Ahead of the Curve: 2016 Bar and Nightlife Predictions

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It’s that time of year again where everyone is writing about their 2016 predictions and trends, and we’re no exception to the rule. After all, staying on top of ever-evolving trends is one of the best ways to make sure your venue stays ahead of the curve.

In 2015, we saw a leap in technology tools, marketing tactics, and ways to make more revenue. We also went through myriad mixology trends and tips for dealing with millennials. This year’s going to evolve even more, as nightclubs continue to stay relevant in the millennial-driven technology world.

You’ll have to opportunity to learn about current and future trends at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas. Register now using code SAVE30BARNEWS to receive $30 off your pass!!

Without further ado, here are the top 4 trends for nightclubs and bars in 2016.

Event-like thinking

Events are a big reason for success in the nightclub and bar industry, and toward the end of 2015, venues began to think outside the box. The 2 most common types of events are for major holidays and for musical acts. But now we’re starting to see venues treating every night — even the average nights — like an event. This allows them to get the most out of every night. They pre-sell inventory before each night, including VIP tables, drink packages, and even cover. This pre-sale revenue not only guarantees money in the bank, but also guests through the door. It also builds buzz around a common night and elevates the venue to one that is highly desired. Increasing the prices of their inventory at the door incentivizes guests to buy ahead of time and bring their friends along with them. Then when it comes time for a traditional event with a musical act, they’re already ahead of the curve with marketing and selling efforts.


Millennials have indicated rude staff and a lack of personalization as reasons for not frequenting nightclubs (along with several others), and we don’t blame them. That’s why in 2016, it’s more important than ever to capture these guests by treating them with personalized customer service and marketing messages. Using a digital guest management system that’s backed by a CRM system allows you to collect and review important information about your guests. You can use this information to greet them when they arrive at the door and even upsell them based on their past visits. You’re also able to provide your guests with hyper-targeted marketing messages to get them into your venue through this same CRM system. Simply filter your guests into different audiences and send each audience messages that are specifically relevant to them. That’s marketing and customer service that is 100% on target with their habits, and that’s what’s going to make you stand out.


Cocktails and beverages are always changing based on the season and latest trends. In 2016, you can expect to see more specialty beverages entering the game, such as: cocktails with fresh herbs and spices, global infused beverages, spiked-tea cocktails, farm-to-table concept cocktails, elegant garnishes, and, of course, the continuation of craft beers.

Systems & Processes

Systems and processes are boring, but they’re essential to the success of your nightclub or bar. And in the past couple of months, we’ve seen venues turn to technology systems to streamline their operations and train their staff on the processes. This is a critical transition, and one that will provide longevity for any venue. When you have the right system in place, you’re able to be more efficient and drive more revenue to the bottom line. You’re also able to focus on what’s most important: giving your guests a great experience every night. When your staff is trained on this system, you’re able to run efficiently regardless of turnover. So what once was a manual process with room for human error has become automated with much needed data. That data is what’s going to provide you with the right information to continue driving business through your doors. As a recent Nightclub & Bar article stated: “Digital services can streamline, sync, track, organize, and maximize your business by boosting efficiency and, in turn, revenues.” 2016 is your year to make this change and see bigger growth.

Whitney Johnson's articles are provided by BookBottles and she will be speaking at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Make sure to check out her session on more Marketing Tools to Drive ROI.


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