Entertain change to break from the pack

Expanding range of options can set venues apart, say firms

• Unused spaces, such as storage rooms or meeting rooms, can be converted to create a private hire entertainment space such as a karaoke room.
• Unused spaces, such as storage rooms or meeting rooms, can be converted to create a private hire entertainment space such as a karaoke room.

IN an ever competitive marketplace, it seems a strong entertainment offer can help a venue stand out from the crowd.

And as operators prepare for a year peppered with top tier sporting events, now could be the ideal time to go the extra mile to ensure your venue is ready to reap the rewards.
Craig Straton, account manager for on-trade equipment supplier Sims Automatics, advised licensees to make sure their entertainment equipment is up to scratch ahead of the major sporting events this year.
“January and February are traditionally quiet times following the Christmas and new year frenzy,” he said.
“It’s therefore a good time to look forward and get prepared for what is up and coming later in the year.
“Firstly, 6 Nations rugby, then Commonwealth Games and the World Cup later in the summer.
“Venues will want to make sure that the customer’s viewing experience is the best it can be.”

Music can be utilised by venues to build an atmosphere that represents their brand.

Alison Dolan, deputy managing director at Sky Sports, agreed with Straton, highlighting the importance of providing the “ultimate live sports experience” for fans.
“Building an occasion around sporting moments provides an opportunity for operators to differentiate themselves, attract new or different customers and increase dwell time,” said Dolan.
Operators could also benefit from broadening the number of sports screened at their venue, she said.
“Pubs that enjoy the most successful returns from including sports in their entertainment offer generally appeal to a broad range of customers,” added Dolan.
But there’s more to entertainment than live sport and when it comes to building a venue’s identity, live music can be instrumental, according to Laura Ferguson of music licensing body PPL.
“Within a competitive marketplace, music can be effectively utilised by venues to help them build an atmosphere that represents their brand, while also helping create a point of difference,” said Ferguson.
“Presented with the many benefits that it can bring, music has to be an important consideration for businesses.”
David Mundell of Mundell Music agreed that music can be an asset to a venue’s entertainment programme with the capacity to boost business for outlets during the quieter times of the year.
Mundell, whose firm currently runs live music events in a number of pubs, said live music has the potential to create an “all year round business”, but stressed that it’s not a quick fix.
“Introducing an entertainment programme from scratch can be a daunting prospect,” he said.
“Like any business you must set out your plan with costings and objectives.
“Ensure that your staff are fully involved to ensure that you succeed.”
Any entertainment offer is of little use on its own, however, if customers don’t know where to find it.
Mundell suggested promoting entertainment across digital platforms as a means of not only building awareness, but also as a vehicle to promote other aspects of the business.
“Your plan has to include marketing and promotional activities and incorporate this with e-marketing and all aspects of social media,” he said.
“Your marketing should include email capture and a full e-marketing campaign with social media.

Private hire spaces offering entertainment can generate revenue from special occasions.

“You can then cover all aspects of your sales activities on the back of your music programme.”
And even those with an existing entertainment offer can often find room for improvement, said Franceska Brown, head of business development at karaoke machine supplier Lucky Voice.
“Look for dead space – storage rooms, upstairs areas in need of refurbishment, meeting rooms not used,” said Brown.
“These areas can be converted into revenue-generating private hire spaces, giving the venue an area to offer birthday, hen, stag and corporate parties.”
Adding private hire facilities not only broadens the scope of a venue’s entertainment offer but also ties in with a trend towards “occasion-led bookings”, which Brown said are becoming “more and more the norm”.
“Customers are going out less but spending more when they do, and venues that can accommodate these groups with a strong entertainment offering will win,” she added.