Describing the Nightclub & Bar Show to someone who’s never been there can leave me almost speechless (I’m always speechless when I come across an industry pro who hasn’t attended; don’t they want to grow their business? But that’s another column…). The show floor is a commotion of sights and sounds, tastes and experiences; the conference program is a watershed of ideas and solutions; and the nightlife is, well, among the best the industry has to offer. Check out our show recap video on nightclub.com to see for yourself.
The video and our show coverage in this issue (page 12) give a pretty good idea of the goings on in Vegas in early March, but to really understand, you’ve got to experience it firsthand. While my body is exhausted after the show, my brain is revved up to the highest gear. You don’t spend three days talking, tasting, learning, networking and, yes, seriously partying with the best in the business and not learn a thing or two. Among the snippets I picked up at the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Show:
High-tech needs to meet high-touch. We’re in a people business, serving a tech-savvy customer. From apps to iPad-based reservation and drink-ordering systems, our customers clamor for tech but still need great guest service. Operators who find the sweet spot where both work in tandem will win.
Flavor matters more than ever. The Boutique Spirits and the Craft Beer pavilions on the show floor were jammed, as was any booth offering a truly unique taste experience.
Taxes equal death. There’s nowhere left to run: Alcohol tax proposals are on the rise, and if we don’t fight them, we can kiss more sales and profits goodbye. Get involved, now.
Dare to be different. Electronic cigarettes, digital jukeboxes, flexible furnishings, peanut-butter vodka — anything that changes up your business makes it more attractive to a fickle clientele. Do something new once a week to stay relevant. Then tweet about it!
For more ideas to keep you top-of-mind with customers and to run a top-notch venue, read this issue carefully — we’re tapping into everything from green drinks (page 25) to handling patrons behaving badly (page 40) and mobile marketing (page 18) — and also hit nightclub.com for Web exclusives. Then, mark your calendar for March 12-14, 2012. Trust me, you don’t want to miss the next Nightclub & Bar Show. To those who were there this year: Thanks for attending! Let me know what you learned and put into action, and how it’s working.
See you at the bar!