Author Archives: Whitney Larson

Creating the Best Party

People aren’t coming to your club for your $500 bottle of vodka or your $13 drink; they’re coming for your party. Without a great party, you don’t have an audience. And without an audience, you don’t generate revenue.

Here are the top 4 things you need to have nailed down in order to host the best party:

Know your audience

The people you are throwing the party for should define your business model. This means you need to know your customers inside and out. It’s not enough to have a basic understanding of only demographics. You need to discover their idea of a good party, the music they like to hear, the alcohol the like to drink, and even the servers they prefer. Do your research and work with a partner who can offer these valuable insights.

Get the word out

Once you’ve defined your audience you can start to spread the word. It’s much easier to market and promote your party when you know exactly whom you’re trying to reach. The best strategy is to always keep your customers informed while maintaining a clear and consistent message in all your efforts. Use a multi-channel strategy to get the word out, such as text-message marketing, printed collateral, email updates, and social media. Just using one channel – such as posting a billboard – will not do. Diversify your efforts, track returns, and adjust focus based on results.

Turn your party into revenue

When it comes to a good party, it’s the experience – not the deal – that keeps them coming. It’s critical to understand what your customers will pay in return for a good party. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short and maximize your revenue when at all possible. People understand and have been programmed to pay top dollar for major events. Take note, not advantage, of these opportunities if you seek long-term success.

Maintain the party

The idea is to always keep your guests coming back for more. Treat everyone like VIPs, from the bottle buyer to the general admission guest. Keep them entertained by constantly surprising them with special events. Focus on service levels and make them feel appreciated. Your guests will not only continually come back, but they’ll also tell everyone they know.

At the end of the day, revenue is a byproduct of the value of your party. Make sure you first and foremost throw a good party, then be constantly aware of your guests, surprise them from time to time, and treat them with the service they deserve to keep them coming back.

John Wickes is an advisor for BookBottles.

Guarantee Your Revenue with Pre-Sales

Imagine it’s hours before you open and your mind is at ease because you have thousands of dollars in pre-sold inventory. On top of that, your worries about cancelations are a thing of the past since your reservations aren’t simply guaranteed, but purchased in advance. This is not a dream; this is reality, and it’s easier than you think. Here’s what you need to do:

1.Know your inventory

From nightclubs to restaurants, there are events and inventory to be sold. All you have to do is simply quantify them and make them available to purchase in advance. Some examples include table reservations, cover charges, big-name performances, dining events, and social events. Think big picture about your venue and discover which inventory can be pre-purchased.

2. Get the word out

We live in the social media era, which means there are many inexpensive ways to drive awareness. Make your pre-sale message clear, attractive and exclusive, and be consistent across all media channels. Above all, make sure your customers get what you promised and what they purchased.

3.Define your goals

Do your research and understand your venue’s opportunities. Make sure your projected revenues are realistic, on budget, and achievable.

Every event or venue, regardless of size, benefits from the pre-sale of inventory. A goal of any business is to drive revenue and translate it to money in the bank. Go one step further and make it a guarantee!

John Wickes is an advisor for BookBottles.

Building Customer Loyalty

There are several forums online that raise an important question: how can nightclubs build customer loyalty? Unfortunately, many participants agree the best way is through loyalty cards and point systems. But here’s the thing: you’re not selling coffee; you’re selling luxury. And where luxury rules, point systems are out.

Your guests – especially your VIPs – have high expectations for the service and experience they receive at your venue. Because of this, they base their purchasing decisions more on emotion and desire than practical need. Points and other loyalty programs are practical. Not only that, but you’re treating your guest the same way they’re treated when they walk into a grocery store by asking them to flash their loyalty card.

The best way for nightclubs to build loyalty is by providing impeccable service. This means knowing your guests (again, especially your VIPs) by name, knowing which type of liquor they typically consume, knowing which servers they enjoy and which tables they prefer. It needs to be personal and it needs to be a luxurious experience for your customer. Great experiences means great memories, and great memories means more repeat visits.

Knowing your customers inside and out is easier said than done. The only way to truly understand the value of a guest is tying data back to your point of sale (POS) system. Fortunately, there are technology platforms available to nightclubs that capture rich data about your customers, including demographics, past liquor purchases, past reservations, number of visits, number of guests, and amount spent. This type of system connects with all areas of your club, including your POS system, and presents you with easy-to-read analytics about your customers, your club’s overall performance, and even server and promoter performance.

It’s this type of data that allows your club to offer the impeccable service your customers need. And that’s where the secret of customer loyalty lies.

Whitney Johnson is the global director of marketing for BookBottles. Contact her at

Capitalizing On Mobile Trends

There’s no doubt mobile is changing the way consumers and businesses operate and interact. Smartphones are now one of the most critical tools in our lives, and that likely won’t change anytime soon. With the release of the new iPhone 5, the new iOS 7 update, and the upcoming Android KitKat software, smartphones are only getting smarter. That means consumers are going to become more dependent on their smartphones in years to come.

Below are three of the biggest benefits consumers are seeing as a result of smarter smartphones, followed by how your nightclub can fulfill your customers’ mobile needs.

Trend: Better Internet Connectivity

Consumers are able to connect to the Internet at a faster rate than ever before, even without the use of wifi. This means your customers are continuously searching on the web to see what the hottest hangouts are, where the nearest clubs are, and where their friends are.

What’s your move?

  1. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile, either by auto-formatting it to fit on a mobile screen or by creating an entirely new mobile website.
  2. Include attention-getting promotions and clear calls to action at the top of your mobile website. Mobile users scan for the most important information. If you bury your promotions, they may never come across it.
  3. Get involved in mobile apps to communicate directly to your customers. You an either create your own native app, or partner with a technology platform that can manage customer relationships on your behalf.

Trend: Tighter social media integration

The boom of social media is becoming more prevalent with smartphones. Not only do popular social media channels have native apps for consumers to use, but they are also now more tightly integrated with the devices themselves. This means customers can post updates, pictures, and check into hot spots faster than ever before.

What’s your move?

  1. Create a business page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Foursquare (at the very least) and update your pages regularly with promotions, news, and points of interest.
  2. Allow consumers to digitally check into your venue on platforms such as Foursquare and Facebook places. These checkins show up in your customers’ feeds and can drive more traffic to your club.

Trend: Mobile commerce

Mobile commerce has grown 30 percent year-over-year and is expected to continue in years to come. Your customers are accustomed to paying for goods and services through mobile and have enjoyed the convenience of this channel.

What’s your move?

  1. Offer mobile payment. There are services available to your club that allow servers to complete VIP transactions at the table as well as collect cover charges at the door right from a mobile device.
  2. Integrate pre-payment options on your mobile website for customers who are making reservations online.
    Tie your mobile transactions into your club results. More information on that can be found here.

Mobile has gone beyond the realms of text-message marketing, though this channel is still important for your club’s success. Stay on top of mobile trends to ensure your club is interacting with your customers in meaningful ways.

Whitney Johnson is the global director of marketing for BookBottles. Contact her at

The Nightmare of Double-Booked Tables

Can you imagine the horror? Your VIP guest comes to your club just to find out his reservation wasn’t properly documented. Not only was it not documented, but the table he reserved is now full of other guests. You can’t seat him, he gets explicitly mad, leaves your venue with a bad taste in his mouth, and has his expected experience (maybe even a better experience) elsewhere.

We’ve seen this scenario time and again, and it always comes down to the same cause: poor processes and double-booked VIP tables. While we live in a socially-digital era, we’re still stuck in 1980s-style operations. Too many clubs operate with pen and paper to manage table reservations. Some have graduated onto email as their medium of choice, but this still results in errors.

It’s nearly impossible to keep track of reservations using these old school processes. Reservations are coming in from different sources, tables are over promised, and what ends up getting marked down isn’t true to what’s actually going to happen that night.

The best way to keep track of reservations to mitigate double-booked tables is through a central technology platform to which everyone has access. This means any of your employees or partners can:

  1. Log into the system with their personal username and password
  2. Add a guest reservation for a specific night
  3. Identify remaining tables for the night and select the most appropriate one

Tables that are already reserved won’t show up in the system, which means they’re never double-booked. Not only that, but the person who refers a guest for a reservation (ex: a promoter) is the person who makes the reservation. They don’t need to email anybody to make it happen or jot it down on a piece of paper to hand to the hostess. It’s all streamlined and centralized to maximize efficiency and accuracy.

You can’t afford to have table hiccups. Your guests are too important and their spending habits are too critical for your bottom line. It’s time to let technology handle the back-end operations so you can be as efficient and profitable as possible.

​Whitney Johnson is the global director of marketing for BookBottles. Contact her at