The nightclub industry took a big hit in 2020 due to COVID-19. However, even before the pandemic, the industry faced many headwinds. Now, nightclub sage Wayne Shulick is sharing some insights for nightlife trends we might see over the next decade as the industry looks to revitalize itself.
“Nightlife is a constantly evolving industry,” Wayne Shulick says. “The hottest nightclubs in Los Angeles now look far different from the first nightclubs I visited all those years ago. But that’s great, where there is change, there’s a potential for progress.”
Smartphone and computer use among Millennials and Zoomers is higher than older generations. While it’s tempting to think that younger people are buried under their technology, that may not be the case. When the time comes to set aside their smartphones, younger folks often show a preference for meaningful in-person experiences, such as live music. Many older club-goers will appreciate liver performances too.
“A DJ is still a must for many nightclubs and other venues,” Wayne Shulick argues. “But they also may not be enough. Many club-goers are showing preferences for live performances. You can listen to basically any musician for free online, so who wants to hear the same repeated studio songs at clubs? Live performances, even from lesser names, offer a way to attract a crowd.”
Wayne Shulick also believes that technology offers a great way to reach out to club goers, including the ones already in your club.
“These days, you can set up apps and services that allow people to order food and drinks from their table with their smartphone,” Wayne Shulick points out. “Let people skip crowded bars and use their phone to place orders. It’s easier for them, and often, it’s easier for your staff.”
Wayne Shulick Looks For Silver Linings Amid Club Closures
Many traditional nightclubs were suffering from declining foot traffic even before the pandemic. Wayne Shulick believes this is because some clubs are out of touch with their clientele. The days of people shouting over thrumming music may be over. Now, many club-goers at least want to quiet, perhaps interactive escapes.
“A loud and hopping dance floor can still remain the centerpiece of your club,” Wayne Shulick says. “Still, you want to have quieter areas in your venue as well where people can chat. Consider game rooms as well set up with shuffleboard tables, beer pong, and the like.”
Sadly, many nightclubs and bars may end up closed down permanently due to the tough headwinds and the global pandemic. However, this may reduce real estate prices and open up enough room in the market for more experimentation.
“I feel bad for the many great owners and managers who’ve lost out over the past several months,” Wayne Shulick notes. “The silver lining here is that there will be more opportunities to experiment and to try new things. In the long run, that may renew the nightclub industry.”