Words by Kavina.
They say that you’re as good as the company you keep, and this sentiment finds resonance when it comes to the relationship between hospitality venues and their customer base. If they love you, your people shall come.
But besides being impressed in your ability to wine and dine them, customers' needs go beyond the superficial aspects of good customer service. In order to thrive and remain true in the hearts of your attendees, it pays to take the time to get to know who they really are beneath the surface. Give them the thing that’s missing in their day to day, and you’ll have their loyalty for a lifetime.
Here’s a few reasons to make sure your demo’s on point.
Don’t be good, be great… at anticipating your clientele's needs.
Sure, at its core we all know that hospitality entails the enticement and reception of guests in the venues we call our homes. We entertain, provide service and essentially offer patrons a reprieve from pouring the drinks, doing the dishes and deciding what to cook for dinner that night. We offer a little getaway from work and the mundane, deliver options of immersion into local culture and cuisine, and give our communities a chance to foster relationships outside of their normal hub. The exuberance and joie de vivre is often found when sipping a beer at your local, listening to some bands and then slipping off for a late dinner before heading home, and that’s just a Thursday.
But how do we know that our customers are on Struggle Street by hump day and in need of a live music pick me up to get them to the end of the week? Or that Karen down the street needs a major time out from the kids to come and host girls night on a Thursday but you guys don’t play any music she can dance to? Your customers love that you specialise in tapas but they just want to order a pizza from the guy down the street and drink your wine at the same time while listening to some music from the lounge a few doors down. This is where you come in with your hero cape and save the day.
With great power comes great responsibility so get your demos ready
Not your demo mixtape but your demographics, which can be just as powerful if you take the time to do your research and better understand your audience. Besides the obvious amount you’ll save on ill fitted advertising techniques and unattended music shows, having a better grasp on what makes your clientele tick will help you to provide them with better service, figure out how best to reach them, and entice them to spend time at your venue.
Besides the obviously diverse inner city culture, suburbia can be a little tricky to navigate but also completely dominate if you take the time to get a snapshot of the land beyond your pocket of the woods. Older generations with children will appreciate family-style table seating with menu’s catering for their kids, whereas a younger generation is happy to jump up to the bar, listen to loud energetic music and appreciate a food and beverage offering as diverse as their music tastes. One demographic may be a little tamer than the other, but with the right information and overlapping interests, you could seamlessly bring together two worlds with the right formula.
Define your demographics, then check your psychographics
Marketing research usually classifies consumer demographics by referring to attributes like age, gender, education, income, and other socio-economic factors, whereas psychographics delve deeper into consumer attitudes and motivations behind their habits. The life experiences of the 25-35 year age group is going to be significantly different to that of the 40+ group, including how often they go out to eat and where their responsibilities lie.
Since the younger generation dominates the hospitality scene, it pays to understand the evolving demands of Generation Z life. Not only are they fully navigating life through social media, but they are advocating for social change and gender identity, highly motivated by self expression and immersive hobbies and thrive in technological advancement. They also have a far more flexible work/life balance because of alternative career paths, so are likely to frequent your venue at odd hours and around a jam packed social calendar which includes interests from networking events to rock climbing meetups - knowing them it’s probably a ‘network while rock climbing’ event.
Once you’ve taken all of that into account, compare your results to motivations behind attending a venue.
Considerations such as the location of your venue, access to public transport, the other attendees who already frequent your haunts, the musicians which play for you and the crowds which they draw will help you to piece the whole picture together. Do you have students in your vicinity who like to blow off steam? Young work professionals who have just purchased their first homes and are looking to get more involved in their neighbourhood? Maybe you’ve got the superrich moms clubs who come and take up space out the back on a weeknight in pursuit of a Thursday night disco once they’ve put the kids down at 7pm.
Once we get a handle on the psychographics behind your demographics we can start to come up with solutions to consumer conundrums such as wanting to attend live music. Imagine the 40+ age demographic punter with family responsibilities, who would come out, but finds that live music starts too late in the evening for them, or there isn’t sufficient parking. Sometimes, what feels like an issue, actually sounds like an opportunity.
Across the board, the Live Music Office 2017 study found that music was a priority for attendees, if there was a way to fit it in amongst their initial responsibilities. Besides that, factors like awareness, feeling encouraged by venues to participate as well as the obvious amount of choice they had in the area were major considerations that may be overlooked.
Regardless of the rise and fall, music and venues will always be at the top
The glue that holds us all together is the community's love for music, with 64% of the population attending free music events on the regular, and 79% from Live Nation’s 2017 study stating that their live music experience extends past the event itself.
Statista recorded a debilitating drop in the live music market from an $862 million industry to 86 million in 2020, the predicted increase to 203 million by the end of the year and a full recovery by 2024 shows the speed in which the industry can start to snowball. If we set aside social distance and travel issues, we will still be able to measure a growth in more venues turning to live musc as prior to COVID the Australian industry was growing at a rapid 33% per year according to Live Music Australia’s 2017 Ticket Attendance and Revenue report.
Most live music attendees do so locally
You’re not flying under the radar, as the live music sector is the biggest stakeholder in hospitality, and 80% of attendees will check out live music locally. Yes, that's right, the bulk of live music attendees spend their time listening to live music in small venues, on a regular basis. Live music is a lifestyle, and while concert tickets continuously escalate in price and the industry grows by about 30% annually, across the board, small venues will never go out of style, because live music entertainment is considered to be a way of life. To further illustrate the point that ‘if you have it, they will come,’ punters interviewed in a Live Music Office 2014 Cultural Impact of Live Music Survey said they were not afraid to travel for music, and didn’t mind extra costs surrounding an experience because they consider it an investment. Damn, that’s dedication.
You’re spoiled for choice, across the board all genres are popular
Contemporary music will never die, and record holder shows in the past years include Paul McCartney, Guns N’ Roses and Ed Sheeran which crosses over with classic rock and pop music’s general dominance of major interest. The younger crowd are the driving force behind artistic genres like hip hop and electronic music, while classic rock and associated genres share equal dedication from young and older generations according to Statistas’ latest stats on global consumers' listening preferences.
Your customers view music as the vibe of life
Overall, customers listed reasons such as health, wellbeing, social capital, optimism and inspiration to achieve goals as reasons which motivate them to participate in live music events as a lifestyle. This confidence and sense of community is also a driving force behind why venue owners push live music in their venues, likening it to the fabric of society which they believe they have the responsibility to push, regardless of profits.
Live music makes us all feel good, it helps us foster relationships and fuel our individualism. When you walk into a live music event, the vibe is infectious, and unlike any other social experience in terms of bringing us joy and automatic stress-release responses.
A study from Fikentscher, 2000 went as far as to define the concept of a vibe because it was so relevant when consumers described the atmosphere and their feelings about an event within a venue space. The vibe is crucial, but what constitutes the feeling is different for every demographic, and the one common factor which goes beyond the size of the crowd. Venue owners agreed that overall, what they rated as a great night in the industry far beyond tickets sold and dollars pocketed was the vibe in the venue.
Ain’t no thang, so get those demos’ on point and cement your spot as Kings and Queens of your neighbourhood. Your loyal subjects will thank you by dancing, being merry, and carrying on way into the nights. Yes, we mean nights plural,because that’s how much we believe in you.