KISSIMMEE – There are gangsters, ditzy molls, machine guns and rum running, and while Prohibition is the law of the land – this being the 1930s, after all – a Rum and Coke is still available, for the audience, anyway.
At Capone’s Dinner & Show, one of the plentiful number of dinner theaters in Central Florida, there’s a concerted effort going on to attract people who want to spend their trip here in one of Central Florida’s fastest-growing hospitality industries, the vacation home.
This morning, the dinner theater on U.S. 192 near Kissimmee hosted the monthly meeting of the Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, the trade group representing the rising number of business owners who market fully furnished homes to tourists and business travelers coming to this region. The homes typically appeal to larger families that want multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, private pool and game room, rather than a hotel room.
And the dinner theater was not only rolling out the carpet to the CFVRMA’s members, but also to its customers.
“We’re so happy to have you here,” said Bunny June Hinklemirth-Salvatorio, star of the dinner show. “It’s a great time. It’s all you can eat buffet, and it’s a wonderful show. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.”
More importantly, the theater is hoping the vacation home managers’ customers enjoy the show as well – if the property managers will help advertise their theater, said John Kucik, the president of Capone’s.
“We are rolling out a new program that can help vacation home managers make a little extra money,” he said.
Capone’s has cards available that describe the show and their menu, he noted. The vacation homes can get a customized display on the back of those cards, to be distributed to their guests. Those cards can be used for a discount on the next show, Kucik said.
“You can make $8 for every time one of those is cashed in,” he said.
Kucik also noted that Capone’s has a web site, http://www.alcapones.com, that attracts viewers, and as part of their effort to reach out to the vacation home industry, Capone’s is offering free Internet exposure for companies that sign on with its referral plan. The site include’s “Al’s Blog,” which offers “tourist tips” for upcoming events in the region.
Anyone who signs on, Kucik said, will get a writeup on Al’s Blog and “We’ll put a link to your vacation home company.”
That allows Capone’s web site readers find the vacation homes as well, he said.
“We are looking forward to doing business with all of you,” Kucik said, “and hope you give us a shot.”
Colin Young, president of the CFVRMA, said members like to get out and visit the region’s attractions so they feel confident recommending them to their guests. The members were hosted by the Orlando Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre in June, and got to see how hilarious that show is, Young said.
“The improv last month was a great night out, and anyone who didn’t go really missed out,” Young said.
Vacation homes have been one of the fastest growing industries across Central Florida in the past decade, particularly in Osceola County on U.S. 192 and in Northeast Polk County on U.S. 27. The association continues to attract new members, said Marilyn Pullen, who oversees the CFVRMA’s membership committee.
“I’m pleased to announce we have six new members who joined us this month,” she said.
The association is also gearing up for its annual Trade Show, said Jeff Chase, their marketing manager.
The trade show will be held on Nov. 17 at Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World. The show is being sponsored by Disney this year.
“If you want to sign up, sign up now,” Chase said. “We’re going to have some fantastic speakers then, some from the Disney Institute.”
To learn more about the association, log on to http://cfvrma.com, call 407-201-0120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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