While owning a bar or a nightclub might be a lifelong dream for you, you also may know that nightclub owners are experiencing challenges unprecedented in the industry. Since the 2008 recession, not only have consumers cut out dollars spent on entertainment, but nightclubs have had to deal with increasing competition from neighbourhood restaurants offering drink specials, live music and happy hours. According to a U.S. industry report in IBISWorld, trends show the nightclub industry is headed for a rebound through 2016, but to succeed, you'll need to find promotions to set your club apart from the crowd.
Offering special promotions on the drinks you serve can attract a crowd. Creative drink promotions, such as offering deep discounts for small increments of time or offering only certain types of drinks on certain nights, can create a buzz. Consider offering targeted specials such as a martini hour, a mixed-drink night or specials on imports or domestic beers. Attracting crowds on weeknights can be difficult for nightclubs, so you may want to consider incorporating drink specials into days of the week that traditionally draw low crowds.
Events, from contests to live celebrity appearances, can provide your nightclub a spike in traffic, especially if you are reaching out to crowds you may not normally attract. Contests could include the typical nightclub deals such as bikini or wet T-shirt contests, a hottest bartender contest or a dance contest. However, you can draw-in a new crowd with events benefiting charities or special groups. Hold a fund-raising event, a celebrity bartender night or a talent show, with some of the proceeds going to charity. Those who came in to support their cause may have also just found a new hot spot. Also, take advantage of events going on in your community, such as supporting a local sports team with a pep rally. Seasonal parties, such as a Christmas or Spring Break party, are also effective ways to reach new audiences.
Live bands, especially those with large followings, can set you apart from the nightclub around the corner. Whether you have a live DJ to spin records or a live band to perform, live music can also help you develop niche, targeted audiences. If you are primarily a dance club on the weekends, host a blues fest on a Monday or a reggae band on a Wednesday. As you develop targeted nights, you'll expand your audience to include more than just the regulars.
With social media, you can directly target those you want inside your doors through e-mailing, texting and social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Make sure to develop a hip website and have an active and honest Facebook page. You can use Twitter to announce impromptu specials and drink nights. Encourage your patrons to communicate with each other on your social media sites to meet at your nightclub, and make sure to market your social media sites throughout your nightclub, listing your website address, your Facebook page address or Twitter account on napkins, on signage and even on the T-shirts of your wait staff.