Author Archives: Whitney Larson

Guestlists: The Most Powerful Pre-Entry Tool

There’s no denying the importance of guestlists. In today’s landscape, they’re a fully ingrained component of a nightclub’s daily operations. Not only do they help control the number of guests, but they also help ensure the right ratio and type of guests are coming through your door.

So if guestlists are such a critical aspect, why do we as an industry treat them as a basic task? Until recently, we hadn’t gotten to a point where guestlists can be used as critical data to propel stronger business decisions. And while technology has advanced to the point where a number of guestlist software applications have arisen, very few tie individual guest information back in a meaningful way. What’s worse is many clubs still operate with pen and paper, collecting little to no information while reducing the speed of the night.

Below are the benefits of integrating a more powerful guestlist system in your nightclub:

Collecting guest information

Most guestlists do the mere task of checking people in. Some provide information on guests; few handle cover charges through a point of sale system right on the spot. Using a guestlist system that does all of this not only increases efficiency, but also provides in-dept insight of your guests, such as demographics, frequency of visits, average group size, and total amount charged at the door.

Understanding guest habits

Going a step further from the previous point, a guestlist system that’s integrated with other technology in the club is able to collect an individual guest’s habits. What types of beverages do they order? How much do they spend once inside the club? Do they only come on big event nights; Friday nights; every weekend night? These answers help to narrow in on who your guests truly are and allow you to better market to them.

Upselling guests

With all the provided data, you’re able to make better, more educated decisions about individual guests. This means you’re able to more easily upsell your customers to come on nights they wouldn’t originally have intended, or to sell them on bottle service instead of simply attending. This is the type of activity that grows your club’s revenues while increasing customer experience – a win-win for all.

Tying Promoters Into Your Business Results

There’s no doubt promoters are a critical component to making the night a success. They’re charged with bringing the right people in on a consistent basis, building relationships with customers to keep them coming back, and marketing your major events. But how do you know if they’re excelling at these tasks?

Without tracking measures in place, it’s nearly impossible to truly understand how well your promoters are working for you. Sure, you can see the type of audience within your club on a given night and you can look at your point of sale (POS) system to get stats on sales. But there’s not a clear way to tie an individual customer’s attendance to a promoter’s work.

This is where integrated technology can play a huge role in determining not only the success of your club, but also the success of the moving parts within it. Today’s technology can track the referrer of an individual customer, VIP reservation, or guestlist party, making it easier to identify who’s bringing in the most traffic. Once these customers are in the club, the technology can continue to track spending habits such as product type and amount.

This type of referrer system only works if promoters are able to access the integrated technology. There’s technology out there that does this without breaching club security. Promoters are simply able to add a customer to the guestlist or VIP list for a given night from any device, and the system knows to automatically attach that promoter to that guest. It’s a seamless process the promoter, the club, and the analytics system.

Information about specific customers is clutch in understanding what is and isn’t working at your club. Information that ties back to each one of your promoters is even more valuable. This gives you more insight on which promoters are bringing in the most customers, the best customers, and even the most money. All of this allocates you to make better, more logical business decisions.

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

The Value Of Text-message Marketing For Nightclubs

There’s no doubt that mobile has taken over consumers’ lives. According to marketing industry experts:

  • 91% of adults have their mobile phone within arm’s reach 24/7
  • Brands using text to reach customers connect with 95% of all smartphone and non-smartphone users
  • 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of being delivered
  • 16% of smartphone users made a purchase because of a marketing message received on their phone

These statistics are important for you and your nightclub to understand. Mobile is where your customers are and using text-message marketing is the easiest way to reach them directly. And with the right customer relationship management (CRM) system, you can send more targeted, personal, and relevant messages to individual customers. Here’s how:

  1. Find a CRM system that tracks important customer activity, such as when they come to your club, how much they spend, what they drink, and how many people they bring with them.
  2. Use a text-messaging system – ideally one that’s connected to your CRM system – that uses filters to segment your customers into specific targeted audiences.
  3. Craft relevant messages for each audience, including specials, new menu items, secret drink menus, special music events, or any other promotion that will get users to keep coming back. Hint: use past user habits to craft specific and personal messages.
  4. Make sure you follow text-message marketing regulations, such as sending messages only to those that have opted-in or have personally provided their contact information, including a respond-to number, and having a clear way for users to unsubscribe.

The more specific you are when segmenting your audience, the stronger your text-message marketing will be. The below infographic by Mogreet shows the benefits:

Define your audience, segment accordingly, and send relevant messages through their most-used communication method. You’ll get a better response rate and more loyal customers.

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

The Power Of Data In Your Venue

The key to measuring the success of your club is by analyzing critical data. While many club owners agree with this statement, few have the necessary time and resources to comb through data points and make sense of it all. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a system in place that not only collects, but also reports the data you need in meaningful ways.

Most club owners look to their point of sale (POS) system to provide this data. While it’s true that most POS systems collect data, it’s oftentimes presented in convoluted ways. It’s nearly impossible to get a glimpse of your club’s employee performance, promoter performance, individual guest sales, or trending liquor sales. Sure, you can find all this information out, but it’ll take time – and a lot of it.

Here are 4 steps to quickly get the data you need to keep moving your club forward.

1. Identify your goals

You can’t fully understand the importance of data if you don’t have a goal to benchmark it against. A goal needs to be more than “we want to make more money” or “we want to sell more Vodka.” You need to define your subject, a tangible number to reach, and an allotted time to reach it. Then, and only then, are you able to truly measure the success of your club.

2. Know what information is crucial to your club.

There’s a lot of data that gets collected on a given night, and there’s a lot of different ways it can be reported. But just because it gets collected doesn’t mean it’s going to be worthwhile information. Define the areas that are the most critical for you to analyze and figure out what that information looks like. The more focused you are, the easier it’ll be to interpret.

3. Put a system in place

You need a way to measure results against your goal, which means you need to have a place where data is collected and analyzed. The best systems are fully integrated solutions that collect data from any area of your club and analyze and present it in one central spot. These systems are beneficial in a number of ways, because they:

  • Allow you to identify the audience you want to measure (servers, promoters, customers, overall club performance, or all of the above)
  • Collect data on any given area of your club
  • Provide insight on trending liquor sales, which helps with inventory planning
  • Report key information on individual guests – average spend, total spend, group size, favorite liquors, and top purchases – so you can better serve them
  • Presents the results you chose to identify in easy-to-read charts and graphs, which removes the manual labor of you combing through all the data

4. Optimize

Review the data that’s presented, benchmark it against your goal, and optimize your results to work in your favor. If something isn’t working – such as a certain type of liquor isn’t selling well or a promoter isn’t providing results – then fix the problem. The more you know, the more you can do.

​Whitney Larson is the president at Vēmos. Contact her at

Being In Control Of Vip Guests

VIPs are a crucial component of your business. They enhance your overall atmosphere and, more importantly, they spend more money. This is why they need to be treated with better, more customized service.

However, recent articles have shown that many employees equate better service to no rules. This should never be the case, and we will further emphasize the importance of Nightclub & Bar’s suggestion to have a VIP Code of Conduct for all employees to understand. And by all employees, we mean all employees. Don’t leave out those that don’t typically work with VIP customers – chances are your VIP guests will interact with nearly all levels of employees at one point or another.

Employees who don’t understand how to interact with VIP guests coupled with non-existent rules leads to serious danger for your club, including poor customer service, sub-par experiences and even litigation. Integrated technology can assist in ensuring this doesn’t happen by being in full control of your VIP experience. Here’s how:

  • A customer relationship management (CRM) system lets all employees know your clients on a deeper level than just their name. They can see their party size, favorite liquors, and past transactions to serve them with excellent and personal service.
  • A point of sale (POS) system that’s integrated with your CRM system can track what your VIP guests are drinking. This not only helps from an inventory standpoint, but also works to mitigate overconsumption and, in turn, legal fines. Servers have a better handle of what and how much is being consumed through the POS and CRM data.
  • Advanced ID scanning systems tracks risks associated with unlawful incidents. The system can provide past incident information to help make more educated decisions on who does and doesn’t get into your club and alert you of any crimes that do happen in your club. This can also be integrated with your CRM system to keep track of these incidents well after they happen to always keep your employees informed.

While it’s important to provide your VIP guests with the feeling that they’re better than the standard club-goer (they are VIPs after all), it’s even more imperative to stay true to your club rules and regulations. Train employees, staff accordingly, and use technology to your advantage.

​Whitney Larson is the president at Vēmos. Contact her at