Gone are the days of manually consolidating multiple guest lists, VIP names, table reservations and even ticket lists onto one overflowing clipboard. A software company called VenueDriver has aggregated all of the (previously) aggravating things about nightclub database management into one easy-to-use program and Apple app. Lance Craig, development manager for the Las Vegas-based company, breaks down the concept and the endless advantages it offers:
NCC: How do you sum up your product?
Craig: It’s an internal management system that takes care of all of the annoying things operators used to have 20 systems to do. It condenses your guest list, reservations and ticketing information and puts it live on the Web, which you see it anywhere in the world.
NCC: How does it work?
Craig: We turn on an account for you — whether you’re a venue or an event-production company. You’ll give all of your staff their own login, and they can make reservations for tables instead of doing all of the Excel spreadsheets and Word documents. Now, whether you’re on a smartphone or laptop — no matter where you are — you can email in guest lists and reservations. Everything is then entered into the central database system and can be pulled up on a smart device right at the door.
NCC: So when someone comes to the door…
Craig: It’s just like the Apple store. Our software is designed to work with a company that makes scanners for iPods and iPads. So whether you’re scanning a ticket for an event or just checking in for your table, everything is talking in real time to the system. Let’s say you’re a club owner from Vegas, and you’re in the South of France. You can see what’s happening at your venue in real time. It also gives you the flexibility to add people to the guest list, and the people working your door will see that addition within five seconds. It gives ownership a whole new way to see and edit things on the fly, and you don’t have to be in the same country to make it work.
NCC: What’s the cost to implement VenueDriver?
Craig: The cost is $400 a month, which covers all of the system integration, ticketing and reservation forms and everything else you’ll need. The only thing the venue pays for beyond that is the iPads or whatever hardware they’re going to use. Essentially, it costs $92 per week to streamline your entire operation.
NCC: What are the other pros to using your system?
Craig: You can see instantly exactly what your staff are doing. It monitors their social networking on Facebook and Twitter. Each member has an affiliate code they use when promoting your events so you can see precisely how many people clicked on it and how many of those clicks were converted into actual sales; what the real end result of their efforts are. You can also see which promoters' tables showed up, who had the most no-shows, who’s clients spent the most money and so on.
NCC: It tracks sales, too?
Craig: We have a module that plugs into any POS system where it translates the consumer’s data, and records of sales are transferred over to that client’s profile on our software. You can see brands and rings, what they most like to order, how long they stay, what time of night they spend the most. We ultimately want venues to go back to liquor suppliers and be able to show precisely how much business they’re doing and be able to ask for sponsor money to continue the relationships. It’s all about that information.
NCC: That setup would also give you valuable customer data.
Craig: The biggest part of it is the customer information; the CRM backend. Now you’re able to see which clients come for what events and tailor your outreach for future invites. If you know a customer always buys Grey Goose during house music nights, when he arrives on a house music night, you know exactly what to have waiting. It gives a whole new level of ease to database management.
NCC: Who are some of your marquee clients?
Craig: For physical venues, we have 1OAK, PURE Nightclub, LAX, Trousdale, Temple SF, REHAB at Hard Rock, Greenhouse NYC, LIV Miami, and WALL. But we also work with event companies and even artists. Tiesto and Paul Oakenfold use our ticketing capabilities to do their own thing. We’re seven years ahead of Ticketmaster, in terms of technology, so our system lets venues or artists do their own marketing and sales. They can even brand the tickets if they want. And of course, hardware can be modified to scan those tickets.
NCC: Sounds like the only drawback is if you forget to charge the iPod or iPad.
Craig: [Laughs] Yes, but since those batteries typically last 16 hours, all you have to do is remember to plug it in once a day.