Former 'Late Night Industry Enigma' bar/nightclub troubleshooter. Now, a social media manager for one of the top 10 UK PR agencies. I still tweet about entertainment and the late night industry @Troylinehan and give my two cents on Social Media too
Like it or not, Im on a mission this year to kill off ‘club-land’ style things and change UK Casino entertainment forever and for-better!
A strong statement there and I was actually not going to write this blog at all, but it’s what I believe so I thought I’d just put it out there and see what happens. It’s a fact that Casino operations in the UK are slowly starting to change, ever since the Casino legislation in the UK changed I fully expected companies to come forward and dive headfirst in to marketing, entertainment and start to highlight casinos as not ‘dens of iniquity’ but full scale VIABLE entertainment venues. Well they didn’t. It seems many are still living in the past and terrified to dip their toe in the water. For God’s Sake!! Jump in! The water is great! It is a fact that 99% of the casinos in the UK look at entertainment as an irrelevant part of the casino experience. They are dinosaurs! I’m now waiting for a fucking great asteroid to fall out of the sky and wipe you out. The Casino experience is changing and if you are not contributing towards this, you’d better think about it soon or go and live in Jurassic Park with the rest of the old dying relics. If you operate a large casino and are not thinking about your entertainment seriously then this post is aimed at YOU! You are responsible for changing people’s perceptions in this industry (your peers and your customers need this) so take the bull by the horns and lets get going! I will be blogging often on this subject because it is something I am VERY passionate about and I’d love to help you all achieve greatness in this area.
Do you host entertainment in your casino and see your acts/singers/bands on a tiny raised platform on the casino floor, playing in the background to nobody listening? You may as well cancel it all and save your money right? Wrong junior!! You are missing a marketing opportunity. Nobody cares for the following reasons -
1.The act is terrible (and I’ve seen a few over the last few years that should go back to stacking shelves)
2.You aren’t attracting a cross-section of people
3.You aren’t MARKETING (see #2. and you’d get those results)
For the casino industry in this country to move forward everything depends upon Marketing & Entertainment working together well. Your old school casino, providing sub-standard ’social club’ entertainment could care less and will die out in time. The smart casinos (and there are literally one or two in the UK) are the ones hosting great entertainment and promoting it well to pull in customers that wouldn’t nessarsarily use a casino. They are the venues opening up peoples eyes and showing them that you can have a great (entire) night out in a casino from Dining, Gaming, Entertainment, Cocktails, Dancing… You get the picture. I just want you to read this and think about if you are a casino operator who is moving with the times or are you one of the dinosaurs waiting for extinction?… If you are the latter, extinction will be coming in the next few years. Entertainment, Promotions, Music, Service, Food, Drink & Gaming… It all falls in to customer experience and if you can tick those boxes AND give the service that customers expect (go above and beyond) the ‘Gaming’ box will be ticked and your business will thrive.
If you are showing entertainment, ask customers what they think, get feedback, engage with people. It is your Entertainment Agent or Ents Manager’s responsibility to be providing/booking quality and it is the responsibility of the Entertainment to deliver!… They are in show business, not show hobby! But more on the actual acts in a future blog. This wasn’t just a rant. This was written to get casino operators, ents managers and marketeers thinking about how to move forward because as Bob Dylan said – “Times, they are a changing” and faster than you think.
I’d love to get to know you all and even help you along the way. You can follow me on Twitter @troylinehan, mail me firstname.lastname@example.org or just comment on here and I’ll reply. I’ve attached a link ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Undercovers-The-ULTIMATE-Covers-Band/339372203219?v=app_178091127385&ref=ts ) of a great new covers band starting to rip up the UK live entertainment scene. It would be great to see more of this type of thing in UK Casinos going forward. You can find out more about them on Facebook by searching for – The Undercovers – The ULTIMATE Covers Band.
I’ve always be impressed with the Michael Jackson moment that we did at The G Casino Coventry - UK for it’s official launch night. A great vid! Check it out as it took some planning!
Troy Linehan :)
I’ve had very little caffeine today, but the great ideas that ‘created me’ in the business (as it were) have come back!! I don’t know how, but they just have. I didn’t sleep at all last night because of it.
Im checking everything over in full to make sure that the idea will be viable, but it’s all looking good on paper. It’s time to overhaul the lot!
Catch ya soon
As an agent I am sad to say that in the past (through some fault of my own and some fault of a venue I was booking for) I did indeed ‘Screw an Act Over’… Now those are pretty harsh words, but I can look back on it now and even talk very openly about it to acts that I currently deal with… But that in it’s self is a totally different blog for another day and since then, years later, I have grown to understand this very interesting industry.
I want to talk about the venues and how the agents or entertainment managers for some of the well known establishments don’t ‘Book Smart’ when it comes to act placement. What I mean by this is that sometimes agents place any act in any venue without thinking of the venue in question i.e. demographics, the type of venue and the type of music. Sometimes, the key to an act working well in a venue is often down to the crowd watching and how they perceive things. My journey through the industry was a ‘trail by fire’, marketing manager/promoter/entertainments manager/lap dance club owner/general manager. PHEW!… The list goes on, but one constant remained, for nearly 13 years I have ONLY worked in the entertainment industry and despite the roller-coaster career, I have ALWAYS cared about what entertainment I was presenting or endorsing. The more I see certain agents, the more I believe the industry to them is just about their 15% or whatever cut they take. I can honestly say right now that although I work with many agents (and some are hard work) there is only one agent at the moment who I believe ‘gets it’. This is because she has had the advantage of working on both sides of the tracks and fully understands what it is like to be a performer. This same person is trying to build a brand in her name, very much the same way as I am trying to do. You see agents, every time you don’t think about the person or venue you are booking for, you are slowly letting your reputation (if you have one) slip. Sad thing is, Agents who do this go undetected as the venues that employ them don’t understand enough about entertainment to see what is going on. If you are a venue, I think it’s worth sitting with your booker/agent and asking why you have certain acts or the agents do things in a certain way, you need to understand!! There are too many acts who shouldn’t even be on a stage in the UK that are now slipping the net because they have an Equity Card and a PA System. Agents! It’s time to have some pride in what you are putting out.
Another aspect of this ‘Booking Smart’ thing was actually highlighted by a friend of mine, Jason from the band - Ultimate Madness Now, they actually have the luxury of being able to turn down gigs due to them being well established and being pretty darn awesome! Anyway, he said something very interesting when we discussed booking future dates. He said that the band only play in one venue per city… The reason being, he wouldn’t want to water down a cities fan base for the band - e.g. Playing a venue in London and then playing another venue in London the week after. Now hardcore fans may indeed go to both events, but many will choose between venues. It’s a catch 22 situation for the band, because obviously, the band needs to make money. However, if the band has one great night in venue #1 on the first week and struggles to pull a good crowd in venue #2 the following week, this could create negative publicity for the band. A band can be great, but most often, the people watching a band help create the energy and atmosphere and if that isn’t there then this can really affect how a band is perceived… It is also most likely that venue #2 (even though the band is great) won’t be booking them again due to a poor turnout. A venues marketing activities should also be looked at too.
The lesson here for agents and venues booking entertainment is a simple one. Keep an eye on your competition, find out what acts are coming up in your city and if there are any ‘clashes’ with bands playing within a 5 mile radius and within 1 - 6 weeks of your desired event. If there is a clash you could do any of the following -
- Head back to the drawing board
- Book & Market well in advance of the competition and become Venue #1
- Find other acts that don’t clash
- Innovate and create something totally new for your venue
What ever you decide to do, make sure it fits the customer profile of the venue it will be going in to. Don’t just book anything in to fill a date in your diary and get your 15%, learn about your venues!
That makes for ‘Booking Smart’
Thanks for stopping by
Twitter - @Troylinehan
Hey there all!
It’s been a while, but I’ve been really busy working on a few things. I received a mail at the weekend from someone who works on a few on-line projects. She told me that she had noticed that over the past few months I was pretty much living on-line and updating regular on Facebook. She then went on to ask if I had any on-line tips for Facebook and general business marketing.
I do… But I declined at the time to actually enlighten her in any way. You see, I knew I would be writing this and hoped it would get a read ;)
I’ve been working on the entertainment for a Casino company whos numbers had been rather low on a particular weekend night. Budgets had been cut and in an effort to save the entertainment program and stop it from being flushed, I said that it would be impossible to change the date of a particular act. That act would become a marketing project of mine and I would have 1 month and no marketing budget to prove that social media could help large venues with marketing.
- The Obvious Part - Time to get your friends involved. Yes, this is the obvious bit. My first step was to create a page for my event off the back of my actual Facebook Group for ‘Lady G’s Showbar’. Invite all the friends you can to the event (try to miss out the ones from other countries and people you know for a fact will have no interest) and in turn, get them to invite their friends. Send a message and an invite to everyone attached to the group too. Right, that’s them taken care of till the week of the event.
- I then tried to start discussions about music, the act in question and/or the showbar on my personal profile and on the group page of the bar. This was in NO WAY an advertisement for the event. It was done to build people’s interest in the brand/bar and to get feedback and (more importantly) to let people know that we were not just a ‘One-Way’ marketing page that would constantly blitz your page with info that you might not even care about. This group was about finding out what people like and actually engaging with them. Too often I see pages for companies where they are churning out events and marketing and NOT responding to customers or people interested in their brand. It takes nothing to respond to a comment. This is VERY important. People need to feel a connection with your brand.
- From there I looked in to Facebook advertising… Now this (like Google Adwords) can be a minefield and cost you lots of money if you don’t use it right. The great thing with FB Ads is that you can really target your potential audience. SPEND SOME TIME WITH THIS! My initial plan was to pay per impression and narrow the marketing web to the city and a 5 mile radius. I played around with low bids (when you use it, you’ll understand) till I found a figure that would get coverage but not break the bank. You see, the key is to say everything you want to say in your ad (but make it clear) so that people DONT have to click on it for more info, this costs.
- On the week of the event, I upped the ante and bid a little higher to increase the coverage, I also changed the picture to freshen things up. This again was almost subliminal advertising with a clear message. My thoughts were that if it was something that interested the customer, they would take note. I always notice the ads on my facebook home screen! Don’y forget to think of the age group, sex, and location of the people you are marketing to.
I’ve purposely made the above vague :) Every venue is different, but as I said to a friend last week, Im sure there is a business and marketing template for bar/club/music/casino venues and Im going to find it. My campaign cost me just over £30.00 and got me roughly 400,000 impressions (ads on people’s pages) per week. The average amount of people in to the venue on a Friday night was 600, last Friday with the added marketing we had just over 1100 people through the doors. Now Im sure that wasn’t a coincidence as it had been years since anyone saw the showbar that full. A newspaper advert for one day (Half Page in the local paper) would have cost around £300, a Radio Advert for the month (On a local station) would cost around ten times the newspaper advert and would be around £300 for just the creative and making of the Radio Ad.
In conclusion, Social Media advertising for your brand is not as costly as most mediums BUT it can consume lots of your time. If time is something you have and you like engaging with people on-line then marketing through Social Media is for you and beats Radio & Newspaper advertising hands down. Remember, this method may not be for everyone or any business but for venues (in my opinion) it’s a winner! The sad thing is, I’ve probably made someone their marketing bonus for the month. Oh well, feeling smug and a pat on the back will do for this time around…
Have a great week!
Twitter - @Troylinehan
I was toying with the idea of doing an audio blog and letting folks listen to my rants… But after I listened to one, it didn’t quite capture what I wanted, so I went away and thought “What would Gary Do?”… @GaryVee The Author of ‘Crush It’ (an incredible and very motivational book by the way) would get his words and feelings over through the medium of Video. So that’s what I’m working on right now.
But I wanted to touch on something that has frustrated me for a very long time while working in the entertainment industry. I call it the ‘blame game’
This is where an act or entertainment performance is booked in a venue, the show is solid, but there aren’t many people there to see it…
Who is at fault?
Company Directors like to blame the act or the booker OR EVEN the customers… The blame NEVER once falls on the shoulders of the Company Director, Marketing Director or Promotions Manager?… WTF?!
I mainly deal with Tributes and Tribute Bands and believe that no matter what, all forms of live entertainment that you use should be the very best that you can afford.* If you are putting on a show it needs to be perceived as something worth seeing from a customer’s point of view. So your latest Elvis show bombed?… Who is to blame?
Elvis?… He’s been dead for years, so maybe a tribute to the ‘King’ has no place in today’s world? Maybe if the show has been on before and was so terrible that nobody wanted to come back you could blame Elvis. But on a side note, you wouldn’t have re-booked it because the feedback from your customers would have told you it was a bad show (there’s another topic)
Nope, look closer to home at the people who’s responsibility it is to get the word out there and promote the show. I’m a big believer that in most mid-sized venues 300 - 800 capacity you could fill the venue with a niche act or something a bit ‘left-field’ if you just promote it right. There are fans for everything in this world and you just have to find them and tap in to their groups to make what you do a success… For every Lady GaGa fan out there, there’ll be an Elvis fan… your job is to find them, engage with them and show them something or pass on some info that may be of use to them. DON’T BOMBARD THEM WITH ‘INVITES’ or ADVERTS FOR YOUR SHOW. You also need to give this time! Don’t promote 2 days before an event and expect a sell out. 5 weeks? a few months? these are the time frames you need to work in. Have your promotion team plan ahead and equally, have your booker book far enough in advance to give the marketing side of things a good crack at it.
So Stop Blaming! Fire that promotional machine up and get to work
- Book your acts MONTHS in advance
- Allow 5 weeks - 5 months to promote your event
- You’ll achieve a poor response if you mail out a Facebook event invite ‘on the day’ (unless you’re a major brand like Starbucks)
- Promote through - PRINT (Flyers & Posters), ON-LINE (Fans, Communities, Facebook Events, Twitter, Facebook Ads) and WORD OF MOUTH (Talk to customers about what THEY want to see, tell them about what’s comming up… ALWAYS listen to feedback, good or bad)
- Make sure the entertainment you have booked is up-to-standard (you don’t want to get a full house and then put on a terrible show)
- Make sure your message is reaching the right people!!
Thanks for dropping by
Twitter - @troylinehan
*This could bring me on to another subject altogether, but I’ll save that for another day.