We talk a lot about mixology, music, lights and ambiance in this industry. After all, this is the recipe for your party. And while all of them are important to running your venue, there’s one component that stands out as the true MVP to your success: data.
It may seem dry and boring, but data is the key to business. Your party is what brings people into your venue; your data is what allows you to put on better, more profitable parties to continue driving people in and boosting your revenue.
Here’s how you can capture and use data to be your most valuable player.
1. Collect Information About Your Guests
Today’s Reality: Nearly every nightclub and bar has an estimate of how many guests walked through their doors on a given night. What they don’t know is who walked through their doors. They get people in, serve them, and let them walk away without knowing anything about them.
Data’s Fix: Get away from the paper guestlist. You can’t capture data with paper. Instead, use a system to handle every aspect of your door process, including checking guests in on the guest list, counting general admission walk-ins, serving VIP reservations, and selling/checking-in guests who bought a ticket to your event. Using one system to handle everything allows you to collect data on every type of customer who walks through your door. And when you connect this to your point of sale system, you’re able to unearth even more valuable information.
MVP Status: Now you have a database of all your guests, including their names, contact information, 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. This means you’re now able to better identify your guests, upsell them before they walk through your doors (hint: more money), and provide personalized service (so they spend more money).
2. Increase Marketing Results
Today’s Reality: Venues end up spending marketing dollars on mass marketing efforts (or sometimes no marketing at all), blasting vague messages to a broad range of people who may or may not be their customers, all because they don’t know who their customers are.
Data’s Fix: With the right system, you can have a complete buyer persona for all of your target customer segments, including demographic, geographic, and psychographic information. Use this to your advantage. As an example, you can segment your audience into a list of females who attend your venue on Friday nights and spend at least $100. You can then send a text message to this list with a message that’s 100% relevant to them. That’s powerful marketing.
MVP Status: You’re no longer wasting marketing dollars on efforts that don’t convert. Instead, you’re able to drive your most loyal customers back into your venue with personal messaging, you’re able to establish a healthy mix of male and female guests, and you’re able to drive customers who haven’t visited in a while back through your doors. Better marketing results in better guests, which results in bigger spending.
3. Improve Operations
Today’s Reality: Nightclubs go into each night without an accurate idea of what the evening will hold. When you don’t know how many guests will arrive for a night, it’s hard to plan and staff accordingly. VIP tables get double booked, the door gets bottlenecked, and staff aren’t communicating to solve the issues. Your guests notice this, and it hinders their experience before they even walk through your door.
Data’s Fix: Systems improve operations, provide metrics, and instill accountability. When you use a single system to sell tickets, manage VIP tables, manage your guest list, and handle general admission walk-ups, you’re able to know how many guests you can expect to arrive. This then helps you staff accordingly and plan out VIP tables. It also helps to streamline your door and optimize your lines.
MVP Status: Putting a bit of strategy and organization can help your speed of night, improve customer morale while waiting in line, and get people through your doors to start spending money inside your venue faster. Plus, when your door system ties to your guest database, your staff is able to treat each guest with respect and a more personalized service. This in turn means they’re more likely to enjoy themselves and want to stay (and spend more money while they’re there).
4. Know Your Business Results
Today’s Reality: Most venues don’t have the right data to get an accurate gage of how well their venue is performing. Without the right system in place to analyze this data, venues are operating blindly and wasting time and money on areas that may or may not be working.
Data’s Fix: 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 period of time (and who they were);
- how many table reservations you have over a given time period, and how much you earn on average;
- when your customers start buying tickets to your event;
- and which staff members are bringing in the most guests (and biggest spenders).
MVP Status: Venues we work with have seen an average uptick of 30% to their bottom line after switching to a system backed by data. That’s because they know exactly what’s working and what is not, which allows them to spend their money more wisely. They also improved their operations to get their 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 guessing and could be leaving a lot of money on the table.