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.
So a quick check in from me today. As you may or may not know, I get to work with some great covers bands and tribute acts every single week. Mostly I have a great time and get to meet some fantastic people. I also get to meet some total douches along the way too. Im also sure that not everyone in that industry thinks fondly of me all the time. It’s just a ‘catty’ small world I guess.
Well this weekend, Im working with ABBA Sensation which (even though Im not an Abba fan) ranks up there as being one of my favorite Abba Tribute bands. Quick Abba Tribute ‘Fact’, did you know there are an estimated 73,000 Abba Tribute bands in the world? Nope? neither did I, I looked it up. But it’s safe to say that they all are keeping the economy running smoothly in the glittery spandex and wig sectors (if there even is such a thing)… My reason for liking them? They are young! Most Abba tribute bands who are established on the UK and international tribute circuit have been going for over 15 years! After that amount of time, the spandex doesn’t sit as well as it used too Im sure (Ask Hulk Hogan) so it’s nice to see a younger crew take on the challenge of being Abba. They are vibrant, they sound great all the way down to some rather strange ‘sweedish’ accents, I’ve never been so I’ll take their word for it. Bottom line is, it’s a great show and it beats the other older Abba acts in to the middle of next year. A friend of mine worked an Abba show at a large corporate event with another Abba Tribute (I won’t incriminate) and one of the leading ladies was SO OLD she actually had to be helped on to the stage. That’s just tragic! And the corporate organiser would have paid good money for that, my friend told me she had the life on stage of a Harold Shipman patient (look it up)
It goes without saying that Im all for younger people coming through on to this scene as that’s what it really needs. There are some Tribute acts that are timeless - Abba, The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Sinatra… the list goes on, but the tribute industry won’t unless the torch is passed or the gauntlet (so to speak) is picked up by a younger talent ready to give it all they’ve got. Yes! It’s a kooky industry, but someone has to do it. Take an artiste and put your own spin on things or even re-write the history books a little like Matt Goss (yes, him from Bros and Blade) is doing in Vegas > http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/videos/2010/jan/28/748/ < Anyway, Im looking forward to this Saturday when I work with Abba Sensation IMO the UK’s finest ABBA Tribute band, I believe you can check them out here - http://www.abbasensation.com/ stop by and show them some love.
Thanks for dropping by!
Hey there all, thanks for stopping by!
As some of you may know, today was the day in the UK where the government delivered their budget which shows us the ‘plan’ for the year ahead. Some predicted that this budget would also be used to try and keep power in the hands of the current government as the general election looms. Some businesses and entrepreneurs did well out of the budget but alcohol and the business of bars, pubs and clubs took it’s usual bashing by being delivered a 2% increase on alcohol duty and a 11% increase on cider. The late night industry in the UK is already in a precarious position with an estimated 47 pubs per WEEK closing down in the UK. Now, I moved over to the entertainment side of things years ago but have been known to go back to the other side of the bar and manage such venues from time to time. It’s no big surprise for those who know me well that this is something I am very passionate about. I’ve been a part of corporate late night companies and with many of them, I don’t see eye to eye. However, I believe in protecting the longevity of this industry as it is vital to a country’s economy and even a country’s culture.
So… Now to the bar & entertainment bit.
It will also come as no surprise that I am a huge advocate for live entertainment and getting THE RIGHT entertainment in to venues. It’s pretty safe to say that the late night industry took a knock a few years back with the smoking ban. Supermarkets and off licenses also dealt a blow by being able to sell alcohol at a MUCH lower price than bars. If I were the government, I’d bring those prices in line with the bars or create a national average to put anyone selling alcohol on a level playing field. And now with the added tax on alcohol, breweries will put publicans, lease holders and general managers over the proverbial barrel… You see, most lease holders are locked in to contracts that state that they can only purchase alcohol from the brewery it’s self. Sometimes the brewery will be charging 20, 50 and in some cases 80% more for products that can easily be brought at a lower price from a cash & carry. The contracts state that it is illegal to purchase from other suppliers, in many cases, taking legal action if a contract is breached. Some of these contracts exclude wine and soft drinks and say that this is the companies good will gesture. But we all know (especially if you are a lease holder) that this is not enough. I saw a quote earlier today which said “Change happens. To survive it, you must anticipate it; and to be successful, you must embrace it”. This was from an article written by Dallas Lawrence about how most big brands and companies are still NOT USING (or not using correctly) things like Facebook to get a business edge. You can read the article HERE. It’s a fact that pubs and bars a few years back were the ‘Facebook’ of their time, a hub for the community combining, Live Music, Chat, Games, Drink and Banter to all that visited. There are still a few venues like this and the reason they are still around is down to the passionate people who operate them. They invest their lives to make these places what they are.
So, what entertainment?
It’s also safe to say (although I hate to say it) that many venues who provide Live entertainment or any entertainment couldn’t give a damn about it. They see it a little bit like Field of Dreams and have the “If you build it, they will come” attitude… Screw that, If that’s what you think, YOU are contributing towards the decline of the industry and you think that you’ve helped?… pffft! get real will ya! You see, there is a big difference between just putting on a live band and showing Live Entertainment, the main difference being that one is ACTUALLY Entertaining. There are so many bands out there who will gladly play a decent venue for a crate of beer or £150. Now, if you are getting a full live band to play your venue for anything around that price, I’ll also tell you what your getting… a great big pile of shit!… It’s true. Live entertainment in the UK is filled with great bands, acts, tribute artistes. But for every great act, there are 10 terrible ones cashing in from someone’s lack of knowledge or lack of caring. It may seem like a great deal to you, you’ve got a band for £150 “Hey, I’ve put on live entertainment and it didn’t break the bank, that’s great right”? WRONG, Dummy! Your lack of caring could be damaging your brand more that you think. Don’t get me wrong though, open mic nights or unsigned band nights are a great idea if they are marketed as just that. You can’t dress an unsigned up-and-coming band as ‘the best live entertainment’ as that simply wouldn’t be true. I have a simple sum that works all of this out - SUM - Cheap Band = Cheap Brand. Your business will die in the hands of these terrible bands and ‘weekend Elvis’ as I call them, they are risking your money and your business. Customers pick up on this more than anything and they won’t be fooled. They’ll vote with their feet. Lack of caring will result in a lack of customers. Marketing can also be measured in this way. If your venue isn’t busy, you aren’t marketing it correctly or at all. Marketing in most cases is a small monetary investment but a huge investment in time and if it is your business you must invest the time. When I worked with Chicago Rock there were 64 venues ALL showing live entertainment every Wednesday night (a ‘slow’ night) it was introduced because the format worked. For many of the venues, they were welcoming an extra 500 - 1,000 customers on this quiet night, not just because of the entertainment, but because they had dedicated managers in the venue who cared about the products and pushed the hell out of each event. These passionate people were the driving force behind the venue. On the flip-side, there were venues wasting (in some cases) £2,000 on some acts only to never get a return on the bar. You’d walk in to the venue the day after and still find full boxes of flyers for the said event. They didn’t care about the product, had no passion for the business and the same successful nights that other venues had, wilted away when put in the hands of the certain venue managers. Marketing isn’t always who can have the best posters, radio coverage or a spot in the local or national news papers. As a business you should use the resources that suit your venue best. A combination of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace) and physically hitting the streets with flyers and promoting to businesses around you will work best and if you are doing it right, with the right entertainment, you WILL see a return on investment. If you follow these points as a venue, you cant go wrong -
- Customer service is vital (as a person you can singlehandedly enhance a customer’s experience in your venue)
- Entertainment - Bands, Tributes, Quizzes, Pub Games - Put quality and passion in to them and they create a fantastic atmosphere and most of all, will give people a reason to leave the house.
- Marketing - It has to be done, become the figurehead of your brand and let evenryone know what your venue is about. Most of all, do it with passion and belief in your product.
- Standards - Is your venue clean? Is your beer fresh? Are your bottles in date?
- Safety - Customers like being in a safe environment, is that your venue, or at least is it welcoming and feels like a safe environment?
- Products - Do you stock the popular products that people want to buy?
It’s now time for you to invest in your venue, with a little extra money to get the best live entertainment you can afford, to market the venue if it’s already doing the entertainment thing OR to do BOTH!… This is mainly an investment in marketing time after all and if you do it with commitment and use the best resources (there are some great acts, entertainment agents and marketeers around) you can rescue your venue and help turn the industry around. Hell, that’s what Im trying to do, one place at a time. Also, get a check out what your competition is doing, see what you can improve on and do it with a positive attitute, it’s your industry too after all. All of a sudden, that 2% and 11% doesn’t seem that much of a big deal. Of course, I’d try to cut a deal with your brewery to get some relief on the prices you are paying… Hey, be cheeky and talk to your local council and see if you can get a rate reduction, if ever there was a time to do that it would be now.
That’s my two cents, I’d love to hear yours?
Take care and get building those brands!
Twitter - @Troylinehan
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
I work with so many Tribute Acts and Live Bands and even they are doing the same as a few large companies. They have created a Facebook PROFILE to promote themselves… Please, get smart and create an actual PAGE on Facebook to promote what you do. You’ll never match GaGa’s millions of ‘likes’ with a regular profile. ;)
SHOW NOTES - Show #1
I’m going to be doing at least one podcast per month giving you a behind the scenes look at the crazy world of Tribute Acts. In this first show I talk with international Lady Gaga & Amy Winehouse tribute act - Nicola Marie.
These are the show notes with links that we talk about during the podcast.
Is this Nicola Marie or Taylor Dayne??
Contact Nicola Marie
Website < great Gaga video on here too!
Check out Nicola’s original music debut as artist Nikia Aniston in her brand new video 'Freaky Tonight' < I thought it was a CCTV camera… It was!!
Thanks for stopping by!
SHOW NOTES - Show #2
I’m going to be doing at least one podcast per month giving you a behind the scenes look at the crazy world of Tribute Acts. In the second show I’m chatting with awesome ABBA Tribute band - Abba Sensation. Don’t forget to comment on the show, rate, share and simply enjoy.
These are the show notes with links that we talk about during the podcast.
Contact Abba Sensation
Thanks for stopping by!