friday evening a company rented the entire second floor, but customers could still bowl downstairs or play arcade games and laser tag. Little said he and co-owner Trey Bates didn't even spend that much on advertising, yet have still attracted holiday parties. He credits social media and HeyDay's location on Interstate 35 for helping drive business.

"We honestly didn't do a great job on marketing, and if we had, we would have regretted it," he said.

The venue's new addition included adding Boomerang Grille, which Little said has also attracted corporate customers. No longer are the food options limited to DoubleDave's Pizzaworks.

"That has taken us over the top with quality food," he said. "We have truly tried to make ourselves an adult destination. Our business model was to really make ourselves an adult place to have the best time. It's everything we hoped for, plus more."

In Oklahoma City, Wilshire Gun opened in September, approximately a month before HeyDay. Marketing Manager Jane Moran said the gun range started booking holiday events that month. Since Thanksgiving, Wilshire has hosted 28 parties, with multiple events on some days. It is also hosting team-building events and corporate meetings.

"We believed we would have a robust event business, so we're not shocked," she said. "We're pleasantly surprised."

She said Wilshire is seeing holiday events with male and female employees, including VI Marketing and Branding, which brought more women than men. …

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