Category Archives: Technology

The 3 Things Your Bar or Nightclub Needs in 2018

Here we are already in 2018, which means it’s prime time to reflect on the past year and gear up for an even better new year. This could be daunting, time-consuming, and overwhelming, which is why we want to take a step back and make things simple by focusing on one theme: knowledge.

We believe every bar and nightclub should have the knowledge of who their guests are, how they got there, what they’re doing, and how they’re affecting your business. That’s why in 2018, we’re putting our focus on gathering as much information from as many places as possible and presenting it in one concrete area. We want to do the complicated part so you have simplistic knowledge. We’re doing that by ensuring our customers have their three core data hubs set up:

    1. ID Scanning to get knowledge from the first point of entry
    2. POS Integration to gather knowledge on what’s happening inside
    3. CRM System to make that knowledge actionable and profitable

We understand there are many things you need to run your venue, but these three are the core of what you need to have the knowledge to be successful in 2018. Here’s how.

1. 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 – ID Scan, all of this is combined with your CRM system and analytics section to truly have that understanding of your whole business.

2. 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 than 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.

3. 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 they 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 you with the knowledge of 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.

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.

Navigating the Personalization Shift

Your customers have gotten accustomed to the savviness of online businesses sending recommendations based on past habits and reminders based on timing. It’s personal. It’s experience-driven. And now they’re driving that change within nightlife. They expect personalized service, and are making decisions on where to go because of it.

Now it’s your turn to navigate this shift and provide the personalized experience they have come to expect. But how do you do it? The best thing you can do is find a system that encompasses all areas of your operations into one dashboard. This is what allows you to see transparent data across sections as well as get deep insight on all your guests. When you use separate tools for each area (ex: one system for reservations, another for tickets, another for gueslist, etc), you’re only getting a chunk of the picture. Data lives separately and you only see information on some of your guests, not all of them. And that makes all the difference when keeping up with this personalization shift.

Here are a few core tools you’ll need to set yourself up for success, followed by recommendations on how to get your staff to execute.

1. Guest Database

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. There are systems specifically for the nightlife industry that are built with your guest database at the core. Now, you can 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 and have it sync back to their profile in your database.

You can also capture this information during your night at your door using a digital ID Scanning system. That way, you’re able to safeguard your venue by having a tool to help check IDs as well as collect data on every customer that walks through your doors. 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. Segmented 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. Staff Execution

Your personalization shouldn’t stop at marketing. You can and should keep this experience going the second your customer gets to your door. That’s where staff execution comes into play. Remember, technology is a tool to help your staff raise the level of their service; it doesn’t replace your staff’s efforts. Make sure you train your staff on your system so everyone is using it correctly and know what cues to use to raise their level of personalization. Greet your guests by name when they arrive. If you see that a customer is a regular general admission 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 their first round of their favorite drink 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 come back more often.

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.With all of this at play, you’re able to spend smarter, target sharper, and create an unbelievable experience for every person walking through your door.

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.