The nightlife industry was facing strong headwinds even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Club attendance and foot traffic was dropping and building loyalty among club goers was difficult. Wayne Shulick, a nightlife expert with loads of experience in the Philadelphia and Los Angeles nightlife scenes, believes there are still opportunities for nightclubs, but they must use tech to engage patrons.
“Some club managers look at technology as the enemy,” Wayne Shulick says, “because young people often seem buried in their smartphones. But if a given population is tech savvy, you can use tech to engage them.”
Consider how popular food ordering apps are. According to Upserve, delivery and online orders have grown 300 percent faster than dine-in orders since 2014. Consumers like apps. So how can nightclubs use apps to facilitate orders? Wayne Shulick has some ideas.
“People hate fighting at the bar to put orders in,” Wayne Shulick notes, “so why not use an app that allows them to order drinks from your bar, right to their table. No more lines, fewer hassles. This will help you and your staff.”
Social media is also important for nightclubs. Instagram and other photo websites are now immensely popular. Instagram has roughly 1 billion active monthly users with over 70 percent of them being under the age of 35. Wayne Shulick advises making your club photo friendly with special, enticing areas for people to take photographs.
“You can set up backgrounds and views that make for enticing photography,” Wayne Shulick suggests. “People will take photographs of your club, providing you with free publicity. And if the areas are properly branded, you can grow your brand.”
Wayne Shulick Talks Apps and Emerging Nightclub Tech
So what apps are available? One of the biggest nightclub apps is Discotech Nightlife, which is available on iPhone and Android phones. You can check entry prices, reserve VIP bottle service, and more. Through guestlists, customers can also get free tickets and entry.
“Discotech Nightlife is one smart and well-designed app,” Wayne Shulick says. “I suggest every club owner look into using it. And I suspect we’ll see more apps that offer great features in the future. It’s smart for club owners and managers to survey the app market once a month or so to see what’s available.”
Technology evolves rapidly. Just 15 years ago, smartphones weren’t even a thing. Now, many people spend more time on their smartphone than on their computer. Social media platforms were also much smaller 15 years ago. Now, nearly everyone is on one social media platform or another. Wayne Shulick advises nightclub managers to watch emerging technology trends.
“There are some interesting emerging technologies, such as Night Chain, which uses a nightlife oriented cryptocurrency to engage and reward club goers,” Wayne Shulick points out. “It’s smart to keep an eye on these technologies and if they gain momentum, jump on sooner rather than later.”