Top 10 Ideas: Promotions Made Simple

Promoting your venue is crucial to its success. Owning the most unique and impressive club in the world is pointless if you can’t bring bodies inside. Robert Casillas, president of Monsoon Group Las Vegas, and Kalika Moquin, marketing director for the Light Group, led the highly informative "Promo Powerhouse: High Impact Promotions to Implement Now" seminar during the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show earlier this month on how to maximize club promotions. Here are his top 10 promo types, tips and tricks for filling your venue.

Rob Casillas

  1. Recognize that a party needs three basic things: “Big customers, or whales, who’ll comprise the bulk of your spending, (as well as) girls and locals. Locals are why industry nights are key; word-of-mouth recommendations from those in the know are how you drive solid foot traffic.”
  2. Remember that your business is in an ego-driven industry, and play to that fact whenever possible. “Promoters have huge egos, so if you can find a few local ones who are consistent and successful, put their names on your fliers and advertisements. They’ll love it and definitely come and bring their crew.”
  3. Leverage fame at every turn. “Throw a celebrity party every now and again. Don’t worry about who your celebrity is; UFC fighters are a huge draw now. The tier and cache of your talent doesn’t matter. When clubs pay someone like Paris Hilton $1 million for an appearance, the buzz lasts for a year in magazine photos, in media stories, in photos, on Facebook and on Twitter. You're really paying for the buzz, not the person. This model works on a smaller, more local scale every time.”
  4. Celebrate those who keep your club in the limelight on a regular basis. “Host a Recognition Party. It can be for anyone from local paparazzi and photographers – if you’re in a big market – to local media mavens, or for your magnums (top customers), or your bartenders. They’ll tap into their own social circles and make the events memorable and packed.”
  5. Let the consumer set the theme of your bash via a voting party or awards. “Top 30 Under 30, your club’s Honor Roll, Hottest Facebook Girl in your city, etc. Give your event a title, team up with a media outlet to do voting on their sites and give away honors and awards on-premise during the event. You can even highlight the media themselves by going after the top five outlets (bloggers, reviewers, etc.) and put them in the limelight. Do these events once per quarter. People will drive an hour in a smaller market for something like this.”
  6. Plan well in advance. “If you don't have a 12-month calendar spread out on a wall, do it now. Be like Walgreens and CVS. Three months out, they're promoting Easter because they’re on top of their scheduling. You should be the same way.”
  7. A drink special isn't a promotion on its own. “It's part of a promotion. All-inclusive drink nights are, though. Throw a ‘$10 on XX number of drafts and call drinks’ night, then tell me everyone in town won't be talking about your night. After that critical mass reception, pare down to $5 for a top-shelf drink special.”
  8. Make sure your materials are top notch. “No one wants to see a shoddy flier, electronic or otherwise. This is often the first point of contact with a customer so make it as slick and professional as you can.”
  9. Take care of the women. Once the women are set, the guys will come. “This makes ‘dress up’ promos extremely feasible. Organize a 'Sexiest Shoes' contest, or a 'Best Little Black Dress' contest. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s effective. Also, look for any opportunity to reach new local women. For example, note when spas are closed and throw the staffers a party the night before because that's their night off.”
  10. Remember that successful nightlife is predicated upon real human interaction. “Facebook and Twitter blasts are fine and effective, but never more than when you slip a card in the hand of a guest. That personal touch will keep them coming back time and again.”

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