The nightclub business can be a rough. With a plentitude of competing venues, and with customer tastes in constant flux, the average half-life of a bar or nightclub is all too brief. Survival can depend on your ability to stay ahead of the curve and be in tune with your customers’ ever-changing demands. In short, you need to be constantly aware of what’s in and what’s not in order to remain vital. Here is a brief compendium, in three parts, of some of the emerging and continuing trends in the industry, just a few things to look out for in 2012 and beyond:
Part 2 of 3: INTERNET & TECHNOLOGY
Online reservations. Online reservations will continue to experience modest growth. While not a rapidly growing trend, the use of the Web to find where to go to eat and drink has become so common a Web presence, and a listing in Zagat, Opentable and other where-to-go sites is crucial in attracting new customers
Going mobile. Google projects that mobile devices will overtake PCs as the most common Web-access device by 2013.The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets makes it imperative that Websites be mobile-friendly. As many of these devices either do not support or have trouble playing Flash content (which has become a staple of restaurant, nightclub and bar sites), you would be well-served to optimize your site to take advantage of the rapidly growing number of mobile users who rely on their iPhones and iPads to find where to go for a drink or a bite.
Social media. The growth of social media continues. Twitter, Facebook and Google+, alone, boast a combined 1.5 billion users. Moreover, social media sites will become a key component of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) algorithms. If you’re not already using social media as a marketing tool, it’s time, perhaps, to start. It’s often said that the best form of advertising is word of mouth. What social media does is combine the credibility of word of mouth with the reach of mass media. In fact, the social media’s reach far surpasses that of any form of traditional mass media. Given this, it may make sense to hire a social media manager to help promote your store.
Electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are becoming more and more ubiquitous. These electrical devices, which produce a flavored aerosol mist that simulates tobacco smoke, have become popular both as a way of quitting tobacco and as a way for smokers to kinda feed their habit in places where actual smoking is prohibited. Expect e-cigarettes to become a more common sight in bars and nightclubs in 2012. Also expect them to be sold more widely in drinking establishments. Not only do these devices provide an added revenue stream, they may actually have the added benefit of keeping smokers inside and drinking.
Tablets. By the end of 2011, nearly 34 million Americans owned iPads and other tablets. With new, less expensive tablets going on themarket, that number is expected to grow 63% in 2012, and by 2014 it’s predicted that 90 million Americans (or a third of the population) will own a tablet computer. Expect these devices to be adopted more broadly in the hospitality industry—not only as a (POS-integrated) replacement for the wait staff’s order pads, but as enhanced menus (with photos, ingredients, the calorie count of foods, suggested wine pairings etc.). Many wine bars and restaurants are already using tablets as a replacement to traditional wine menus. Tablets also provide an opportunity to provide cheap entertainment, in the form of interactive gameplay, to bar patrons.
DMX lighting. LED’s and new, cheaper and simpler-to-use DMX lighting software will allow owners of restaurants, lounge bars and nightclubs to modify the look and feel of their stores with greater ease, without having to overhaul the entire architecture. Whether as means of creating an entirely fresh look or as a way of changing mood lighting to match an event, a season, or a time of day, you’ll begin to see DMX lighting used more widely to create a fresh look and feel.