Author Archives: Whitney Larson

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

4 Tips for Powerful Upselling

Here’s the thing: most people, including your staff, think of upselling as obnoxious salespeople convincing customers of things they don’t need. So while you’re thinking of upselling as one of the most effective ways to maximize revenue, they’re thinking of it as a dreadful task. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, upselling shouldn’t be this way. It should be a value-add to your customers’ life … that also happens to boost your club’s results.

Here are 4 ways you can use upselling to boost results across all areas of your club:

1. Be focused

Studies show the majority of guests appreciate upselling when it’s focused on their needs. Offering a VIP guest a complementing mixer to the bottle they ordered or another bottle they may be interested in shows the server is focused on and cares about their needs. It’s perceived by the guest as a premium, highly personalized level of service which enables them to stay longer, spend more, and come back often.

2. Be attentive

Paying attention to detail makes it easy to determine the best path to upsell a customer. Perhaps a guest’s behavior in line alludes he will spend a lot in your club – upsell him to a VIP table. Perhaps you can identify a guest has visited your club every week for the past month – offer a free VIP table and upsell him to bottle service. There are technology services available that track most of this information for individual guests, including number of visits, average spend, and favorite liquor types. A VIP guest will appreciate the attentiveness of a server saying, “I noticed you ordered a bottle of Belvedere last time you were here. May I start you out with that and another bottle of your choice?” Now you have his attention, have made him feel important, and have likely sold him on a second bottle.

3. Be educational

While all this sounds great, it can’t be done without your servers and other staff being educated on these steps. Train them to be a focused and attentive seller rather than just an order tracker. Teach them the right questions to ask to get the best responses. And above all, train them on any technology you use to access powerful guest information. The more they know, the better off your club will be.

4. Be rewarding

Servers and staff are likely to perform when they are incentivized for a job-well-done. What’s more, when you focus on the bigger picture of upselling based on customer needs vs. upselling based on a product you want to sell, you’ll see a bigger boost in staff morale, customer loyalty, and club revenue. The same technology platform referenced above can also track how much each server is upselling a customer. This allows you to make better decisions on how and when to reward staff as well as comment on specific moments to truly maximize results.

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

Putting the Fun Back in Your Club

Running a top-performing nightclub is a lot of work, and almost all operators and owners take the responsibility seriously. However, many take it a bit too seriously – so much so that the club’s atmosphere loses its luster. It’s critical for your club’s success to find a balance between serious operations and an enjoyable atmosphere.

The area we see most nightclubs get inundated is within the boring operations, such as guestlist management, inventory management, processes and procedures. It’s common for these areas to be stressful and overwhelming, but it shouldn’t take away from your club’s energy and vibe. Here are 3 ways to fix that:

1. Identify your identity

What do you want your club to be known for? What type of vibe do you want to portray? Once you discover this, engrain it in your day-to-day business and have it be the cornerstone of your operations. Your staff, partners, distributors and customers will all feel better connected to your existence and will be more likely to enjoy their time at your venue.

2. Streamline operations

There’s a lot of nitty-gritty work that needs to get done in daily operations, which is the core of unnecessary stress. Look for solutions that help streamline tedious operations – such as technology – so you can spend more time on bigger, more beneficial tasks. There are technology platforms available that handle guestlists, VIP bottle service reservations, customer relationship management, text-message marketing, point of sale, and even ID scanning, all from one central spot. This type of solution lets you and your team get out of the operations weeds and into more exciting and fun projects.

3. Communicate effectively

You can’t operate your club as a one-man team. You have to get people on board, from staff to customers. The best way to do this is through effective communication. Train all staff members and contractors on not only your new identity, but also your new operations. Make sure they understand your systems, especially if it involves new technology. The time it takes on the front-end drastically outweighs the lost time on the back-end if you don’t train them properly.

Get out of your stiff, overly serious phase and become the place employees want to work and customers want to go.

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

Optimizing Your Line

We’ve seen it time and again: large, inefficient lines curling outside club doors. The keyword here is inefficient. It’s great to have lines and give the impression you’re the hottest club around. It’s not so great to be so inefficient that you slow down the speed of the night, make guests no longer excited about being at your venue, and miss out on more drink transactions.

What many clubs fail to realize is it’s possible to optimize and monetize your lines –to make money even before guests walk through your doors. It’s all done through mobile point of sale (POS) systems.

There are numerous mobile POS products on the market that easily connect to smartphones and tablets. All you have to do is find a vendor who integrates with these products while still providing valuable insight to your club, such as guest details, club performance, and transaction details.

Once you do that, the rest is easy. Instead of having guests wait in line, talk with the bouncer, and then finally talk with the cashier, you can move this all into one process.

  1. The bouncer or cashier walks through the line with a mobile device that’s attached to a mobile POS system,
  2. They say “yay” or “nay” to whether a guest is going to get in, much like they currently do,
  3. And they collect cover charges right on the spot

Guests can pay either in cash or with a credit card, get a stamp or wristband, and walk on in while the person running the mobile POS continues on through the line. Your operations just got that much more streamlined, the speed of night just got that much faster, and your revenue just got increased. Not only that, but you now have valuable data that’s tied to your club’s overall performance.

4 Tips to Benefit from New Technology Solutions

We understand: technology can be overwhelming, especially while implementing a new technology system in your club. Not only do you have to make sure the system actually works for your needs, but you have to train all employees on how to use it. But don’t be intimidated by this.

The truth is, new technology doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it oftentimes allows you and your staff to focus more on your customers and less on back-end technological issues. Here are 4 tips to make an easy transition while switching to new technology.

  1. Find the right partner. There’s a lot of nightclub technology solutions out there, including point of sale, guestlist management, and inventory systems. The best thing you can do is find a company who will act as a true partner in making your club more profitable. They should fully understand your club’s operations and strategies to provide the best solution to your needs. Also consider using a system that has multiple solutions on one platform. Not only does this reduce the number of vendors you have to work with on a daily basis, but also better integrates data about your club’s performance.
  2. Understand what you want to get out of your new system. It’s critical to know what your goals and expectations are from a system. Without having these defined in the beginning, you have no idea how well the system is working. This step also helps to present and analyze data in the most meaningful way possible to your club.
  3. Hold a staff training meeting. Get all staff members together who will be interacting with the new software. Having everyone in one place makes it easy for you to introduce the system, show them how it works, and answer any questions they may have. It may also be beneficial to bring in the company with whom you’re partnering to clarify any points or walk through the system.
  4. Show continuous support. Support must come from the top. If you don’t believe in the system, why should your employees? Employees buy into new processes and are more likely to ask for any needed help when upper management shows a level of investment in the product. This ensures your club runs like a well-oiled machine and sees better results.

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