Category Archives: Trends

2017 Summer Trends

The summer months are a catalyst for elevating your venue’s offerings, and is what sets the stage of what customers can expect from you all the way through to the end of the year. When you win customers over in the summer, the chances of you getting them back during the booming fall and winter months is even higher. After all, these days people need to see consistent positive experiences to build their trust and loyalty with companies. So while last year’s summer trends were all about enhancing the summer mood with events, cocktails, and polished marketing, this year is all about experiences. And you can thank millennials for that.

1. Experiences > Possessions

The millennial generation is driving change across all industries, including nightlife. Defined between the ages of 18-35 — 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. People are more likely to go out when a unique experience is offered, and they’re more likely continue when that experience is personalized. Challenge yourself, get creative, and have fun with the opportunities.

2. Focus on Details

Details are an important part of the experience equation, and the lack of details can oftentimes be the driver behind a bad night. This is true for both your VIP guests and your general admission guests. Nobody wants to be treated like a number, and nobody wants to go to an establishment that feels like just another bar. Personally greet your guests at the door. Upsell general admission guests to a VIP guest if you see they visit your venue often. Send personalized marketing messages to your customers rather than mass blasting your entire database. Provide your guest with their favorite drink, or at least interact with that guest to understand what their favorite drink may be. Beyond the customer service details, make sure your bar area, decor, and other areas your venue are also treated with a detailed eye. All of this goes a long way in creating that experience.

3. Cocktails & Conversations

People go out to interact with one another and engage in conversation. Yet, one of the reasons millennials mentioned for not venturing out to clubs anymore is because it’s too loud and they aren’t able to have a conversation. Perhaps this generation is boring; perhaps they’re on to something. But one thing is certain: they place the quality of their experience above all else. Couple this desire for conversations with the emergence of the cocktail renaissance, and you have a trend worth offering. The cocktail renaissance has changed the way consumers buy and enjoy alcoholic drinks, and has bred educated, experimental drinkers who would rather pay for a quality hand-made cocktail than a cheap watered-down drink. This summer, add either quintessential summer cocktails or even a signature crafted cocktails to your menu, offer a space for your guests to sip, lounge, and converse, and pay plenty of attention to the service your staff provides.

4. Festival Vibes

What goes better with summer than outdoor parties? It’s no secret that music festivals have taken over the market, popping up worldwide and attracting club-goers. Instead of competing with music festivals, join them. The beauty of festivals is the inclusive nature of the experience. Everyone gathers together to experience the music, the outdoor space, and the electric personality of the crowd. Nightclubs & bars of all sizes can capitalize on festival vibes — whether it’s a nightclub hosting an outdoor party with a big performer, or the neighborhood bars coming together to create an outdoor block party with live music. Take a note from the festival playbook and make sure you’re offering that unique experience, are pre-selling tickets to create demand, and are providing on that vision the day of the event.

5. Humanizing 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 list, and general admission while being backed by easy-to-understand data and analytics. When all of this 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? 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. That’s the power of a system, that’s the power of data, and that’s what allows you to thrive as a business and stay ahead of industry trends.

2017 Trends for Nightclubs

It’s that time of year where we reflect on the past year and gear up for even bigger results in the year ahead. In 2016, we saw a lot more event-like thinking, a bigger adoption of technology to streamline operations, and more tracking of data to optimize performance. In 2017, we can expect to see an increase in those areas while we also embrace these following 4 trends.

1. Personalization

Nearly every industry has shifted its focus to providing one-on-one personalized service, except for the nightlife industry. We’re still operating with pen and paper, and not getting an accurate understanding of who are guests are. And when guests are used to being treated like an individual everywhere else, it’s hard to go somewhere where they’re treated like a number. Being more personal with your customers is a huge opportunity and is easier than you think with the right system that collects data. After all, 90% of consumers surveyed said they’re willing to provide their information as long as they get personalized service in return.

2. Pre-Sell Inventory

Part of creating a demand for your party is getting people committed to show up. That’s where pre-selling comes into play. Having tickets already sold to an upcoming event creates a sense of urgency that they’re going to be out before the night of the event. The same is true for VIP tables on any given night. That sense of urgency — or the sense that the supply is decreasing — creates demand. Pre-selling your inventory not only creates this demand, but it also guarantees your revenue before the night begins. Look for a system that helps you manage all of your pre-sale inventory, from tickets to tables.

3. Classic Drinks

After several seasons of complex, local, and season cocktails, we’re going back to the classics. Top mixologists around the country are agreeing on the approach of simple ingredients to make classic cocktails (but still with attention to details we’ve seen these past years). Vermouth is making a strong comeback with the rise of Manhattans and Negroni’s, and Amaro continues to tick upward in popularity. Either way, experts are looking forward to going back to classic cocktails made with quality spirits and few ingredients.

4. Leveraging Promotions

We’re getting savvier as marketers and are now able to track where traffic is coming from, which promotions do and don’t work to bring in there right people, and whether your promoters play a big part in your marketing game. Just in the past few months, I’ve seen nightclubs track every aspect of their marketing, including individual Facebook posts and images along with individual staff members. They’ve been using the results to pump out more effective campaigns to bring in higher spending guests. This is powerful marketing, and what’s going to take you to the next level in 2017.

Trend Alert: Increasing Customers and Revenue with Club Crawls

Nightclub and bar crawls aren’t a new concept, but they are growing in popularity amongst consumers and venues alike. And getting involved in a crawl can offer your venue many short and long term benefits. Here’s how you can capitalize on this trend and experience a successful crawl.

The benefits behind the trend

Being involved in a nightclub or bar crawl offers many benefits, but one in particular stands out: increased exposure.

When you’re a part of a larger event, you get exposed to more customers without putting time and money behind marketing dollars. Most of the time, the organization putting on the crawl does the marketing efforts on your behalf. In fact, there isn’t a ton of extra work on your plate to participate in the crawl beyond staffing the night appropriately. This allows you to make more money without doing extra work. Plus, this third-party marketing exposure is a great way to get in front of a target market that may not typically come to your venue on a regular basis. And with this a properly staffed event, you could provide these new guests with a great first-time experience and convert them into repeat customers.

It’s always a good idea to be the starting point of the crawl or the venue that’s in charge of registration. This way, you know you’ll see the most people from the crawl and you’ll have a greater chance of collecting guest information upon initial check-in to later use for your ongoing marketing efforts.

How to get involved

It’s easy to get involved in a nightclub or bar crawl. Most organizers are on the lookout for venues to be a part of their event and will ask you to join if they’re in your vicinity. If they aren’t, look into crawls that you could potentially be a part of and ask to join in.

Another option is to put on your own crawl as bar owners. In this scenario, you would work alongside neighboring venues to put on a larger event. While this would be more work for you, you would get the added benefits of controlling the specials, knowing the operations behind the crawl, keeping the money from pre-sale tickets, and owning all the customer data behind the event. Plus, you could potentially get liquor or other vendors to sponsor, which alleviates the upfront capital to put on the crawl. It’s a bigger project to put on, but with a bigger return on revenue and data.

Tips to be successful

While there are benefits to being involved in a crawl, there are also downfalls if you’re not set up for success. The most important aspect is staffing appropriately. I’ve been a part of these events where the venue didn’t accommodate for an influx of customers, and the customers a part of the crawl weren’t easily able to get a drink during their stay. This will immediately give a negative first impression, and they’re not going to think to blame it on the crawl organizer. They’re blaming their experience on you. The chance of them ever coming back to your establishment is slim to none.

Also make sure you communicate with your staff what’s involved in being a part of a crawl. Are there drink specials they need to be aware of? Do they receive something for arriving at your venue? Is there a cover discount? Know what’s involved so you can serve them appropriately.

Finally, makes sure you understand your own business and your popular times with your regulars. One venue I work with chose not to participate in a popular crawl on a Friday night since the crawl required free entrance. Fridays are their most popular night. They have no problem selling out with people paying cover to get in and full priced drinks at the bar. Participating in this Friday night crawl would have deterred their regulars and likely hurt their typical Friday night sales. However, they recognized being a part of a different crawl on a different night was beneficial to bringing in new clientele and bar sales they likely wouldn’t have received.

It’s possible to reap the benefits of this nightclub or bar crawl trend. It all comes down to knowing your business, understanding your customers, and knowing how to set yourself up for success to convert those customers into repeats.

5 New Year’s Eve Trends to Ring in 2017

New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, and venues are gearing up to throw the biggest party of the year. While countdowns and confetti are always the norm, there are a few added elements we’re seeing in this year’s parties.

1. Unique Themes

While New Year’s Eve is the biggest event of the year, it’s also the most competitive. You need to differentiate yourself from the other parties in your area and show your customers why they should attend your event. Having a theme helps set these expectations, and also helps you plan a succinct event. Just make sure you do your research so your theme is unique in your region. I’ve seen themes range from a frosty affair to tropical oasis with cabanas and everything in between. There’s no limit to what you can do, it’s a matter of playing to your guests’ interest and executing the experience.

2. Added VIP Flair

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, your NYE VIP service needs to be a step higher. Reflect on your theme and consider adding in extras to play up the experience. Turn your tables into cabanas. Provide a free hookah. Add in a layer of entertainment. Your customers — especially the millennials — care more about experiences than products. This is a great time to wow them with your experience build loyalty in the coming year.

3. Signature Cocktails

A signature cocktail can go a long way in wracking up those bar sales. When done well with your theme, they get guests excited to try something new and festive to ring in the new year. Put a twist on the midnight champagne toast with a grapefruit mimosa. Play with the seasonal flavors in a cranberry-spice cocktail. Just make sure not to overcomplicate your cocktails that it slows down your bar staff.

4. Ticket Tiers and Packages

Having a strategy behind your tickets is beneficial in not only ensuring you have guaranteed pre-sale revenue, but also in building urgency and interest with your customers. Many NYE events have already sold out of their tier 1 general admission tickets and have moved on to the more expensive tier 2 tickets, increasing prices as more tickets sell and the event gets closer. It’s also common for events to create packages to drive up the perceived value of their NYE event. This could be an open bar ticket for a premium price, compared to just the admission ticket. It could also be a VIP package that includes a free bottle of champagne. Your customers are accustomed to spending a premium NYE, so think of ways you can drive up the value of your ticket options.

5. Enhanced Door Operations

Your door is what sets the stage for your customers’ experience and expectations. Set up your lines so it’s easy for your guests to navigate and for your staff to operate. Create a line for your pre-sale customers, a line for customers paying at the door, and a line for your VIP customers. Not only does this make your door flow better, but it also allows your staff to only focus on checking in the customer in those given lines, rather than flipping back and forth between checking someone in and handling a walk-up sale. And having a separate line and check-ins or your VIP guests ensures your highest spenders aren’t getting lost in the shuffle and are instead getting exclusive treatment right away.

Vēmos is built specifically for nightclubs hosting events. It allows you to manage your tickets, automate your ticket prices, and experience the smoothest door operations. Get started with your New Year’s Eve event now.

2016 Fall Nightlife Trends

We’re gearing up for the busiest time of the year in the nightlife industry. Are you ready? Here’s the top trends we’re seeing as we head into the fall season.

1. Increased focus on experience

Experience is everything. People aren’t coming to your venue for your $500 bottle of vodka or your $13 drink. They’re coming for your party and the experience you provide. If your guest has a bad experience their first visit, they’re not coming back — and neither are their friends. This is especially true for your up and coming millennial guests, where experience trumps most other factors when deciding where to go out.

This trend is true not only in the US, but also around the world. Ce La Vi in Singapore says they focus on the “end to end customer experience and create an illusion of exclusivity,” according to Nightclub & Bar magazine. “They celebrate loyal customers’ and resident DJ’s birthdays, turning those nights into special experiences for all club-goers (and attracting new prospects).” Check out these 3 steps to shift your focus on your customers’ experience.

2. Event-like thinking

Events are a big reason for success in the Nightclub & Bar industry, and this year venues began thinking outside the box. In the past, the two most common types of events were for major holidays and musical acts. But now we’re seeing venues treating every night like an event in creative ways. CellarDoor co-hosted an interactive mystery event to further engage their customers and pique more interest. During the summer, we saw more live music events, concert series, and pub crawls. And in the fall — the season with the most event — we expect this trend to grow even more. After all, it’s this type of thinking that allows you to get the most out of every night since you’re able to pre-sell inventory before each night, including tickets, VIP tables, drink packages, and even a simple cover. This pre-sale revenue not only guarantees money in the bank, but also guests in the door.

3. Local, seasonal flavors

Fall will follow Summer’s trend of spiced, hand-crafted quality cocktails. As stated in Restaurant-Hospitality Magazine, consumers are increasingly drawn to locally grown, seasonal flavors, and seasonality in cocktails is no different. For Fall, trendy seasonal flavors include apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, robust whiskeys, brandies, and aged rums. Add a local flair with ingredients found only in your region. I enjoyed a huckleberry mule in Washington a few weeks back, a drink I was drawn to simply from the local huckleberry vodka it entailed. Make a signature fall cocktail as a promotion to draw even more excitement from guests.

4. Gearing up for New Year’s Eve early

It seems the anticipation of New Year’s comes earlier every year. And with customers planning ahead and looking to buy the early bird tickets, this year is no exception. We’ve already started seeing venus publishing their events and selling tickets online. So if you haven’t started yet, nows the time to start planning your New Year’s Eve extravaganza and getting your event and tickets ready for consumers to purchase. Follow these 7 steps to start selling tickets to your NYE party.

Get started on Vēmos now to handle all areas of your venue — from events, to tickets, to reservations — in one platform.