Category Archives: Operations

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

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

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.

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.