Social, political and data-driven predictions from the industry experts for the coming years’ bar and nightclub crazes. Make sure you’re equipped and in the know about what’s hitting the scene, in 2017.
By definition, ‘trend’ indicates something that will pass. It can sometimes, in which case, be tempting to not waste energy trying to keep up and just do what you do best. However, the danger in doing that, is that you then find yourself swimming against the current and before you know it, you’ve missed an entire social movement. Remember when everyone was reluctant to ditch signature cards for Chip and PIN? Then everyone was up in arms about your PIN being scrapped in favour of contactless payments?
Staying on top of what’s new and exciting is exactly what will keep your venue thriving in an unstable economy. Trends aren’t like buses, you can just skip one and jump on the next one. The point is that they implement small changes that then, collectively, add up to big forward bounds. They help drive your business, moulding it to better fit the current market.
So enough of the preamble, let’s get stuck in shall we? Here is what is sweeping nightlife in 2017...
Due to the rise of citizen journalism sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, Facebook reviews and Twitter’s 2-way customer service; consumer awareness is at an all-time high, and people’s expectations? Well, they sure are too. It’s now not just enough to ‘go out’, or watch something. We want to be in it. We want something exciting and unusual, that envelops us and our senses. With the mass success of themed pop-ups such as Backyard/Secret Cinema and activities like Interactive Crystal Maze (whose tickets are now booked up until March) we anticipate the bar and club circuit to adopt much more of an immersive angle on events. We’re bored of UV and foam parties, perhaps murder mystery will segway into the mainstream. Perhaps we’ll be invited to brew our own beer on site. With Augmented and Virtual Reality making big bounds, too, we wonder if that’ll find its way onto the hospitality circuit. However interactivity can be incorporated, we’re sure to see a lot more of it.
Seeing as 90% of people with digital video recorders skip TV ads, if advertising companies want to even remotely be seen, they’re needing to weave themselves seamlessly into content. There’s no point fighting it, our digital footprint is out there for the world to see and smart, tech savvy businesses are capitalising on it. We’re now seeing different, non-traditional approaches to marketing surface and sponsors are cottoning onto this, too. Geomarketing is but one example. Geomarketing is location based marketing, using not only where you explicitly tell people you are (Facebook tagging, Foursquare, Geotagged Instagram images etc.) but also where you don’t. A lot of apps now run GPS in the background, so by accepting their T&C's you agree to let them know where you are even with the app closed, providing the marketing professionals with worlds of data to play with. It’s nothing to fear though, a lot of the time it actually proves pretty handy to have a bar or nightclub suggested based on what you like and where you are in the world. This, guerilla marketing and automated outreach should see a surge in 2017 as companies become more aware of the tools at their disposal.
Brexit. Clinton Vs. Trump. The world is divided, and therefore opinions are flying left, right and centre. Regardless of how people may stand to oppose them, people are wanting their voices heard. PC is out, and socially, things are getting a bit more risqué so we predict nightlife to embrace a little more of that. Tongue and cheek themed cocktails, entertainment and ideas are sure to be on the rise. We’ve already seen a fair bit of political backlash in the form of protests and sit-ins, so we expect nightlife to draw from this zeitgeist with angsty entertainment and other rebellious activities breaking out from the norm. Venues are now more free to unleash their creativity - however controversial - so expect more artistic themes, bizarre decor, and non-traditional menu formats. One venue in Sydney - Dead Ringer - has ousted the idea of having a cocktail menu entirely, instead mass-making super fresh daily batches of a singular cocktail using seasonal produce. Stuff your menu confines, these guys are marching to the beat of their own drum, and where one goes, others are sure to follow.
Here’s one that we’re sure comes as no surprise. Cocktails have been a slow, steady and safe (!) investment for years, with one in five venues now serving them as standard. But being safe isn’t going to drum up much business, or media buzz now, is it? As consumers explore the scene for more adventurous variations of their favourite bar and nightclub tipples, menus are really pushing the boundaries to keep up. This year alone has seen launches of some of the most bizarre concoctions, inspired by the likes of bacon, marmite and perfume. Your bog standard mojito just isn’t cutting it anymore so menus are quickly filling up with frozen, draft and savoury inspired cocktails. Venues such as ABQ, a molecular pop-up bar inspired by TV smash Breaking Bad and London’s multi-sensory bar, Purl, are exciting cocktail enthusiasts with some very inventive creations. Drinks are now more than a thirst-quencher, they are an experience all on their own. So expect menus to get far more dynamic and unpredictable as the year progresses.
Whatever it is that inspires you this year, remember to keep a close eye on the social and technological advances, and if you have an opportunity to incorporate them in any way (on site or with regards to marketing strategy) then do. You will only be doing your venue a disservice by not, as many other businesses will that that leap of faith. People will always be enticed by the novel, and bit by bit, your inventive thinking will begin to build a reputation for being fun, fresh and current. That’s the thing with trends. They keep moving, so you’re going to need to, too!