A new day dawns in pub entertainment

Technology is opening up more options for licensees, say specialists

2 men with a tablet in a bar
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in entertainment, firms said.

AT a time when pubs and bars are arguably under more pressure than ever to differentiate themselves from their competition, the ability to provide customers with a memorable experience has become increasingly important.

And as the concept of a unique selling point becomes more desirable, firms have argued that even a small entertainment offer can help venues create a point of difference.

“Licensees and venue operators need to achieve ongoing improvements in footfall,” said Bina Sitaram, head of business development at Mediatheme, the firm behind touchscreen entertainment system The Entertainer.

“Entertainment, in all its forms, is an obvious way to do this.”

There’s no shortage of entertainment options for licensees to consider, from live sport to music, pub quizzes to themed events.

Technology provides many opportunities to enhance the customer journey.

“From weekly pub quizzes to a one-off celebratory party to a well-considered music offering, entertainment in any venue is a fantastic way to engage with new and existing customers,” said Andy Hill, chief executive at digital music and entertainment firm Startle.

“Using entertainment to create positive memorable moments – those that stick in a customer’s mind to encourage them to come back – is essential to creating loyalty and repeat custom.”

As with so many aspects of life and business, technology has opened up a range of possibilities to licensees with regard to entertainment.

While pubs and bars still have the option of booking live music acts or arranging a traditional pub quiz, they now also have the choice of introducing a range of different entertainment through apps or digital services.

“While many people often feel that technology can damage the experience by distracting consumers from the present, an integrated technology offering provides many opportunities to enhance the customer journey,” said Hill.

Entertainment, in all its forms, is an obvious way to achieve improvements in footfall.

Both firms argued that digital solutions can make licensees’ lives easier by allowing them to provide a number of different types of entertainment through a single system, rather than having to source equipment/acts, etc. separately.

Sitaram at Mediatheme said technology “allows licensees to take total control of their entertainment rather than paying third parties to provide music, entertainment, discos, quiz nights, casino nights, etc.”

Digital systems are also able to be regularly updated, said Sitaram, allowing for the addition of “the latest chart music and customer requested songs, the latest video hits, new and classic karaoke tracks, new quiz question and new karaoke books”.

And systems that interact with customers’ phones also allow venues to gather customer contact information, which can in turn be used to market the outlet in future.

“Operators can also capture customer data to encourage repeat visits with special offers and promotions and drive additional purchase through snap offers when combined with integrated digital signage,” said Hill.