Do You Know Your Nightlife Audience?

From the bar and the front door, to the music and the staff, there are a lot of characteristics in a nightlife venue that require your attention. But one thing's for sure, they all revolve around one aspect of the business – the element of your day to day that can either make or break all of the efforts that you've put into your business – the guests.

Nightlife Audience / Nightlife Crowd

If there's one thing an owner or manager needs to be in tune with when it comes to a nightlife venue, it's the patrons. Prior to even contemplating the more granular aspects of starting or operating a business, the concept of a particular audience comes to mind.

Whether it's an upscale venue with old-school flair, a "hole-in-the-wall" that features underground tunes, or a contemporary cocktail lounge, chances are the personalities that frequent your establishment will have something in common. It's your job to recognize those traits, and slowly tweak your venue's offerings to cater to them.

The first step is to recognize what guest segment you'll be able to attract to your space, says Jay Shetty, business development and brand director for RB Hospitality Group.

After producing branded events for the likes of Universal Music, Gansevoort Park Brunch, and the recently opened Celcius in Bryant Park, Shetty's familiar with a range of audiences.

For anyone trying to get a good grasp of their patrons, he recommends understanding trends, cultures, and "the ever changing environment of the consumer."

"A successful venue or operation creates and offers what the patrons think they want and need," Shetty says.

One aspect that really cultivates the audience and shapes how a venue is perceived, is the music.

"With the advent of social media branding and the heightened importance of DJs and their individual brands, music programming is key to shaping the perception of your venue," he says. "Music selection can alter your crowds, and have a huge impact on your revenue streams."

While there are a slew of different "crowds" out there, trying to cater to everyone could have a negative effect on your venue.

Rather than trying to please all, Shetty thinks it may be best to focus your efforts on "a smaller spectrum" which could lead to more success.

"That could still include producing an event or venue program which focuses on a diverse crowd," Shetty says.

If you're new to nightlife and are in developmental stages of opening up, it may be smart to take the "anthropological perspective" that Shetty sticks to.

Balancing cultural diversity that's weighted by a high female percentage has always worked for him.

"You have to create a culture within these events where people can feel the energy and they feel that tribal necessity of belonging to something that is being created," Shetty says.

The use of various event tools and connective props assists in connecting patrons to an event experience, he added.

"New York City has a beautiful dichotomy of inclusion and separation," he says. "I try to find a balance between the two."

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