Category Archives: Sales

Bar Crowd vs. VIP Crowd: Which is Better?

I was recently in an online discussion with industry leaders about which business model is best for nightclubs: bottle service or bar service. It seems there’s not one simple answer to this question, and everyone has a different viewpoint. However, most resonated with the idea that it doesn’t have to be one over the other; that they’re both critical to the success of a venue.

I believe treating the two as exclusive parts of your venue hurts you more than it helps. Both bottle service and bar service are important aspects of your club’s performance. The bar crowd controls the atmosphere and ambiance of the venue, which attracts the bottle patrons who bring in the revenue. Having a strategy to blend the two together is what makes the biggest impact as a whole.

The most successful clubs are those that integrate both areas with a similar level of priority, and treat all customers – whether bar or bottle service customers – on a personal level. Not only do guests prefer to go to these venues, but they’re the ones that are advancing their business most rapidly. When everyone in your venue (including your bottle service staff, your security, and your bartenders) is focused on a level of personalized service based on that guest’s past habits, that’s when you truly win. That’s when you start building loyalty, organic word of mouth growth, a higher spend per person, and your next wave of bottle service customers all in one.

While it’s true your big spenders at the VIP tables deserve the ultimate personal service, your bar crowd deserves some personal touches, too. And in the age of big data, people are used to being treated as an individual by brands more than ever before.

So how could this work?

With the combination of an ID scanning system that’s tied to your POS system, you get insight on every guest that walks through your door. You’ve likely had this level of insight on your bottle service guests already with your reservation management system. Now it’s possible to tie it back to the general bar crowd.

Every guest needs to have their ID to drink, so it’s an easy thing for you to leverage. You scan their ID and notice it’s their 10th time coming in a month. Use that information to personally greet them and cover their first drink. If your ID scanner is tied to your POS, you also get insight on spending habits. Notice they spend a lot each time they come? Offer them a VIP table instead.

It’s the small details that make a person feel like you notice them, and that’s what makes the biggest difference. This is true regardless if they’re a bar customer or a VIP, it’s just that historically there hasn’t been enough information on the bar customer to provide them with that level of service. So even though it’s natural to want to pour your energy and resources into your VIP section, don’t forget about your bar crowd. They’re an important aspect of the entire atmosphere of your venue and, with the right tools, can be persuaded to spend even more.

Step Up Your Game in 2018

The end of the year is coming to a close, which means you’re most likely gearing up for your New Year’s Eve party. But in the midst of all this, it’s also the time to a assess your business and set your venue up for even more success in the coming year.

We’re at this critical juncture as an industry of keeping up with the demands of customers, the expectations of general consumers, and continuing with everyday business to keep things afloat. It’s a lot to manage, especially with the busy holiday season.

But in 2018, we as an industry can’t afford to keep pushing out implementing new practices. There have been articles for the past few years claiming nightlife is dying. I disagree. I believe society is evolving, and we’re not evolving with it. We aren’t dying; we’re falling behind.

Think about the experiences your customers have in every other industry. Retail, online entertainment, even coffee shops have all shifted to cater to individual needs based on timing and past habits. Retail stores send emails suggesting items you might like because of what you’ve bought in the past. Amazon reminds you of when you’re likely due to re-buy a household item. Netflix suggests a show you should watch based on what’s trending and what you’ve previously enjoyed. Starbucks knows once you get into the store what they should offer to up-sell you based on your tastes and budget. All of these industries start with tracking your behavior so they can later reach out on a very personal level to get you to spend even more. It’s personal. It’s data-driven. And that’s where we’re falling behind in the nightlife industry.

In 2018, it’s no longer about opening your doors and assuming people will walk in. It’s about guaranteeing people will walk in, and the right people at that. But just like very other industry, it starts with tracking your customers’ behavior. And I mean every customer, not just your VIPs.

Fortunately, tracking your guests is fairly simple with the right system. It shouldn’t add a ton of new processes to your staff, nor take up much more additional time to collect the data. The best solution is a system that has ID scanning, POS integration, and a CRM system at the core of its functionality. Solutions like Vēmos is built with these three at its core, combined with general admission, guest list, tickets, and reservation management features. The reason having the core is important is because you’re now able to track every guest who walks through your door, including their spending habits once inside.

Take this example: It’s Friday night, and it’s Lucy’s first time at your venue.

  • You scan Lucy’s ID with the system to verify legality, but because you’re using a system backed by a CRM system, you have now created her personal guest profile in your database.
  • Lucy then goes to check in with the general admission cashier to pay cover. You now know Lucy is a general admission guest who has paid $20 to get inside, bringing her lifetime value up to $20.
  • Lucy goes to the bar and orders a vodka tonic. The next time she orders a martini. Every time she places an order, it’s added to her guest profile because your system is integrated with your POS and is backed by a CRM system. Her lifetime value in her guest profile rises every time she orders.
  • Lucy comes back with 5 friends as a guest list customer the following Friday. You scan her ID to verify legality, and are notified that this is her second time at the venue and she’s worth $x. You notice she’s brought more people with her. You thank her for coming back and bringing more guests to your venue. This provides personalization and gives her that specialized treatment.

  • Now that you have Lucy’s profile and see that it’s building over time, you’re able to amplify her experience. Does she keep coming back every week as a GA or guest list guest? Upgrade her to a reservation and start her off with a bottle of champagne to thank her for her loyalty. Is there a new concert coming up that you think she’d like? Send her an email or text message to buy a ticket before the concert is unveiled to the rest of the public. Do you think there’s a craft cocktail she’d like better that would earn you more revenue? Promote it to her.

    Because you started with collecting and tracking behavior, you’re now able to later reach out with personal messages to get your guests to come more often and spend even more once they’re there. This is what is going to get you to level up to other experiences in other industries.

    It’s no longer sufficient to make assumptions on how your venue is performing and who your guests are. It’s also no longer sufficient to just focus on the data from one area of your business. It’s about taking a comprehensive approach that provides insight into all of your guests. After all, the more you know, the more you can do. And with a new year approaching, it’s time to garner even better results and higher revenue than the previous year.

    Get a head start on the biggest event of the year

    We recently published 7 tips to get a head start on the biggest event of the year. Now with it being right around the corner, it’s time to start elevating your New Year’s Eve party and thinking of ways to take it to the next level. While countdowns and confetti are always the norm, here are a few added elements we’re seeing in this year’s parties.

    1. Create Experiences with Unique Themes

    Theme-based events have been popular throughout 2017, and the trend isn’t stopping for New Year’s Eve. The succinct nature that comes with a theme is what provides structure to the experience you’re providing. It’s no longer just a glamorized party; it’s a way to truly commemorate 2017 and welcome in 2018. And when you have a theme that’s fully thought out, you’re able to provide your experience right at the start, from when your guest first learns of the event, to when they RSVP, all the way down to when they arrive. The more you can get into your theme, the more enticing your party will be. This year, I’ve seen themes range from a frosty affair, to a tropical cabana oasis, to mission impossible complete with a video invite. There’s no limit to what you can do, it’s a matter of playing to your guests’ interest and executing the experience.

    2. Enhance VIP Offerings by Focusing on Details

    People are more likely to splurge on a VIP experience for New Year’s Eve, which means you have to take care of them and execute above their standards and expectations. While VIP bottle service is the everyday for many nightclubs, your NYE VIP service needs to be a step higher. People expect to pay top-dollar to receive this premier customized service, and if your staff acts like it’s just another area of your party, your guests aren’t going to get the experience they expect or deserve. To take your VIP to the next level, make sure you’re focusing on all the right details that elevate their night. Greet them by their name when they arrive. Turn your tables into cabanas. Provide a free hookah. Add in a layer of live entertainment. Think of ways you can use your theme to add layers of value. After all, this is a great time to wow your guests and build loyalty for the coming year.

    3. Offer a Signature Cocktail

    A signature cocktail can go a long way in wracking up those bar sales without burdening your staff on the busiest night of the year. Plus, when done well with your theme, they get guests excited to try something new and festive to ring in the new year. Work with your theme or embrace seasonality as inspiration of a signature cocktail. Bonus points for not making it overcomplicated for your staff, yet still memorable for your guests.

    There are many directions you can go with your New Year’s Eve party. The most important thing is to make sure it lines up with the type of party your guests want to attend. From there, it’s all about optimizing your revenue is by getting a head start with planning, selling early bird pre-sale tickets to create demand, and making sure all of your offerings are succinct to set the stage for the experience you’re providing.

    Gearing Up for NYE 2018

    New Year’s Eve is the biggest event of the year, but it’s also the most competitive. A lot of venues start selling tier 1 tickets as early as late September, and sell out of those tier 1 tickets by end of October. That’s why it’s important to get a head start and get your event planned out so you can have a successful and profitable night.

    Follow these 7 tips to ensure a successful New Year’s Eve party.

    1. Publish Your Event Now

    You need an event page, and you need it to be launched now. This gives you time to market your event and attract customers so they can start making their plans around your party. It’s important to have a section of your website or a specific landing page dedicated to your event. Simply having a sentence description on a third-party ticketing company’s website isn’t going to cut it. People want to know the vibe of your party, understand why they should attend, and get a gage at what they can expect by attending. Plus, having your own page allows for greater SEO opportunities, allowing guests to find out about your event in search results.

    It’s also important to make sure customers can buy tickets directly on your website and aren’t redirected to a third-party. Redirects oftentimes lead to cart abandonment, and you can lose out on that customer’s data. Work with a ticketing company that’s built for nightlife events and integrates with your site for the best user experience and to collect the most data to fill your guest database.

    2. Do an Exclusive Pre-Launch

    Experience is everything, and it’s what drives your customers to be loyal. Your customers are looking for a personalized experience, especially those that attend on the regular. Consider doing a pre-launch with the customers who have come to your venue throughout the year with an exclusive release before launching your tickets to the public. Reach out to them either via text or email and give them preferential treatment on tables and tickets. This is going to make a big impression on your most loyal customers, and it’s going to drive them to plan their night out with their friends at your event.

    3. Use Your Data

    Data matters more than you realize. It’s what allows you to understand what does and doesn’t work to set you up for success. Use last year’s data to understand which channels brought in the most guests, and replicate that. If you don’t have access to last year’s data, it’s time to start looking into systems like Vēmos that allows you to access all of your information in one central spot.

    One of the most important pieces of data you’ll want to track is your marketing channels. You need to track where your customers are finding you and why they’re choosing your event over others. To do this, assign specific links to each channel and staff member. Then, use those links on your various channels (i.e. a different link for Facebook, Twitter, third-party media, digital ads, etc). Also make sure your staff is using their personal link when they promote your event so they get credit. The results will inform you of what you should and shouldn’t be spending your time and money on.

    4. Leverage Marketing Channels

    Once your tickets are set up and your trackable links are in order, it’s time to start promoting. Keep in mind it takes an average of 7 touchpoints before consumers consider purchasing, so you’ll want to get in front of them sooner than later. Make sure you use multiple forms of communication across various channels to increase the cycle of those touchpoints and to engage your customers faster. Here are a few things for you to consider:

    • Set up your social channels to be in line with your event by updating your images and post cadence
    • Add an events section on your Facebook page that gives full information about your NYE event, and integrate your ticketing page into your Facebook fan page for people to buy tickets directly through social
    • Consider contests or ticket giveaways to build engagement and interaction
    • Run Facebook ads to target a specific segmented audience
    • Get your promoters engaged and turn them into a mobile box office
    • Leverage partnerships with third-party outlets, such as your booked entertainment, sponsors, key social influencers, and media outlets. Partner with them and have them promote your event on your behalf

    When you get your marketing channels to work together, you’ll have a bigger audience reach and a higher likelihood of selling out before your event happens.

    5. Incentivize Guests to Purchase Tickets Early

    Encourage people to pre-purchase their tickets by creating supply and demand. Showing them your price will increase as the event gets closer creates demand for the few supply of early bird tickets. You can set your tickets to increase price by the week, day or even hour leading up to your event. You can also set your tickets to increase by quantity after x amount of tickets are sold. This encourages people to buy early and have time to share their plans with others. Plus, when guests pre-buy their tickets, you’re generating revenue before the night of your event, helping you cover costs before your event even happens.

    6. Stay on Top of VIP Table Guests

    Your VIP guests are important, and you want to make sure they’re not getting lost in the shuffle of general admission purchases. For New Year’s Eve, we recommend pre-selling tables, either in full or with a deposit. That way, you can have a gauge of your table inventory and number of VIP guests you can expect. It also helps mitigate your no-show rate the night of the event. During the night, make sure you set up your door to handle tables through a different entrance and check-in process. Now, your highest spenders are getting exclusive treatment right off the bat. Also make sure your staff knows to keep an eye on how many people are sitting at each table. During a hectic night, it’s easy to overlook a party of 10 actually brought 20 people with them. And as a result, you just lost out on payment for 10 extra people. That’s one of the easiest ways venues lose money on New Year’s Eve and other big event nights. Having a separate entrance and a reservation system that ties to your events/ticketing system will help alleviate this issue.

    7. Set Up Safety and Compliance Procedures

    It’s easy to lose sight of safety and compliance when preparing for the busiest night of the year. Yet, New Year’s Eve is typically the night where people over consume, which accounts for the highest amount of emergency room visits. Work with your bartenders to make sure they know when to stop serving overly intoxicated guests. Get on board with an ID Scanning system to reduce your liability. Better yet, use an ID Scanning system like Vēmos that syncs with your database, helps to detect fake and invalid IDs, manages your digital 86 list, and syncs with a city-wide ban list so you know who you should and shouldn’t let into your venue. It may no the the fun part of New Year’s Eve, but it’s important to mitigate your liability on this busy night.


    Last but not least, make sure all your staff is up and running on the same system and strategy for smooth operations. All the small details matter, and t’s what leaves a lasting impression with your guests. Cheers to your successful New Year’s Eve event and hosting a fun party for your guests to ring in 2017.

    Step Up Your Game in 2018

    The end of the year is coming to a close, which means you’re most likely gearing up for your New Year’s Eve party. But in the midst of all this, it’s also the time to a assess your business and set your venue up for even more success in the coming year.

    We’re at this critical juncture as an industry of keeping up with the demands of customers, the expectations of general consumers, and continuing with everyday business to keep things afloat. It’s a lot to manage, especially with the busy holiday season.

    But in 2018, we as an industry can’t afford to keep pushing out implementing new practices. There have been articles for the past few years claiming nightlife is dying. I disagree. I believe society is evolving, and we’re not evolving with it. We aren’t dying; we’re falling behind.

    Think about the experiences your customers have in every other industry. Retail, online entertainment, even coffee shops have all shifted to cater to individual needs based on timing and past habits. Retail stores send emails suggesting items you might like because of what you’ve bought in the past. Amazon reminds you of when you’re likely due to re-buy a household item. Netflix suggests a show you should watch based on what’s trending and what you’ve previously enjoyed. Starbucks knows once you get into the store what they should offer to up-sell you based on your tastes and budget. All of these industries start with tracking your behavior so they can later reach out on a very personal level to get you to spend even more. It’s personal. It’s data-driven. And that’s where we’re falling behind in the nightlife industry.

    In 2018, it’s no longer about opening your doors and assuming people will walk in. It’s about guaranteeing people will walk in, and the right people at that. But just like very other industry, it starts with tracking your customers’ behavior. And I mean every customer, not just your VIPs.

    Fortunately, tracking your guests is fairly simple with the right system. It shouldn’t add a ton of new processes to your staff, nor take up much more additional time to collect the data. The best solution is a system that has ID scanning, POS integration, and a CRM system at the core of its functionality. Solutions like Vēmos is built with these three at its core, combined with general admission, guest list, tickets, and reservation management features. The reason having the core is important is because you’re now able to track every guest who walks through your door, including their spending habits once inside.

    Take this example: It’s Friday night, and it’s Lucy’s first time at your venue.

    • You scan Lucy’s ID with the system to verify legality, but because you’re using a system backed by a CRM system, you have now created her personal guest profile in your database.
    • Lucy then goes to check in with the general admission cashier to pay cover. You now know Lucy is a general admission guest who has paid $20 to get inside, bringing her lifetime value up to $20.
      Lucy goes to the bar and orders a vodka tonic. The next time she orders a martini. Every time she places an order, it’s added to her guest profile because your system is integrated with your POS and is backed by a CRM system. Her lifetime value in her guest profile rises every time she orders.
      Lucy comes back with 5 friends as a guest list customer the following Friday. You scan her ID to verify legality, and are notified that this is her second time at the venue and she’s worth $x. You notice she’s brought more people with her. You thank her for coming back and bringing more guests to your venue. This provides personalization and gives her that specialized treatment.

      Now that you have Lucy’s profile and see that it’s building over time, you’re able to amplify her experience. Does she keep coming back every week as a GA or guest list guest? Upgrade her to a reservation and start her off with a bottle of champagne to thank her for her loyalty. Is there a new concert coming up that you think she’d like? Send her an email or text message to buy a ticket before the concert is unveiled to the rest of the public. Do you think there’s a craft cocktail she’d like better that would earn you more revenue? Promote it to her.

      Because you started with collecting and tracking behavior, you’re now able to later reach out with personal messages to get your guests to come more often and spend even more once they’re there. This is what is going to get you to level up to other experiences in other industries.

      It’s no longer sufficient to make assumptions on how your venue is performing and who your guests are. It’s also no longer sufficient to just focus on the data from one area of your business. It’s about taking a comprehensive approach that provides insight into all of your guests. After all, the more you know, the more you can do. And with a new year approaching, it’s time to garner even better results and higher revenue than the previous year.

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