If your venue offers the experience your guests are looking for, they’ll come back. If they come back regularly, your business will become stable. If they come back regularly and bring their friends, your business will become popular and profitable. For venue owners who are just starting out or are hoping to increase their customer base so they can run at 100% capacity on the nights that matter the most, here are our top tips:
Have something other venues don’t. Nowadays, that often means buying the latest in digital wizardry or having a dance floor that spins customers around or ties their shoes for them. If you don’t have the means to get hold of 8ft dancing robots, you might want to think about smaller touches that will still get your customers talking, like being able to tweet song suggestions onto a wall, or allowing your guests to show their ID on their smartphone.
Be a sociable brand. Clubs are where people come to socialise – they want to interact with other people. Choosing your venue to do it in becomes far more likely if your brand is putting itself out and about on social media, rather than limiting your reach to the physical space your venue occupies. Fabric London does this rather well – being able to reach out to 118,000 people for free can’t hurt either.
Drip feed your fans. Unless you are turning people away every night due to being at capacity, it may be better to not open every night, or to have low key nights mixed with more extravagant affairs. Laying on special nights once a week or even just a couple times a month helps to build antici…………..pation.
More people, faster. Having people wait outside while your venue isn’t full is a major cause of lost profit – cut the queues. A slick ID process, like having scanning machines, will increase the pace here but be mindful of what it is your customers really want versus what you want. For example, guests may just want to show that they are over 18 years old, so might not be thrilled that their full driving licence is scanned and recorded. And of course, a machine can pick up a fake ID, but not a false ID. A human is best for that, which is why we recommend the next tip:
Train your staff to tears. Security, bar staff, ticket booth, maintenance crew – they will all play their part in giving your club a great atmosphere, more so than any fancy gadgetry. So hold regular training sessions and partner new starters with star performers.
Ask for sound feedback. Ask your guests about the volume and the quality of the music they hear. Tinny, cheap speakers will give the impression of being in a cheap environment while music that is too loud or too soft will give the impression that you haven’t made enough effort to perfect something that is a highly important element, and one that is relatively simple to do well.
Respect customer privacy. Especially if you’ve managed to attract some high profile customers. Building a reputation for preserving privacy and providing a safe place for people to relax can be the difference between being just ‘another club’ and ‘the place to be’. As licensing laws become more complex and local authority demands increase, privacy suffers. At the very least, try to avoid a situation where just entering your club feels like going through airport security.
Whether your guests are there to chat, dance or sit quietly, covering the above points will show them that you’ve put their interests first. Always remember: a customer that feels valued will become a valuable customer.
By Alex Harvey
Ask me anything: @alextharv