How to Be Innovative in Nightlife Today

In the nightlife industry the doors to a venue can close almost as soon as they open. The average club-goer recognizes that the lifespan of a nightlife venue is roughly one year. Why is that? Characteristics like location and resources dedicated to obtaining talent play an integral role in this, but it really all boils down to one word: innovation. As quickly as entertainment and technology evolve, so should your business. If you don't keep up with the times, you'll pay the price that thousands of venues in the past have paid. Rather than taking a philosophical angle on this topic, I'll break it down into four simple categories you should focus on with the help of an industry expert.

The Equipment

First and foremost, the digital bells and whistles that help run your business are essential to its success. According to Eugene Abreu, founder of nightlife consulting and design firm Little House Big Idea, the equipment you and your team use has a direct impact on the venue's monetary achievements.

"This includes, but is not limited to, [software for] guest list management and reservations, point of sale systems, photographers with social sharing capabilities on site, data collection, admission and a staff management system," says Abreu.

The Talent

Big names bring in big crowds – that’s no secret. But unless you’re a colossal seven-figure revenue machine, it’s tough to book some of the big, globally recognized names. Booking the right talent is key in keeping your venue relevant among its audience, says Abreu, and one should never overlook up and coming talent. That’s when you strike – just as the artist’s momentum is building. Those are really the shows that are memorable in the long run.

“Whether it’s the hottest DJ out in your city, someone who just put on a new single that’s ‘hot’ on the radio, or a known artist that is going to be in the area – take those bookings,” he says, “With the right systems in place you will be able to capitalize on these opportunities, and not the mention, possibly trend on Twitter.”

Which leads us to the next point…

The Platforms

If there’s one aspect of innovation in relation to technology that’s changed the face of nightlife in the past decade, it’s social media. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram give the edge to any new nightlife venue – should they use it properly. In order to thrive in today’s fast-paced and quickly evolving industry, it’s imperative to be as much of a tastemaker on social media as you are in your talent buying.

“The power of social media and the different platforms that are used to build excitement around your club are a big determining factor,” Abreu says, “Getting more people to see and hear about your spot is key. Nightclub directory sites – national and local – don’t really make a dent. People usually go for recommendations through friends or people they know or revert to social media. Make sure to make your mark and get as many people talking about you on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat!”

The Focus

While this does apply to every nightlife strategy in the book, I’ll go ahead and be redundant. Yes, technology, entertainment and social platforms are important factors that play into innovation. But it’s essential to stay focused on your target market. What they’re listening to, wearing and consuming are areas that your venue should play off of through its offerings and party formats. Keep up with all of these things. Be the venue that falls into the innovator category.

“[These businesses] want to do things differently. They go big or go home and take risks,” Abreu says, “They’re leaders. If you’re not a leader in your industry you will most likely be a follower and the lifespan of followers is short.”

Don’t be a follower. Get the insight needed to succeed at the NEW Nightlife tack at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show.  


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