Navigating the Personalization Shift

This is what nightclub and bar technology should do for you. Image: pmcdonald / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Your customers have gotten accustomed to the savviness of online businesses sending recommendations based on past habits and reminders based on timing. It’s personal, it’s experience driven, and now your guests are driving that change within nightlife. They expect personalized service, and are making decisions on where to go because of it.

Now it’s your turn to navigate this shift and provide the personalized experience they have come to expect. But how do you do it? The best thing you can do is find a system that encompasses all areas of your operations into one dashboard. This is what allows you to see transparent data across sections, as well as gain deep insight on all your guests.

When you use separate tools for each area (ex: one system for reservations, another for tickets, another for guest list, etc.), you’re only getting one chunk of the total picture. Data lives separately and you only see information on some of your guests, not all of them. And that makes all the difference when keeping up with this personalization shift.

Here are a few core tools you’ll need to set yourself up for success, followed by recommendations on how to get your staff to execute.

 

1. Guest Database

A survey conducted by Accenture discovered that 85% of their participants are willing to provide their information to trusted retailers in exchange for targeted, personalized information. Use this to your advantage. Your customers are not only willing to give their information to you, they’re conditioned to do so. This is especially true when pre-purchasing items online. There are systems specifically for the nightlife industry that are built with your guest database at the core. Now, you can use guest list, ticketing, or reservation forms on your site so your guests not only begin to buy in advance (note: more guaranteed revenue), but also so you can collect their information and have it sync back to their profile in your database.

You can also capture this information during your night at your door using a digital ID Scanning system. That way, you’re able to safeguard your venue by having a tool to help check IDs as well as collect data on every customer who walks through your doors. And when you connect this to your point-of-sale system, you’re able to unearth even more valuable information. This means you have a database of all your guests, including name, contact info, 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.

 

2.  Segmented Marketing

With your database, you now have a complete buyer persona for all your target customer segments, including demographic, geographic, and psychographic information. This means you have the opportunity to get personal with your marketing. You can send a specific message catered to a specific group of people, such as sending a birthday text message to anyone celebrating a birthday this week and inviting them to celebrate with you. Or you can target customers who have attended a certain event in the past, and send them an exclusive invitation to an upcoming similar event before tickets are released to the public.

Making your customers feel like you’re aware of what’s happening in their lives, or that you understand their interests, is what makes your messages personal and powerful. They’ll feel like insiders and will naturally establish a deeper connection with your venue. This also helps to make sure the time and money you’re spending on marketing is spent wisely and giving you a return on investment.

 

3.  Staff Execution

Your personalization shouldn’t stop at marketing. You can and should keep this experience going the second your guest gets to your door. This is where staff execution comes into play. Remember, technology is a tool to help your staff raise the level of their service; it doesn’t replace your staff’s efforts. Make sure you train your staff on your system so everyone is using it correctly, and know what cues to use to raise their level of personalization.

Greet your guests by name when they arrive. If you see that a particular customer is a regular general admission guest who comes to your venue every week, upsell them to a VIP table and provide a complimentary bottle of Champagne as a thank you. Or, offer them their first round of their favorite drink on the house at the bar. This costs you very little, but means a lot to them. It’s a simple gesture that’s perceived by the guest as a premium, highly personalized level of service. It shows that person how much they are valued and entices them to stay longer, spend more, bring more friends, and come back more often.

 

Treating guests like the individuals they are and catering your experience to their needs isn’t hard. All it takes is a system that captures all your information in one place, your staff to use that system so it automatically pulls necessary information on the guests walking through your doors, and your ability to execute on providing that exclusive experience. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference to your guests and brings the most dollars to you. With all of this at play, you’re able to spend smarter, target sharper, and create an unbelievable experience for every person walking through your door.