2016 has been a prolific year for the evolution of the nightclub and bar. We thought we’d take a look back on the year’s biggest nightlife advances, and reflect on the crazes to have swept the circuit as we wave goodbye to 2016. Did you miss any?
The season of reflection is upon us. Did I do enough to further myself this year? What have I reeeally accomplished? Did I really need to have eaten that? You know, the usual terrifying notions that rattle around our heads this time of year. But reflection needn’t be an uncomfortable thing. Especially not when we stop to think about all the amazing advancements in the bar and nightclub industry from this past year. With advances in mixology, events, customer service and tech, the industry is at its most exciting and what better way to celebrate than with a walk back through some of the years’ biggest trends and successes. You know, just so everyone’s up to speed.
2015’s technological boom saw really imaginative and efficient approaches to marketing and sales, meaning savvy venues saw impressive revenue spikes. Everyone lost their minds over the ‘millennials’ and their apparent obsession with gadgetry, so consequently invested a load into appealing to a demographic that later became very self-aware and concerned with distancing themselves from technology. No one saw that coming. The Nation was overcome by it’s sweet tooth, with the introduction of dessert bars and cereal café, Cereal Killers. It was a bizarre, but nevertheless progressive year. One we weren’t sure we could top. But nightlife, you surprise us once more. Here’s what you may or may not (shame on you) have learnt from business booming this year...
Towards the end of ‘15, clubs were reaching out to independent events firms and promoters to host even bigger and better parties than ever before. The biggest and most prevalent number of events were thrown in honour of seasonal holidays and live bands and/or artists. In 2016, everything changed. This was no longer the case, and consumers began partying each and every night of the week, so clubs had to up their hospitality game big time. This meant that clubs needed to have exciting events and activities planned the whole week through. Whilst it was fantastic for numbers on ‘slow nights’ like Thursdays and Sundays, it meant a whole lot more had to be invested in planning, marketing and ticket selling platforms. Treating every night as an event, meant that venues could then begin to sell inventory prior to the event such as tables, entry and bottle service. It also presented the opportunity for tiered pricing brackets: pre-bookings at one charge and door prices another. This obviously meant great things for sales figures, and also gave venues much more of an incentive to invest in publicity, seeing venues become far more active on social media. As a result of this, a great deal of customer service moved across to social media platforms, paving the way for a more conversational consumer to business correspondence.
With customer service becoming much more accessible over social media, the younger demographic were more inclined to offer feedback and reviews. What was noted from this, was that impolite employees and lack of engagement on a personal level was the main reason for not attending bars and clubs more often. 2016 took that feedback and ran with it. Many venues chose to implement CRM systems which allowed them to reach out to their consumers directly, using stored info like names, emails, birthdays, interests and so on. That such data was taken and stored by the CRM system from online booking forms, and consequently used to make the entire bar or club going experience much more personal. It enabled venue staff to greet guests by name as they arived, rand have a whole list of the customers’ purchase history at their fingertips. At a bar, think how much more effective ‘The regular, Tom?’, is to ‘How can I help?’ Marketing also went super personal because of this. These digital systems were able to target customers with events and activities specifically of interest to them based on data. Smart right?
The number of vegans in Britain has had a whopping 360% increase in the last 10 years, and the year 2016 saw the highest number of Google searches for veganism. People are now hyper-aware of what they’re ingested, and consequently, food and drink sellers have had to adapt accordingly. As people now have a whole wealth of information at their fingertips in the form of the internet, bars have had to be far more concerned with what is really in their drinks.That has meant that this year, we have seen a big emphasis on healthier, organic and origin conscious produce and a slight break down in the harsh business to consumer divide. Businesses now seem to be far more transparent in what they’re selling us, and bartenders (sorry ‘mixologists!) a whole lot more clued up, treating their drinks more as chef would their culinary masterpieces. There has been a lot more fresh, local produce known as the ‘farm-to-table’ movement as well as use of own-brand mixes made on site, such as bitters, syrups and grenadines. Of course we still continue to go crazy for craft beer.
Admin is boring. Finally someone cottoned on. Many venues are now taking on software to streamline all of their humdrum business bits and pieces into one place. Incredible technology can now take care of staff training, bookings, marketing, payments, guest lists, inventories and even complaints. It’s essentially like having additional staff, without any risk of human error. It also means you’re free to ensure your customers are happy, but focusing more on the personal interaction element of management. Aside from management software, technology can also now do wonders for venue publicity, by calling upon the help of external applications. The close of the year has seen a surge in video marketing via Facebook live, some even investing in Snapchat geofilters so people can spread the word that they’re there. Genius.