Category Archives: Operations

Re-Engage Your Customers

How many customers do you have that attended your venue once or twice, but haven’t returned? Or how about customers that attended often in the past, but don’t frequent as much? Chances are you have a lot of these customers, whether you’re aware of it or not. Not everyone is going to be a regular guest, but there are ways for you to engage even your most sporadic guests so they come back more often.

Here’s how to know when it’s time to re-engage, and what do do about it.

1. Understand Their Habits

To be able to re-engage someone, you first need to understand how they engaged with you the begin with. Were they at your venue for an event? Did they book a table reservation to celebrate something? Were they on the guest list or a general admission guest? The best is if you can identify when they came in, what type of guest they were, and what was happening at your venue that night. You don’t have to be a savvy analyst to find this information. It’s just a matter of collecting and tracking that data so you can always reference back at it. And moving away from pen and paper and on to a system that helps you automate this is going to be your biggest asset.

2. Suggest Like-Minded Opportunities

Now that you know their past habits, you’re able to suggest similar ways for them to engage. Maybe they came to an event to see a certain artist, and you have a similar artist booked in the near future. Send them an exclusive invitation to the event before tickets are released to the mass public. This offers a sense of personalization and exclusiveness that’ll catch their attention while offering something you know they’ll likely be interested in. You can use this strategy for reservation guests and general admission guests as well. The trick is to not make the message seem like the same old night that’s always promoted, but instead framed to cater to their past experiences.

3. Make Personal Up-Sales

Another option is to offer a premium service to a guest that has become disengaged. Make this offer personal, and connect the dots as to why they’re receiving this message. Maybe they attended as a general admission guest 5 times throughout a couple months, and you noticed they spent over $100 at the bar each time. Send them a personal message offering a VIP table with a bottle of comped champagne, thanking them for being a great customer. Or maybe a guest attended several events in the past but hasn’t attended one in a while. You could offer that person their first round of drinks for the next event they attend. Again, it’s important to make these up-sells unique to their habits, and to understand the the cost of throwing in an incentive is worthwhile to get a valuable customer back in your door.

4. Provide the Experience

Lastly, it’s important to provide on the experience that you offered. You’re reaching out to disengaged customers to get them back in your venue, the last thing you need is for something to go wrong and for them to have a bad experience. That will just ensure they will likely never come back. If you up-sell a guest on a VIP table with a complimentary bottle of champagne, make sure your staff knows this customer is coming in so they can be greeted at the door and are served their bottle upon being seated. Going above and beyond with service after getting them come back will build loyalty stronger than before and allow you to keep them engaged for future nights.

Start tracking your guest habits and get access to insights to help you re-engage your customers and increase your revenue. Get set up now.

How to Provide Personal Experiences

In last week’s blog, we talked about promotions that drive millennials. Two of the biggest takeaways were 1) millennials prioritize experiences over anything else, and 2) they expect personalization.

The bad news is the nightlife industry is dwindling in they eyes of millennials — fewer and fewer people are going out to nightclubs. There’s several reasons why that is, as discussed in this article. But the good news is we in the service industry have the opportunity to not only provide amazing outing experiences, but to also make those experiences personal.

Here’s how you can provide personal experiences to your guests to attract and maintain their loyalty to your venue.

1. Capture Guest Information

A survey conducted by Accenture discovered that 85% of their participants are willing to provide their information to trusted retailers in exchange for targeted, personalized information. Use this to your advantage. Your customers are not only willing to give their information to you, but they’re conditioned to do so. This is especially true when pre-purchasing items online. Use guest list, ticketing, or reservation forms on your site so your guests not only begin to buy in advance (note: more guaranteed revenue), but also so that you can collect their information. You can also capture this information during your night at your door using a digital system. That way, you’re able to collect data on every type of customer that walks in your venue. And when you connect this to your point of sale system, you’re able to unearth even more valuable information. This means you have a database of all your guests, including their name, contact info, how many times they’ve been to your venue, whether they’re a VIP/guest list/event/general admission customer, how much money they’ve spent, and what their most popular drink purchases are.

2. Send Personal Marketing

With your database, you now have a complete buyer persona for all your target customer segments, including demographic, geographic, and psychographic information. This means you have the opportunity to get personal with your marketing. You can send a specific message catered to a specific group of people, such as sending a birthday text message to anyone celebrating a birthday this week and inviting them to celebrate with you. Or you can target customers who have attended a certain event in the past, and send them an exclusive invitation to an upcoming similar event before tickets are released to the public. Making your customers feel like you know what’s happening in their life, or like you understand their interests, is what makes your messages personal and powerful. They’ll feel like insiders and will naturally establish a deeper connecting with your venue. This also helps to make sure the time and money you’re spending on your marketing is spent wisely and giving you a return on investment.

3. Make Their Night Special

Your personalization shouldn’t stop at marketing. You can keep this experience going when they get to your venue as well. When you use a system, you take the guesswork out and are able to understand your customers at a deeper level. Say goodbye to paper guestlists, and start providing personalized serve at your door. Greet your guests when they arrive. If you see that a customer is a regular guest list cover who comes to your venue every week, upsell them to a VIP table and provide a complimentary bottle of champagne as a thank you. Or, offer them a round of drinks on the house at the bar. This costs you very little, but means a lot to them. It’s a simple gesture that’s perceived by the guest as a premium, highly personalized level of service. It shows that person how much they are valued and entices them to stay longer, spend more, bring more friends, and com back more often. This is how you organically build loyalty.

Treating guests like the individuals they are and catering your experience to their needs isn’t hard. All it takes is a system that captures all your information in one place, your staff to use that system so it automatically pulls necessary information on the guests walking through your door, and your ability to execute on providing that exclusive experience. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference to your guests and brings the biggest dollar to you.

Letting People In For Free Is Costing You Your Club and Reputation

How many times have you opened your rope and let guests in without paying a cover and without receiving contact information? After observing thousands of doors at nightclubs, I can say it’s safe to say you have. It’s common practice, but it’s also dangerous to your long-term business health.

When I ask the staff or management why they allow this, I often hear:

“He’s regular here.”

“He’s our friend.”

“If we don’t do this for them, they will never come back.”

“He spends a lot of money at the bar.”

“This is what you have to do in order to get people to come back every week.”

Could you imagine if other businesses, outside of nightlife, followed that same philosophy? I would never pay for clothes at my favorite store, my daily cup of coffee, my hair appointment, even most of my food from restaurants.

But nightlife is different from those industries, you say. I agree that the industry is different, and your guests have different experiences than they do in a retail environment. But you’re still a business. In fact, the lifespan of a nightclub is significantly smaller than any other business, with the average at just 18 months. When you open a nightclub, you have overhead, staff, liquor costs, and other hard costs just like any other business. And when you let people get things for free just because you feel like you have to, you’re decreasing the livelihood of your venue. How do you plan on letting your ‘regulars and friends’ in for free when you can no longer afford to stay open?

Letting people in for free does make them feel special. It also ensures that they will never be willing to pay full price in the future. They now expect discounts and expect to get things for free. And now they’re bringing their entourage with them and expect them to get the same free level of service. This is a major hit to your business from both a revenue and a brand perception standpoint.

I understand nightlife is in the hospitality category, and I’m a huge advocate of making people feel important when they go out. But there’s a better way to go about it.

Here are some tips on how to give your guests a great experience without losing the respect of your guests.

1. Give Free Entry for Information

Have your regulars that you want to let in without paying a cover register their information on a guestlist and have them arrive before a certain time. This way, they are trading their valuable contact information for free entry instead of you just opening the rope for them. Also, you are giving them an option if they want to arrive early and receive free cover or come later and pay a reduced cover. Arriving earlier means they will likely spend more money at the bar and make your place look busier when others arrive. This tradeoff still gives them free entry, but you get added value in return.

2. Limit Staff Comps

Make a process for identifying who should and shouldn’t be comped instead of allowing staff to make these decisions on the fly. Imagine if you owned a retail shop and allowed your staff to give away free clothes at their discretion? That would rarely, if never, happen. Same goes with nightlife. There’s no problem with having a staff guest list for free or reduced cover, but use a system. Make it mandatory that each staff has to enter their guest list in a system with their parties’ contact information. You can also limit the amount of comps that each staff member can give out on a whim. Now you can track how many comps are given out each night, when they arrive, and which staff members are bringing in the most people.

3. Buy the First Round

If you feel someone is important or you simply want to show your appreciation to a guest, buy them their first drink instead of comping their cover at the door. A drink will cost you a few cents, where cover costs you several dollars. This still makes them feel valued and appreciated, and will show them a impressive experience for them to come back with more of their friends. And it’s been shown that personalization and quality service trumps discounts and coupons to the millennial generation. A win-win for all.

4. Be Poised and Pulled Together

Having a digital guest list process at the door makes everything more pulled together. Your guests don’t have to wait outside for the staff member they know to come let them in. They don’t have to have awkward conversations with your door staff about how they were supposed to be on the list. You don’t have to guess whether or not they’re telling the truth that they do in fact know x person. Better yet, you don’t turn away a person that should be on the list and is a valued customer because a new door person is working, or their connection is off for the night. This leaves money on the table and severely hinders that guests’ experience, decreasing the chances of them coming back. A digital guest list process solves all these issues and can help you to provide a better, more personalized service.

When you let people in for free, you’re losing respect from your customers and are on the way to losing your business. The venues and promoters who have proper systems in place not only end up staying in business longer, but they also make their guests feel more connected and have an even better experience.

The Benefit of Nightclub Management Software

Running a successful venue isn’t easy. You have various departments in charge of different tasks, not to mention an array of staff members to account for. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay connected, both from a personnel and an operations standpoint. Fortunately, there are solutions available to help you streamline your operations to be a revenue-generating powerhouse.

So What’s Stopping You?

Despite the opportunity to become a powerhouse, many nightclub owners and managers respond to venue management systems with hesitation and fear – fear of the unknown, fear of change, and fear that technology will end up slowing down the speed of night. But after working with many nightclubs on switching them over to integrated digital solutions, I can assure you that technology has actually done the opposite of what they feared.

The key ingredient to venue or nightclub management software is that it has to be integrated into all areas of you club. We call this interconnectivity. Without everything connected together, your venue suffers.

Think about the different solutions you use in your venue. There are point of sale systems, reservation management software, event & ticketing software, employee scheduling programs, customer relationship management systems…the list goes on. But unless these technologies are programmed to connect to each other, the data and processes will ultimately be useless. Why bother with 5 different technologies if it’s going to add 5 different processes? That’s wasted time with duplicated effort, wasted time with manual data entry, and lost data between the systems.

What to Look For

Technology should not be complicated. In fact, it should be used as a tool to save time and money while enhancing customer experience.

The key ingredient to venue or nightclub management software is that it has to be integrated into all areas of your club. Look for a comprehensive venue management platform like Vēmos that automatically has integration functionality built within it. This is what allows you to manage, understand, and grow your business from a single dashboard.

Having one dashboard that houses reservation management, guest list management, general admission, events & ticketing, your CRM database, and all of your analytics is what allows you to streamline your operations and grow your business. You spend less time on the tedious process and more time focusing on bigger, more beneficial tasks.

Reap the Benefits

With a comprehensive venue management system like Vēmos, you become interconnected across operations, staff, and customers. This means you’re now experiencing the benefits of:

  • Accessing and managing all your information and departments in one dashboard
  • Getting your staff in the loop on one system for seamless communication
  • Getting to know your customers on a deeper level so you can better market to and serve them, which ultimately enhances their experience
  • Understanding which marketing activities work and don’t work to drive more customers and generate more revenue
  • Seeing in-depth analytics across all areas of your venue in one dashboard so you truly understand how you’re performing
  • Remove duplicate processes and duplicated information across multiple systems. Everything syncs together for efficient, effective results.

When you have multiple areas of your club, or even multiple clubs for that matter, you need a solution that combines everything into one central spot. This is what helps you to truly understand how your venue is performing and who your guests are, which allows you to make better decisions to make more money. Plus, the efficiency of having everything tied together saves you time. Save time, make money, all with a simple setup. That’s what digital can do for you.

Get Ready for Spring Break

Spring Break season is right around the corner, with students around the nation looking for an escape and a reason to let loose. Here’s how your venue can get ready for the influx of partiers and be seen as the go-to destination.

1. Start Promoting

Since spring break tends to pull in a lot of travelers, it’s important for them to easily find out about your venue or party. These aren’t regulars who already know you exist. They’re newcomers who are looking for the best way to spend their time. Get your event page up on your website. Start pre-selling cover, tickets, or VIP tables. Get staff and promoters involved to spread the word. Run digital marketing campaigns, including working with local travel and spring break event listing sites to get your event included — and make sure you use a trackable link for each unique digital campaign so you know what brings in traffic. People are starting to plan their spring break, so now’s the time to start building your hype.

2. Sell Drink Packages

Pre-sale inventory guarantees revenue. It also helps you gauge the number of guests you’ll have so you can staff and provide inventory accordingly. It’s common for venues to pre-sell tickets, cover charges, or VIP tables. Another great option is pre-selling drink packages. This helps to guarantee bar revenue, and also increases the perceived value for a guest pre-buying their ticket. This also reduces the need to slash prices on drinks as promotions to drive people into your venue. If you loop a drink package in with a pre-sale ticket, people are likely to upgrade to that ticket price and continue buying drinks beyond what’s included in the package.

3. Monitor your Ratios

It’s important to create the right balance between males and females in your venue. If your ratio is skewed toward too much of one gender, then people end up leaving. The sweet spot is a 60/40 ratio in favor of women. The best way to monitor this is by watching your pre-sale metrics and using a general admission system at the door to track the number of guys & girls that walk up. Systems like Vēmos aggregate all door entry data into real-time analytics, so you can always monitor how many guys and girls are in your venue at a given time and what your balance looks like to help you make better on-the-spot decisions.

4. Upsell to VIP

As ticket sales roll in and as guests start lining up at your door, identify the opportunities to upgrade a group to a VIP table. This strengthens their experience and increases their likelihood of spending even more at your venue. If your line is long, ask a group standing together if they’d like to skip the line and upgrade to a table. If you see a large group buy individual tickets, reach out and ask if they’d like to upgrade. Watching your trends will help you make these decisions to provide a great party and boost your bottom line.