Author Archives: Whitney Larson

3 Ways to Boost Your Marketing ROI

I get it: it’s hard to set aside your hard-earned money for marketing efforts. It seems like you’re blowing those dollars away and not knowing what you’re getting in return. But that’s the issue in and of itself; your marketing is seen as an expense instead of an investment.

Marketing used to be about blasting mass messages on channels that were expensive and nearly impossible to track. And in that case, marketing was an expense. But today, you can track nearly every marketing effort to understand what’s bringing in the most guests and the biggest spenders (both to your website and your venue). You’re able to easily see what you get in return of what you put in. This not only saves you from wasting your dollars, but helps to bring in more money than before. Even the smallest of budgets can see advantages from smart marketing.

To get your marketing numbers down to a science, you’ll need a few simple tools to help you track and analyze your efforts. What is your investment going toward? Which channels are and aren’t working for you? How do you replicate the efforts that work to get even a bigger return? You’ll be able to answer that and make sure you’re spending your money in the right places and getting the results you want.

1. Digital Referral Links

Using digital referral links is going to allow you to track all your online marketing efforts. Every channel and every staff member should have its own link to use in promotions. You can even create links for different types of posts on the same channel, including one link for your Facebook cover photo, another for an organic Facebook post, and another for a Facebook ad. As your links get used, you’ll be able to see which efforts (and which staff members) are garnering the results you want to see. We at Vēmos have referral links built into our system, so you’re able to track not only clicks on your link, but also if that click resulted in a purchase. After all, getting 1,000 impressions or clicks doesn’t mean much if it didn’t result in anyone taking the action you wanted. Now you can track both and truly understand which channels, staff, and efforts are driving the most traffic. You can then compare your cost to your return to understand your ROI.

2. Front of House Tools

Along with tracking digital efforts to drive guests through your door, it’s also important to track day-of results as well. There’s a combination of front of house tools that will allow to track every guest who walks through your door — who they are, what brought them in, what type of guest they are. It’s all important information to understand your night and to understand if your marketing played a hand at it. Use a system at your door that tracks guest list, reservation, and general admission arrival all in one. You can even set this up so you’re able to track which promotion or referrer brought a general walk-up guest. Then, over time, you’re able to compare your results to identify consistencies and become more predictable with your marketing investment.

3. Customer Database

It may not seem like a customer database is a tool needed to be successful in marketing, but it’s one of your biggest assets. Make sure all of your digital referral links and front of house tools are equipped to create an individual guest profile once that guest converts. After all, this is how you provide personalized marketing. Each guest should have a profile that shows their lifetime spend, average spend, lifetime number of check-ins, and whether they’ve checked in as a walk-up guest or a VIP guest. What tickets have they bought in the past? What are their favorite liquor types? All of this comes back to individualized data that you can use for targeted, trackable marketing. When you have this detailed of a customer database, you can use it to filter your guests into like-minded groups to send targeted messages specifically to them, tracking the open, click, and conversion rates along with that targeted message. Now you’re able to provide a complete circle of personalized service both online and in-person.

Once you have your marketing down to a science, start experimenting with your budget to get even more out of your marketing efforts. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your budget goes into channels you know work for you, and 20% is to experiment with new channels and new audiences. This is how you continually evolve your marketing efforts and turn it into a smart investment without being afraid of wasting your marketing dollars.

Top Tools to Help You Navigate the Personalization Shift

Your customers have gotten accustomed to the savviness of online businesses sending recommendations based on past habits and reminders based on timing. It’s personal. It’s experience-driven. And now they’re driving that change within nightlife. They expect personalized service, and are making decisions on where to go because of it.

Now it’s your turn to navigate this shift and provide the personalized experience they have come to expect. But how do you do it? The best thing you can do is find a system that encompasses all areas of your operations into one dashboard. This is what allows you to see transparent data across sections as well as get deep insight on all your guests. When you use separate tools for each area (ex: one system for reservations, another for tickets, another for gueslist, etc), you’re only getting a chunk of the picture. Data lives separately and you only see information on some of your guests, not all of them. And that makes all the difference when keeping up with this personalization shift.

Here are a few core tools you’ll need to set yourself up for success, followed by recommendations on how to get your staff to execute.

1. Guest Database

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. There are systems specifically for the nightlife industry that are built with your guest database at the core. Now, you can 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 and have it sync back to their profile in your database.

You can also capture this information during your night at your door using a digital ID Scanning system. That way, you’re able to safeguard your venue by having a tool to help check IDs as well as collect data on every customer that walks through your doors. 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. Segmented 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. Staff Execution

Your personalization shouldn’t stop at marketing. You can and should keep this experience going the second your customer gets to your door. That’s where staff execution comes into play. Remember, technology is a tool to help your staff raise the level of their service; it doesn’t replace your staff’s efforts. Make sure you train your staff on your system so everyone is using it correctly and know what cues to use to raise their level of personalization. Greet your guests by name when they arrive. If you see that a customer is a regular general admission customer 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 their first round of their favorite drink 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 come back more often.

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.With all of this at play, you’re able to spend smarter, target sharper, and create an unbelievable experience for every person walking through your door.

4 Reasons Data is Your Venue’s MVP

We talk a lot about mixology, music, lights and ambiance in this industry. After all, this is the recipe for your party. And while all of them are important to running your venue, there’s one component that stands out as the true MVP to your entire business’ success: data.

While your party is what brings people into your venue, your data is what allows you to build ongoing success. It’s what enables you to put on more successful parties, to continue driving the right people through your door, and to boost your revenue up based on that combination.

Here’s how you can turn the data that already exists to become your most valuable player.

1. Collect information about your guests

Today’s Reality: Nearly every nightclub and bar has an estimate of how many guests walked through their door on a given night. What they don’t know is who walked through their door. They get people in, serve them, and let them walk away without knowing anything about them.

Data’s Fix: Put tools in place to track what you’re already doing. Instead of checking IDs manually, use an ID Scanner to collect important guest information (hint: you can use this to drive loyalty). Turn your paper guestlist into a digital one to collect guest contact information along with data on what time they checked in, who they checked in with, what brought them there, and any promos they used. Use a system to collect insight on your general admission walk-ins, VIP reservations, and those who bought tickets to your event. Better yet – make sure all of these areas connect into one account so you get the whole picture in one dashboard. And when you connect this system to your POS, you’re able to unearth even more valuable information.

MVP Status: Now you have a database of all your guests, including their name, contact information, 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. This means you’re now able to better identify your guests, upsell them before they walk through your doors (hint: more $), and provide personalized service (so they spend more $).

2. Increase marketing results

Today’s Reality: Venues end up spending marketing dollars on mass marketing efforts (or sometimes no marketing at all), blasting vague messages to a broad range of people who may or may not be their customers. All because they don’t know who their customers are.

Data’s Fix: With the right system, you can have a complete buyer persona for all of your target customer segments, including demographic, geographic, and psychographic information. Use this to your advantage. As an example, you can segment your audience into a list of females who attend your venue on Friday nights and spend at least $100. You can then send a text message to this list with a message that’s 100% relevant to them. And that’s powerful marketing.

MVP Status: You’re no longer wasting marketing dollars on efforts that don’t convert. Instead, you’re able to drive your most loyal customers back into your venue with personal messaging, you’re able to establish a healthy mix of male and female customers, and you’re able to drive customers who haven’t visited in a while back through your doors. Better marketing results in better guests which results in bigger spending.

3. Improve Operations

Today’s Reality: Nightclubs go into each night without an accurate idea of what the night will hold. And when you don’t know how many guests will arrive for a night, it’s hard to plan and staff accordingly. VIP tables get double booked, the door gets bottlenecked, and staff aren’t communicating to solve the issues. Your guests notice this, and it hinders their experience before they even walk in your door.

Data’s Fix: Systems improve operations, provide metrics, and instill accountability. When you use a single system to sell tickets, manage VIP tables, manage your guest list, and handle general admission walk-ups, you’re able to know how many guests you can expect to arrive. This then helps you staff accordingly and plan out VIP tables. It also helps to streamline your door and optimize your lines.

MVP Status: Putting a bit of strategy and organization can help your speed of night, improve customer morale while waiting in line, and get people through your to start spending money inside your venue faster. Plus, when your door system ties to your guest database, your staff is able to treat each guest with respect and a more personalized service. This in turn means they’re more likely to enjoy themselves and want to stay (and spend more money while they’re there).

4. Know Your Business Results

Today’s Reality: Most venues don’t have the right data to get an accurate gage of how well their venue is performing. Without the right system in place to analyze this data, venues are operating blindly and wasting time and money on areas that may or may not be working.

Data’s Fix: When you use one system to track all areas, you have a clear understanding of exactly what’s happening in your venue without having to log into multiple data systems. Now, you can easily track:

  • How much money you made over a given time period
  • How many customers walked through your door over a given time period (and who they were)
  • How many table reservations you have over a given time period, and how much you earn on average
  • When your customers start buying tickets to your event
  • Which staff members are bringing in the most guests (and biggest spenders)

MVP Status: Venues we work with have seen an average uptick of 30% to their bottom line after switching to a system backed by data. That’s because they know exactly what’s working and what doesn’t, which allows them to spend their money more wisely. They also improved their operations to get their guests in the door faster to get to the bar more quickly, resulting in increased bar sales. When you have absolutely clarity on your venue’s performance, you can do even more to increase your success. Without data, you’re simply just guessing and could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

The New Normal in Customer Experience

Big brands in the restaurant and hospitality industry are jumping on what’s often known as the “Amazon model.” It’s the new normal, and it’s what your guests expect of every brand they interact with — including yours.

The Amazon model is where the brand becomes so good at anticipating and catering to customer desires that it forces other competitors to either evolve or dissolve. They know what a customer wants when the customer wants it, without the customer needing to think about it. It’s hyper-personal. It’s experience-driven. And it’s what drives your customers’ buying habits.

We at Vēmos have always believed this shift was inevitable for hospitality, and have been working with nightlife venues across the country to help them achieve this level of personalization. The venues we work with know this model isn’t limited to ecommerce, and they aren’t alone. It’s such an impactful model that McDonald’s recently shelled out $300 million for Dynamic Yield, a decision-logic company that essentially puts predictive abilities into McDonald’s drive-thru menus.


This is a big deal.

It’s a big deal for consumers. It’s a big deal for our industry. And it’s a big deal for you. We’re experiencing the biggest shift in what’s expected for hospitality experiences, and it’s important for your longevity to stay on top of this shift.

How McDonald’s is Using Tech to Fuel Customized Experiences

What started this acquisition was that McDonald’s identified they weren’t necessarily losing guests, they were seeing a drop in customer visits. They knew they needed to regain those visits, and the best way to do that is to take a page from online retailers. What online retailers have proven is that inspiring loyalty isn’t about programs and clubs. It simply comes down to catering to a specific individual’s needs. So that’s exactly what McDonald’s sought to bring into their stores.

According to QSR Magazine, “The new menuboards gives McDonald’s the chance to create a more personalized experience by varying outdoor digital drive-thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic, and trending menu items. It can instantly suggest and show additional products to a customer’s order based on their current selections.”

They tested the concept in select stores in March, and a mere 3 months later they discovered that it works. So much so that they’re beginning a mass rollout and expect it to be in 100% of US and Australia locations by the end of the year.


In those 3 months with the new menus in place, McDonald’s experienced:

  • An increase in the average check per customer
  • An increase in product upsales and menu item add-ons
  • A 6.5% increase in same-store sales – its best result in seven years
  • Consistency in providing customized experiences


  • But it wasn’t just the consumers’ experiences or their sales that were positively impacted. Their staff was as well. The order-taking process was proven to be more efficient because workers didn’t need to manually upsell guests – the tech did it for them. Their staff was faster at taking orders, faster at delivering orders, and it proved to serve as a consistent approach to customizing a guest’s experience.

    This model isn’t a passing fad. It’s now the backbone of customer service, and is becoming the expectation of your guests. We at Vēmos continue to build our system to ensure you’re equipped with the best insight to provide that personalized experience to your guests. Contact us to discover how you can leverage the data that already exists across your venue to achieve your own “Amazon model.”

    5 Things Your Event Needs in a Ticketing System

    Your event is important to the success of your night, and that goes well beyond just selling tickets. You have a bar to run, staff to manage, expenses to cover. Selling tickets is just the preliminary step to ensuring a successful turnout. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re ticketing system is setting your entire night up for success.

    Here are the top 5 things your ticketing system should allow you to do.


    1. Go Beyond Registration

    Most ticketing companies are simply a registration system. They allow people to buy a ticket for your event, and then their offerings end there. They don’t help you connect the dots of what brought your customer to buy a ticket, what time they arrived, what they bought once they got into your event, and how you can retarget that customer in the future.

    Instead, use a ticket system that goes beyond registration. This means following your customer’s journey before, during, and after they walk through your door, and having the tools at your disposal to also manage your event operations.



    2. Keep Customers on Your Site

    A customer comes to your website to buy a ticket. They click that “buy” button and are now redirected to the ticketing company’s website. You’ve now lost that customer’s browsing data, your brand is out of sight, and they’re now getting messages to register for competing events on your event page. Does this sound like the right experience to you?

    Stop redirecting your customers to a different company. Use a ticketing system that functions on your own website without their branding being present. That way, your customers will always feel like they’re purchasing directly from you, and you get to fully control the experience. After all, experience is the first step to creating loyalty.



    3. Connect Your Accounts

    You have more to manage for your event than selling tickets. You have inventory, staff, reservations, marketing systems, the list goes on. This means you’re managing separate tools and systems for each of these functions. Not only is that a hassle, but your’e duplicating your efforts while losing out on critical insight.

    We at Vēmos allow you to connect all your accounts together in one dashboard. It’s why we exist. So not only are you selling tickets to your event, but you can handle all other areas in this one system. Information flows seamlessly between your services automatically so you never have to re-enter or duplicate information in each account.



    4. Collect Money Right Away

    Most ticketing companies hold your money until after the event to cut you a check, which means your revenue is tied up while your expenses continue. Make sure your ticketing provider works with you and your bank account so payments go directly into your account as soon as a transaction is made. This way, you earn your revenue leading up to your event rather than making up for your expenses weeks after.



    5. Own Your Data

    When your guests are redirected to third-party sites, and when your event information lies in multiple accounts, you’re unable to track all your data points. In fact, you don’t actually own that data. Technically, the ticketing provider owns it and they’re going to use it to target your customers for competing events.

    Put the power back in your hands. Use a ticketing provider that’s not profiting off your customers, but instead exists to serve all aspects of your night to make you as successful as possible.

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