There are myriad technologies that influence customer venue selection. They aren’t all what you think, either. Sure, social media, restaurant, nightlife, beer, spirit, and wine apps are important, but many simple forms of tech can also impact a potential guest’s decision to spend their time and money at your bar or nightclub.
Let’s get this out of the way because we’re all familiar with the importance of social media. If you’re not – and we don’t know how that could be possible – here’s a quick recap:
- Social media is the new word-of-mouth.
- When setting up profiles for your bar or nightclub, use the same username for each channel.
- Your social media marketing should include content your target demographic can share so their friends and followers can discover your bar or nightclub.
- Shout about new menu items, promotions, special events, etc., across all of your social media platforms.
- People do not hesitate to complain about a disappointing or bad experience.
- If someone complains about your venue via social media, do not respond with hostility. Take a moment to gather yourself and then respond with professionalism, asking what you can do to make it right.
We could discuss the pros and cons and our love or hate for specific review sites all day. The bottom line is they’re not going anywhere, consumers enjoy using them, and we have to commit to dealing with them with professionalism and savvy:
- Search for and own your review site profile. If there isn’t one, make one before someone else does.
- Make sure the information is accurate. This means venue name, address, phone number, website, email address, hours of operation, etc.
- Upload your menus.
- Do not respond angrily to bad reviews. People are watching and judging your replies – be professional, apologetic, and eager to correct disappointing experiences.
Your website still matters. Social media is fun but people still go to company websites looking for contact information. Websites should be optimized for mobile devices, simple to navigate, contain easy-to-find contact information, have your menus, and allow users to make reservations. Yes, even bars can benefit from a reservation system; they’re not just for restaurants anymore. If a potential guest can’t take a look at your menus ahead of their visit or make a reservation, they may go to one of your competitors who fulfills both of those needs.
Digital wallets offer convenience and are being adopted by more and more users every day. The best wallet apps allow users to store their credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and even shopper loyalty cards. Tech-savvy guests expect their favorite venues to accept mobile payments, so seriously consider adopting this technology at your bar or nightclub. Customers who enjoy adopting cutting edge tech will be more likely to come to your venue if they can pay with their phone. The top mobile payment apps are:
- Apple Pay
- Android Pay
- Samsung Pay
Whether we like it or not, many guests want to be connected online at all times. It can take away from the overall experience to have their face buried in their phones while out at your bar or nightclub, but not giving guests access to Wi-Fi can hurt your business. If you want to require a guest to order a drink or open a tab before giving them your Wi-Fi password, that’s up to you. Some operators just leave their Wi-Fi open; the choice is yours. If your guests have been complaining about a lack of Wi-Fi you may want to do something about it.
Can your guests charge their phones while they’re at your bar? If not, consider installing either standard or USB outlets. You can place them in the center of tables, walls above or just below tables, and under your bar. If none of those options are appealing you can install a fast-charging station (you’ve probably seen them at airports) or opt for wireless chargers, like those made by Powermat. You’ll have to decide what works best for you, your bartenders and your guests, but not allowing people to charge their phones can impact your business negatively. With today’s customers being so reliant on their mobile devices, the inability to charge their dying phones could keep them out of your bar. Plus, you don’t want your bartenders being asked to charge a customer’s phone behind the bar; too much liability and too much of an inconvenience. Your bartenders have enough to focus on – they shouldn’t have to worry about your customer’s phones.