Nightclubs and Music Venues – Major Changes Needed For Survival
Nightclubs and music venues are reeling from a major stretch of government mandated shutdowns and social distancing. As states began closing brick and mortar businesses throughout the country, nightclubs and music venues were first on the list. Without massive adjustments in the way operations are conducted, these two may be the last to reopen as well.
Nightclubs and music venues are built for massive, up close, very personal social interactions. They rely on large crowds gathered together in very tight quarters. It’s nearly impossible to create the ambience needed to run a successful nightclub and enact any semblance of social distancing. The same goes for music venues.
Many social economy experts predict that it’s highly unlikely nightclubs and music venues will be able to safely open without a vaccine for COVID-19.
From a global perspective, we’ve seen China open some venues with extremely strict safety protocols. Temperature checks are required before a person can enter and surfaces like bar and table tops, dance floors, and counter tops are disinfected constantly. South Korea was forced to reverse its decision to reopen nightclubs after a major spike in infections linked back to venues that had opened in Seoul.
The United Kingdom has been experimenting with reopening nightclubs under major reduced capacities. And here at home in the United States, we continue to see inconsistent waves of reopenings with restrictions being lifted in states like Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas.
So what can the nightlife industry do to keep the party going? First and foremost, it’s time to get creative. Really creative. Let’s look at nightclubs and some strategies they might use to help get the party started once again.
Adjust, Adjust, and Adjust Some More
There may not be a more intimate setting than a nightclub. People come and dance together, drink together, eat together. If there ever was a social venue where the word “together” was embodied, the nightclub seems to be it. As we’ve mentioned in our previous articles, the entire world is trying to hit an invisible, moving target called COVID-19. In the meantime, we must try to keep people, industry, and markets moving. For nightclub owners, that may mean rebranding, adjusting your hours, engaging new audiences, and offering new attractions that appeal to a larger base of patrons than usual.
We get it. You’re a nightclub. How do you rebrand a nightclub as anything other than a nightclub? Well, think about your rebrand as applying makeup instead of getting a facelift. Your patrons and their friends still want to visit your establishment if it’s safe. And there are probably quite a few people out there who would happily visit your establishment if you offered something of interest to them. Get creative. You may advertise an amazing craft cocktail experience for small parties. You might transition the projectors from laser light shows to feature length movies and offer watch parties. If you have a kitchen, you could think about doing a small, very attractive tapas menu with artisan drinks paired to perfection.If there ever was a time to think out of the nightclub box, it’s now.
Adjusting Your Hours With New Offers
This may seem simple and benign, but adjusting your hours to include expanded times for patrons to visit your establishment could help keep your foot traffic at a steady pace and keep your cash flow moving. As we mentioned above, craft cocktails, food menus, and movie nights could be good ideas for the time being. Renting your space for intimate events could also help bring in revenue.
You may think about broadcasting sporting events. Fantasy Leagues are still going strong for all of the major sports. You may rent your space out and broadcast games so that Fantasy Leaguers can come together. This is only one suggestion of many smaller groups of people who come together for social events. Put on your creative cap and think about how you can offer new ways for people to gather in your venue. Depending on your financial status, you may want to adjust, adjust, and adjust some more until you find revenue streams that work during the pandemic.
Music Venues And The VIP Experience
There is possibly one thing, and one thing only, that is acting as a life preserver for music venues at this point. They are usually pretty darn big. At the same time, that life preserver probably has a hole in it because big venues take a lot of capital to keep running.
So what can music venues do to get people coming back through the gates? For lack of a better term at the moment, we’ll call this the VIP Experience. And we’re starting to see this idea manifest in outdoor music venues around the country. Red Rocks, the world-famous amphitheater for bands and fans alike in Morrison, Colorado has changed it’s music line-up to a movie line-up during the 2020-21 season, bringing back the Drive-In Theatre theme and they’ve managed to sell out several events already.
Many proactive, indoor music venue owners are looking to create “VIP like” spaces throughout their establishments. This would allow everyone who attends an event to get the ‘very important person’ feeling while maintaining a safe social distance.
As with nightclubs, music venues are now pressed to get creative in a major way. As with all things involved with the pandemic, it’s hard to project what the outcomes and fallouts will truly look like for some time.
Regardless of how creative venue owners become, there still remains the unfortunate chance that a venue has reached critical mass and won’t be able to keep the doors open. We’ve seen so many iconic music venues being forced to permanently shut their doors already.
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