I know you.
You’re lucky enough to have found the love of your life — and somehow, you’ve convinced her (/him) to love you back. For years and years, even!
You want to take them on the finest adventures. Symphonies. Speed boats. Friggin’ magic-carpet, whole-new-world kind of stuff.
But you’re also busy. When you’re not with them, you’re working (or, occasionally, sleeping.) You’re a hopeless romantic with hopelessly little time.
I know you, for you are me.
Delightful is a service built for couples to make date night easier. Delightful stealthily debuted into Beta at the end of 2013, launching as one of the first products out of OkCupid Labs (which itself is a part of IAC, the same company that owns Vimeo, Ask, Dictionary.com, CollegeHumor, UrbanSpoon, Tinder, and a zillion other mega brands that most people have no idea are related.)
This morning, the company is leaving Beta and launching their iOS app. Delightful is only available in SF at the moment, though some of the dates branch out to the East/South Bay Area.
You pick a date idea from their library, and Delightful gets everything ready. They’ll make the reservations, they’ll make sure everyone involved knows it’s a special night, and they’ll try to custom tailor the evening any way they can. (In one couple’s night out at the symphony, for example, Delightful made sure that glasses of champagne were waiting just outside of the theater at intermission so the couple didn’t have to wait in the drink line.) When you’re out on the town, you’ve got e-mail/phone/text access to an on-call concierge in case you need something in a pinch.
Alternatively, you can “Build A Date”. You punch in the details on when you’re free and what you’re up for (Dinner and Drinks? Something educational? Something artsy? All of the above?), any custom requests (Vegetarian-friendly restaurants only? Need a taxi pre-scheduled to arrive at your place?), and their “date concierge” will work out the details.
In some cases, Delightful is able to offer up discounts. Businesses see it as a way to get a regular stream of customers who will (at least theoretically) have a particularly good experience, so they might drop the price a bit. But discounts aren’t the focus, co-founder Brian Luerssen says. “This isn’t a Groupon,” he tells me. “We don’t want people to have to print out a voucher, or bring in a coupon. They’re on a date. We want to help them focus on that. We’ll make sure the place knows you’re coming.” When Delightful can’t get a discount, they can often get something thrown in — a couple glasses of wine, VIP entrance, or a behind-the-scenes tour — to sweeten the deal.
Some examples of the sort of dates currently on the site:
- Three-hour glassblowing class for two, plus complimentary flowers, for $180 (When I checked the glassblowing studio’s site, a pair of tickets was around $190)
- A reservation at San Francisco’s E&O, two movie tickets, and two glasses of champagne — currently free for members.
- Three-hour tour of a bunch of Oakland restaurants, complete with tour guide and food at each stop, for $150
- A pre-packed picnic basket, blanket and all, delivered to an SF park of your choice for $45.
- A tour for two of the Kink.com (heads up: that’s not a link because it’s waaaay NSFW) armory/porn studio, followed by a round of drinks, for $25 (Yelp says this tour for two usually costs $50, or $35 if you find a promo)
So how do they make money? At its core, Delightful is a subscription service. After the first 30 days, membership costs $12 a month — though around half of the dates seem to be available sans-membership, albeit at a slightly higher rate. They also make a bit of money from each date, though the margin varies from date to date. With the above pre-packed picnic, for example, the margins are pretty solid because they provide everything; with the restaurant dates, they take a smaller (or no) percentage.
“Dumb!”, someone shouts from the crowd. “Just plan your own dates, lazy!”
And they’re not wrong! At least, not in an ideal world.
But sometimes, people who spend 10 hours a day working want to have a nice date without sweating the details. Sometimes, couples who’ve been together for years and feel they’ve tapped out all of their fresh ideas (and all of Google’s results for “Fun things to do around San Francisco”) could use a hand coming up with something special. And sometimes, people are just plain uncreative. At $12 a month (about what you’d pay for the tip on a nice meal for two) with the added bonus of occasional discounts and “VIP” add-ons, the price isn’t crazy.
With that said, this certainly seems a bit tough to scale. They’ve got the OKCupid ties, so they’ve got a pretty massive audience to pitch these dates to. The more they succeed, though, the more “concierges” they’ll need, and the more businesses they’ll need to get on board — which, presumably, means a bigger sales team. And, of course, some will appreciate this concept more than others — perhaps more than the other person in a relationship. Does a special night become less special when you paid someone else to plan it?