Category Archives: Marketing

The Value of Knowing Your Guests

Do you know who your guests are? The ones who frequent your venue, who spend a lot of money, and who would be considered “loyal?” Many venues think they do, but few have the full picture.

Recognizing your guests’ faces or even their names is just the start. Imagine knowing how many times they’ve been to your club, how many reservations they’ve made, how much money they’ve spent, and what their most popular drink purchases are. That’s valuable information, and that’s what’s going to propel you forward. And a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system that’s tied to your point of sale is just what’s going to get you there.

Here’s what you can uncover when you know your guests on a deeper level.

1. Better identify guests

We’ve been to venues where high-profile guests were stopped at the door by the bouncer and denied access, purely from the fact that the bouncer didn’t recognize that guest. This lack of communication and identification is a threat to your club. Not only did you not make money from that person that night, but that person is likely not excited to return to your venue again.

2. Upsell guests before they walk through your doors

Your CRM system helps you know who your guests are so you can identify them in line (especially when you have a mobile CRM system). You can tell from this system if a guest is a regular attendee for your bar crowd, which means you can offer to upsell them to bottle service right then and there. It’s always best to be as personal as possible when doing an upsell, so mention that you notice they come in often and think they would enjoy a bottle service experience. They’ll be more likely after this experience to continue to be a bottle service customer, become more loyal to your venue, and refer friends.

3. Provide personalized service

VIP guests don’t want to be treated like a number. They should be greeted at the door, walked to their table, offered their personal top-purchased liquors, and attended to by their favorite server. Having a CRM system in place helps track this information to give seamless VIP service from all staff members. What’s more is the CRM system enables you to provide personal touches to your regular bar crowd, too. After all, in the age of big data, people are used to being treated as an individual by companies more than ever before.

4. Improve marketing efforts

Because your CRM system 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, you’re able to send more targeted, personal and relevant messages to individual guests. This means you’re able to use filters to segment your customers into specific targeted audiences, which in turn means each audience gets messages that are 100% relevant to their habits. That’s powerful marketing, and that’s what continues to drive guests into your venue.

How to Get More from Your Promoters

Marketing is a critical component to your venue’s success. From basic promotions to grand events, your marketing and messaging is what lures guests in and keeps them coming back. Yet, marketing is the area that tends to get the least amount of strategic attention and oftentimes acts alone in a silo. And when a department is in a silo, your venue significantly suffers.

Most clubs look to promoters to act as their marketing personnel. They’re the ones who keep an eye on trends, create a loyal following, and bring new guests through the door. What most clubs don’t do is loop their promoters in with their overall business. You wouldn’t bring in a server and not train or integrate her into your operations, so why would you do this with your promoters? Here’s how to get them more involved and set them and yourself up for success.

1. Train them on your operations.

It’s important for your promoters to know how your business operates and how all staff members fit together to create a successful venue. This helps them understand how they fit into your club and what they need to do to further your success.

2. Inform them of your business goals.

Every marketing activity must align with your business goals. What’s the point of hosting an event if it’s not going to achieve your desired results? Your promoters are more easily able to identify marketing opportunities when they know your goals and vision. They know what trends match your vision, what performance acts align with your brand, and what messaging to use to get guests excited about coming to your venue. The more your promoters can talk about your club in the right away and create innovative marketing campaigns to propel you forward, the more you will see long-term success.

3. Provide them with the right tools.

Now that your promotes are ingrained in your business, they’re able to go out and bring the right people in on a consistent basis, build relationships to keep them coming back, and create top-of-the-line marketing campaigns. But what could help them excel even more is providing them with a system that allows them to make transactions right from a mobile device.

There are systems available that give all staff members – including promoters – a personal login to handle guest management and point of sale. Through this type of system, promoters can add guests to the guestlist, create a VIP reservation, or even sell a ticket to your event. It’s an easy solution for your promoters to sell in real-time and generate instant sales for your club.

4. Measure and reward.

Without tracking measures in place, it’s nearly impossible to truly understand how well your promoters are working for you. The same technology mentioned above can track the referrer of an individual customer, VIP reservation, or guestlist party. Once these customers are in the club, the technology can continue to track spending habits, such as product type and amount. This makes it easier for you to identify not only who’s bringing in the most traffic, but also who’s bringing in the best traffic. And when you know your promoters are doing a job-well-done, you’re able to incentivize and reward them accordingly to keep them performing and maximizing results.

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

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.

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