Category Archives: Technology

Reduce Your Liability

Checking IDs isn’t the most exciting or sexy part of owning a nightclub or bar. But it is a requirement and can also be a huge asset to your venue. Rather than thinking about it as a way of crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s, think of it an extra way to reduce liability, enhance security, and better provide personalization to your guests. All three of these are possible when you use the right system.

Reduce Liability

It’s required by law that IDs are checked for every person seeking to enter an establishment who reasonably appears to be less than 21 years of age, with many states highly recommending to ID anyone under the age of 35. Many police departments also recommend ID scanning technology to be used since it reduces human error and shows a higher level of compliance. After all, with continuous updates to government-issued IDs and advancements in the creation of fraudulent IDs, it’s neither smart nor fair to leave the burden of identifying outdated or fraudulent IDs with your doormen. Once a minor is approved and served, litigation may be right around the corner.

While legal repercussions vary by state and circumstances, the license holder found in violation of alcohol furnishing laws can receive anything from a fine to a suspension to a revocation of the liquor license. This liability begins with the first drink. It doesn’t matter whether or not a minor exhibits signs of intoxication, if there’s alcohol in the blood system, then your nightclub is liable. And should your license get revoked, you’ll have to wait at least six months before you can apply for another, which will likely be more difficult and costly due to the revocation on your record.

Maintain a Secure Environment

Not only can a digital ID scanning system deter minors from entering your venue, but they can also mitigate risks associated with unlawful incidents while recording who is entering the establishment. And with an advanced ID scanning system like Vēmos, this allows you to keep track of anyone who has caused a disturbance at your venue, to always have your 86-list digitally available regardless of who’s working the door, and have access to a city-wide ban list to keep your venue safe. This tool acts as your guide in better decision making for a process that’s already mandatory. Maintaining a secure environment minimizes costs associated with insurance, repairs, fines, and enforcement. What’s more is it provides an enjoyable atmosphere for your patrons, which translates to a more profitable establishment.

Improve Customer Relationships

The least obvious reason for considering a digital ID scanning system is perhaps the most beneficial for your long-term relationship with your guests. Better data means better business, and better business starts with great customer service. The more you know about your customers, the better you can communicate with them and develop lasting relationships. When you use a digital ID scanning system, you’re able to collect information in the blink of an eye, such as customer demographics, frequency of visits, male to female ratio, and customer contact information. And when this is tied to your CRM system, this information leads to better communication, management and, ultimately, profit, as you’re able to provide personalized experiences to every guest who walks through your door.

4 Steps to Experience a Seamless Change

Consumers are driving change within nightlife. They’ve gotten accustomed to the personal, experience-driven services provided by savvy retailers, and they now expect this of you. There are many sources out there saying nightlife is dying; but in actuality, it’s just evolving. It’s up to you to navigate this shift, which may mean it’s time to switch to a system that will help you succeed in this new era.

I get it: making a switch to a new system can seem daunting and intrusive to your daily operations. It doesn’t have to be, and the reality is the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be for you to appease your customers. The best time to switch is before you go into your busy season, which for many of us begins late October. Switching before this time ensures you’re set up for success to handle your biggest nights, and have a database to bank once things slow down again.

Here’s how you can adopt a new system into your venue so you can no only be set up to provide personalized service, but also significantly increase efficiency, profitability, and security as a result.

1. Understand Your Needs

We can tell you a hundred reasons why you may need to switch systems (and just for fun, here’s 7 of them), but it’s not going to mean anything if you don’t have a reason or objective of your own. Perhaps you want to increase the speed of the night, discover insights about your clients, understand how your venue and employees are doing, or even generate more pre-sale revenue. All of this is possible with the right technology. The more you know about why you want to go down this route, the better technology partner you’ll find and the easier time you’ll have integrating it in.

2. Find the Right Partner

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 venue’s operations and strategies to provide the best solution to your needs. We recommend using a system like Vēmos 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 venue’s performance. Now you’re not using different systems for different processes with independent data sitting within each. You’re able to get a holistic view of your venue, and use your guest data to provide personalized service no matter what type of guest they are.

3. Outline Your Rollout

The reason technology, or any new system for that matter, seems overwhelming is because people think of it as one big overhaul rather than a series of small steps. The best way to transition is to have an outline of what the rollout will look like. The right partner will help transition all previous data into the new system so there are’t any gaps when the transition happens. It’s also possible to start small, picking the features you absolutely need today, then add more once you feel comfortable about how technology can help your venue. It doesn’t need to be a long process; it just needs to be a clearly defined process to make sure it’s a smooth, successful transition.

4. Train Staff

A successful rollout completely revolves around training and establishing a comfort level with the software. 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 you’re partnering with to clarify any points or walk through the system so everyone is fully equipped to get up and running. It’s a red flag if a company isn’t willing to do full training with you and your staff as part of the transition. This level of training will leverage the return on investment, reduce technical support needs after the installation, and be the key factor in a successful rollout.

When you have the right system for your needs, and when all staff is trained, you’re able to provide a great experience for every person who walks through your door. This is what sets you apart and is what allows you to thrive during this experience-driven shift.

What Your Millennial Customers Expect of You

The Millennial generation is driving change across all industries, including nightlife. Defined as the ages of 18 through 35 – the prime ages to be targeting for the nightlife industry – they value experiences over physical goods, and will prioritize their money accordingly. In today’s nightlife climate, engaging your guests in new, exciting ways is the key to building a strong business.

The old ways of doing business with long lines, slow bar service, and apathetic staff is no longer acceptable. This generation is going to go elsewhere to get the experience they want, and we’re no longer talking about just another venue down the street; you’re now competing with sporting events, the theater, movies, Netflix, and even vacations. After all, one Millennial interviewed in The Guardian stated “A night out now costs almost as much as a weekend away…and a weekend away looks better on Instagram.”

So don’t just open your doors and pray that people walk through – think about the best possible experience you can give your guests. Create themes for your night. Be a part of bigger event opportunities. Think about ways to host interactive events. Transform your space using more design elements. This is what creates those experiences this generation craves. People are more likely to go out when a unique experience is offered, and they’re more likely to continue when that experience is personalized. Challenge yourself, get creative, and have fun with the opportunities.

Here’s how you can provide personal experiences to your guests to attract and maintain their loyalty to your venue.

1. Capture Guest Information

A survey conducted by Accenture discovered that 85% of their participants are willing to provide their information to trusted retailers in exchange for targeted, personalized information. Use this to your advantage. Your customers are not only willing to give their information to you, but they’re conditioned to do so. This is especially true when pre-purchasing items online. Use guest list, ticketing, or reservation forms on your site so your guests not only begin to buy in advance (note: more guaranteed revenue), but also so that you can collect their information. You can also capture this information during your night at your door using a digital system. That way, you’re able to collect data on every type of customer that walks in your venue. And when you connect this to your point of sale system, you’re able to unearth even more valuable information. This means you have a database of all your guests, including their name, contact info, how many times they’ve been to your venue, whether they’re a VIP/guest list/event/general admission customer, how much money they’ve spent, and what their most popular drink purchases are.

2. Send Personal Marketing

With your database, you now have a complete buyer persona for all your target customer segments, including demographic, geographic, and psychographic information. This means you have the opportunity to get personal with your marketing. You can send a specific message catered to a specific group of people, such as sending a birthday text message to anyone celebrating a birthday this week and inviting them to celebrate with you. Or you can target customers who have attended a certain event in the past, and send them an exclusive invitation to an upcoming similar event before tickets are released to the public. Making your customers feel like you know what’s happening in their life, or like you understand their interests, is what makes your messages personal and powerful. They’ll feel like insiders and will naturally establish a deeper connecting with your venue. This also helps to make sure the time and money you’re spending on your marketing is spent wisely and giving you a return on investment.

3. Make Their Night Special

Your personalization shouldn’t stop at marketing. You can keep this experience going when they get to your venue as well. When you use a system, you take the guesswork out and are able to understand your customers at a deeper level. Say goodbye to paper guestlists, and start providing personalized service at your door. Use license scanning technology to capture information from every guest that walks through your door. If you see a customer is a regular guest list customer who comes to your venue every week, upsell them to a VIP table and provide a complimentary bottle of champagne as a thank you. Or, offer them a round of drinks on the house at the bar. This costs you very little, but means a lot to them. It’s a simple gesture that’s perceived by the guest as a premium, highly personalized level of service. It shows that person how much they are valued and entices them to stay longer, spend more, bring more friends, and com back more often. This is how you organically build loyalty.

4. Humanize Your Data

All of the above is made more possible when you have your data at your disposal. I know, the word data makes most people cringe – that’s why it’s all about humanizing that data. You don’t want to spend your time combing through spreadsheets of data points that don’t make a ton of sense, just to try to connect the dots yourself. Instead, use a system built specifically for the nightlife industry that handles event management, tickets, reservations, guest lists, and general admission while being backed by easy-to-understand data and analytics.

When all of that is in the same system, you get comprehensive results to truly understand and grow your business. You get insight on how your venue is performing, what your trends are, what your best marketing channels are, and in-depth details about your guests at a click of a button. Do you see something that’s working well with your guests? Keep doing it. See something that’s not? Can it. Want to send a personalized message to anyone with a birthday this week? Do it.

Treating guests like the individuals they are and catering your experience to their needs isn’t hard. All it takes is a system that captures all your information in one place, your staff to use that system so it automatically pulls necessary information on the guests walking through your door, and your ability to execute on providing that exclusive experience. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference to your guests and brings the biggest dollar to you.

The 3 Things You Need to Be Successful in 2017

Running a bar or nightclub isn’t easy. There are a lot of areas that need to work together to ensure your success. Yet, our industry still operates in silos, using different systems for different sections – oftentimes leading to missed data and opportunities. Meanwhile, online industries like Amazon have gotten so savvy they’re able to send recommendations based on past habits and send reminders based on timing. As a result, this is the level of service your guests have come to expect.

That’s why in today’s digitally-driven environment, 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. This may have worked in years past, but it’s an outdated practice that cold cost you your venue.

So while we understand there are many things you need to run your venue, the following three are the core of what you need be successful in 2017 and beyond.

ID Scanning

You already ID and verify each person that walks through your door. Take this a step further with license scanning technology that not only scans and verifies each person, but also collects data on each person to build your guest database. This is the only way to know who came into your venue each and every night, complete with your gender breakdown, where your customers are coming from, your age breakdown, and which customers are repeat vs first-time customers. You also have access to your digital 86 list as well as a city-wide ban list to keep your venue safe. This tool acts as your guide in better decision making for a process that was already mandatory. And with a solution like Vēmos, all of this is combined with your CRM system and analytics section to truly have that understanding of your whole business.

POS Integration

Speaking of uncovering your true performance, having your point of sale integrated into your operations system is an extremely powerful move. Now, not only do you have the ability to track your VIP table spend automatically, but you also gain insight on your entire bar. “But I can already do that,” you say? Sort of. The reality is POS systems are not in the business of providing their customers with great analytics; they focus on providing a great user experience for your bartenders during the night. Integrating your POS system takes that data and provides you with true analytics that allow you to better understand how your entire venue did rather just a segment. It can also tie to your CRM system to give insight on personalized spending. With Vēmos, all of this data is automatically collated to show you where you won and where you missed.

CRM System

All of this comes back to individualized data. After all, the new name of the game is experience, and personalized experience at that. You can’t provide your guests with personalized experiences if you don’t know who they are. Sure, you may know your top regulars who always come in. And while they’re important, the other hundreds of guests are equally as important to your business. The only way to capture this information is to have all your data tied back to your CRM system. This is what allows you to know each of your customers on a personal level — from how often hey come, to how much they spend, to their specific preferences. You can then use this data to filter your guests into like-minded groups to send targeted messages specifically to them. Now you’re able to provide a complete circle of personalized service both online and in-person.

These three tools are the core of what accelerates your capabilities. Having technology a part of your venue is no longer just about a reservation management system. It’s about a comprehensive appraoch that provides insight into your venue as a whole. With ID Scanning, POS integration, and a CRM system at your core, you now have the capabilities of providing that personalized service previously only available to the likes of Amazon. Safeguard your venue, target sharper, spend smarter, and create an unbelievable experience for every person walking through your door.

How to Make Your Nights More Predictable and More Profitable

Can you confidently say your night is going to be profitable? Or are you opening your doors and hoping for the best? Chances are it’s the latter, and you’re not alone. It’s common in this industry to not have an accurate idea going into the night of whether it’s going to be a boom or a bust. In fact, few venues have an idea after the night is over whether it should be deemed successful.

While this may be common, it’s a big issue for your business and is one of the main reasons why the average span of a nightclub is a mere 18 months. Fortunately, there are solutions built for the nightlife industry to help you get a hold of your business and to help make you even more profitable. Here’s how you can do just that.

1. Become Interconnected

Running off pen & paper isn’t helping your venue in the long-run. Having different systems for different sections of your venue isn’t helping either. The way you truly understand how your venue is performing is by being interconnected across all areas of your venue. Think about the different solutions you use in your venue. There are point of sale systems, reservation management software, event & ticketing software, employee scheduling programs, customer relationship management systems…the list goes on. But unless these technologies are programmed to connect to each other, the data and processes will ultimately be useless. Why bother with 5 different technologies if it’s going to add 5 different processes? That’s wasted time with duplicated effort, wasted time with manual data entry, and lost data between the systems.

The key ingredient to a successful platform is one that’s integrated into all areas so you can be fully interconnected. Look for a comprehensive venue management platform, like us at Vēmos, that automatically has integration functionality built within it. This is what allows you to manage, understand, and grow your business from a single dashboard.

2. Use Data to Become Predictable

Once everything is connected in the right system, you have access to all your data in one place. This means you’ll be able to predict how your night is going to go based on historical data. Do you consistently get slammed around the same time? Staff accordingly. What issues have you experienced in the past? Fix those issues with processes. How many people have signed up for your guest list, made a reservation, or indicated they may be a general admission walk-up? What were the results of past nights similar to this one? This all helps you predict what your night is going to be like. Pre-selling inventory is another great way to make your nights predictable. It also helps you to understand how far in advance people tend to pre-purchase and whether you’re on target to hit your numbers.

3. Decrease unnecessary costs

Just as your past data helps you understand if you need to boost staff and processes, it also tells you when to decrease unnecessary costs. Do you need to have as many servers as you do working at 8 pm when you consistently don’t get busy until 11? Do you need to pay your promoters a per-guest fee when the guests they bring in don’t end up spending anything once inside your venue? Know where you’re over spending and cut costs accordingly so that the money you are spending is going toward better ways to increase your profitability.

4. Turn Marketing into an Investment

Speaking of knowing where you’re over spending, marketing is one of those places you’re likely throwing money in the wrong places. But when you track your marketing efforts, you’re able to see exactly what drives traffic and results. So while a third-party website may claim to have garnered you 100,000 impressions, you know that it actually only got you 3 clicks and $0 in return. Now you know not to spend money there in the future and redistribute those dollars toward activities you know work for you. Having a system that tracks it all allows you to easily see what you get in return of what you put in. This not only saves you from wasting your dollars, but helps to bring in more money than before, turning your marketing from an expense and into an investment.

5. See it All Come Together

When you use one system to track all areas, you have a clear understanding of exactly what’s happening in your venue without having to log into multiple data systems. Now, you can easily track:

  • How much money you made over a given time period
  • How many customers walked through your door over a given time period (and who they were)
  • How many table reservations you booked, and how much you earn on average
  • When your customers start buying tickets to your event. or start arriving to your venue
  • Which staff members are bringing in the most guests (and biggest spenders)
  • Which marketing channels are and aren’t working for you

You can experience a huge uptick to your bottom line after switching to a system backed by data. That’s because you know exactly what’s working and what doesn’t, which allows you to spend their money more wisely. You also improve your operations to get your guests in the door faster to get to the bar more quickly, resulting in increased bar sales. When you have absolute clarity on your venue’s performance, you can do even more to increase your success. Without data, you’re simply just guessing and could be leaving a lot of money on the table.