Promoters, bar managers, bartenders, barbacks, servers, and security staff are essential positions that every nightclub operation needs to fill. However, having a dedicated director of marketing is crucial to a nightclub's success. What exactly does a marketing director or director of marketing do? Great question. Luckily, we were able to reach out to one of the best in the business who happens to work at one of the hottest nightclubs in the world - Intrigue inside Wynn Las Vegas - to answer that question for you.
Steven Lockwood came to Las Vegas from Seattle to attend UNLV as an architecture student. After two years, he decided to take the route of fun versus being a studio rat. Lockwood says he wasn’t very good at school, and the only thing he really excelled at while there was throwing parties. After the first one he threw, Lockwood knew that this is what he wanted to do for a living. Lockwood worked in the UNLV entertainment department and passed out flyers on cars as a sub-promoter for another promoter. After turning 21, they started promoting for RA Nightclub at The Luxor. He rose through the ranks from promoter to VIP host very quickly. Soon afterward, Billy and Noey Richardson gave Lockwood a promotion to Promotions and Marketing Manager. After being there for three years, he moved over to Light Group to work for Sean Christie and Marklen Kennedy, where he helped open Jet Nightclub at The Mirage. Lockwood was there for four years when and was promoted to VP of Marketing for all the Light Group venues at Aria Hotel and Casino. One of his tasks was to book Tiësto, David Guetta, Usher, Katy Perry, Flo Rida, and Drake, among other top names in music.
After a year at Aria, Lockwood decided to take a break and moved to Los Angeles to work for Matt Bendik at Voyuer. He grew into the Hollywood scene quickly and decided to spread his branches to work at Avalon Hollywood. He then opened up his night at the Bar 2 10 at The Beverly Hilton. After pretty much a year of tomfoolery and spending all of his money, Lockwood decided to move back to the scene he really knows and loves best: Las Vegas. Sean Christie hired Lockwood to become Marketing Director for Encore Beach Club and Surrender Nightclub, then promoted him to become Executive Director of Marketing for both venues before he took on that role and title for Intrigue Nightclub at Wynn where he is today.
When did you first take on the role of marketing director?
I was formerly marketing director at Encore Beach Club and Surrender, where I worked for the last five years before advancing to become the venues’ Executive Marketing Director. I created and spearheaded Encore Beach Club at Night (the Thursday night pool party). It was so successful that we added an additional night on Fridays…the only Friday pool party on the Las Vegas Strip, regarded as one of the best pool parties in the world. After last year’s season, I took on the executive marketing role at Wynn’s newest nightclub, Intrigue.
Prior to moving into this role, what was your experience in the hospitality industry?
Prior to joining the Wynn and Encore Nightlife team, I was with Light Group. I held the position of Marketing Director of Jet Nightclub and VP of Marketing for Light Group venues at City Center. From there, I took a year off and went to Los Angeles. After returning from Los Angeles, I took on the position of Executive Marketing Director for Encore Beach Club and Surrender.
How does your past nightlife and hospitality experience help you perform your duties as marketing director?
I got the Ivy League education in nightlife working for The Light Group under Andrew Sasson, Sean Christie and Marklen Kennedy, and learned the art of operations from James Reyes.
As marketing director for a high-profile nightlife venue, what are your responsibilities?
My responsibilities are booking and programming talent, working with the DJ division, filling the calendar with events and parties, coming up with conceptual parties for the local nights, getting all creative collateral designed and approved, and putting together venue/DJ merchandise, among other duties.
What resources do you use to successfully market your venue?
In this day and age, you have to be very savvy with the digital side to help optimize all your events.
What marketing resources are essential to your job functions?
Having a creative imagination and understanding digital marketing.
What do you believe you do differently than other marketing directors that sets you, your team, and your venue apart from the competition?
All the venues at Wynn and Encore are different and the best in the world. Encore Beach Club is the best day club/pool party in the world. XS is the best nightclub in the United States and, some even say, the world. Surrender is the cutting edge room with the newest and coolest music. Intrigue is the sexiest mystery in today’s market.
What recent marketing campaigns that you’ve implemented are your favorite?
I would say the Encore Beach Club at Night (pool party) is by far my crown jewel.
What advice do you have for nightlife professionals interested in entering the role of marketing director or otherwise taking on marketing responsibilities?
Your network is your key to success. Marketing is a lifestyle, not a career.
What marketing advice do you have for nightlife venues operating in small markets?
Use your resources to your advantage. The best parties are the ones that are made up and tailored to the environment/city. Also, being able to identify the key customers/clubbers/bar hoppers in your market will do a lot in the long run for the venue. Constantly collect data. I think a fun thing that all venues should start doing is to get a hot point photo booth. That is one of the easiest ways to collect data and publicity due to the fact that people will be posting those pictures all over social media. You will get data that is real and be able to work with it right away.