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Improving the Music Venue Experience

When patrons pay for concert tickets, they’re buying an experience, and the performance is only one of many factors that contribute to it.

From stadiums to DIY venues, there are core elements that come together to form an enjoyable show. Up-to-date technology, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and accessible food and drink make for a great concert experience across the board. Established venues should always be seeking progress, and there’s plenty to learn from the successes and shortcomings of others.

Hospitality is an essential part of the entertainment industry, and improving the experience will improve business.

A collaboration with artists

Concerts are a collaborative effort between the venue and the performing artists. Making every effort to create a smooth experience for the performers – not just the audience – will pay off in the long run.

A poor reputation among musicians will make booking big gigs more difficult for a venue. In a similar vein, some artists may hesitate to agree to perform alongside musicians with a bad reputation.

So how does a music venue build a good reputation?

For the artist, professionalism is a big factor. But beyond that, their needs are much the same as the guest’s.

Making investments

Efficiency is huge for a concert experience.

For shows with multiple performers, being able to change acts quickly makes for a better experience for guests. Streamlining the process also makes it easier on the musicians.

There are investments that venues can make to push for better performances.

Hiring (and retaining) full-time staff is one such venture.

Compared with part-time employees, those working full-time will become more familiar with the ins and outs of the establishment. They’ll deliver better and more consistent results.

A rotating door of staff opens the way for miscommunication and avoidable mistakes during shows.

Providing job benefits and creating a healthy work environment are investments towards convincing employees to stay.

In terms of investments, quality sound systems and lighting are another valuable feature.

Built-in lighting and sound systems make for a more efficient show in a multitude of ways: less equipment needs to be swapped out between sets, staff will already know the set up, and there will be fewer variables overall. Performers and the audience will have a better experience.

Improving concessions

Concessions are often a big money maker for venues. The performers do the work of attracting customers, and food and drink sales bring in the profit.

Honing in on the menu, whether that means offering more options or improving on a limited selection, will help business. So will optimizing the check out experience. No one enjoys waiting in long lines, especially if that means giving up a good spot or missing out on some of the performance.

Upgrading kiosks and staying up to date on technology can make purchases much more hassle-free.

Building on community

Music brings people together. Smaller venues are even tighter knit. Aim to build on that sense of community.

Friendly and knowledgeable staff – which goes back to investing in long term employee satisfaction – are integral to creating that welcoming environment.

The opportunity to provide the best customer service exists in every step of the experience, from purchasing tickets, to ID checks, and purchasing refreshments. Going above and beyond creates a lasting impression. Positive interactions foster connections.

Organizing queues

For larger shows, a big part of the game is waiting in long lines, either for tickets in or a spot near the stage. It seems straightforward, but there’s room for improvement.

I once waited outside for over an hour – and was denied access to a bathroom by staff – waiting to enter a stadium venue. Lines were formed at multiple entrances with no direction and a whole lot of confusion. It was not my favorite venue.

Multiple lines may be beneficial for separate seating areas. Otherwise, several lines can create confusion and encourage guests to jump between lines and add to the chaos.

Most importantly, ample signage should be available to lay out instructions. And with most of today’s tickets being digital, organizers have the opportunity to provide helpful information ahead of time.

Rather than falling back on the simplest solution, venues should always be striving to improve in every area.

Concerts are fun events, but a lot of hard work goes into them behind the scenes. Venue managers, staff, and performers all must work together to make the best experience.