Suggestions for Increasing Attendance

Posted by: TromboneAl

Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/12/12 02:16 PM

My trio has a monthly gig at a local golf and country club. It's a great gig, because they have a grand piano, and it's a classy place.

The problem is that very few people are showing up, and I know we'll get fired if it doesn't bring in more people for dining (5:30 - 8:00). I gave them some nice posters to put up, but they weren't in sight at the last gig. They send out emails weekly that include us on the schedule.

Since it's members only, there's no way that we can get friends etc. to pad the audience.

Any suggestions to make sure this gig continues?
Posted by: jotur

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/12/12 02:42 PM

How about offering to do, say, 5 special requests for anyone's anniversary, or similar event, in order to encourage people to think of dining there for their special events?

And keep bugging the poster guys to put them up. Maybe even in the pro shop and locker rooms laugh

Cathy
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/12/12 04:00 PM

Thanks, Cathy. I'm not sure I know what you mean. Song requests?
Posted by: jotur

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/12/12 04:13 PM

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. 5 may be too many laugh And they'd have to contact you in advance to insure your trio knew them. But I was just thinking of some kind of gimic that would encourage people to think of that venue for special occasions, when they might go somewhere else.

You could maybe put cards on the tables, or in the pro shop, etc, with your band contact and the offer.

Just a thought.

Cathy
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/12/12 07:26 PM

Yes, that's a great idea. Also, the cards on the table is a good idea in and of itself.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/12/12 07:57 PM

Hm. Do they play recorded music anywhere during the day? Again, like the pro shop or something. Maybe a demo cd that plays there with a sign that says you're playing in the dining room?

Or would that drive people away? laugh Sorry, couldn't resist. But a demo might work.

Cathy
Posted by: daviel

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/12/12 10:51 PM

You should do requests anyway.
Posted by: venice1

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/13/12 02:55 PM

All golfers love freebies... discounts... etc. and they don't really care what it is as long as it's golf related such as sleeves of golf balls, towels, ball markers, reduced green fees... Maybe as an incentive a deal could be worked out with the pro shop and have nice looking envelopes at each table containing coupons with such deals redeemed at the pro shop. Could be a win / win situation for all parties. However, the members only rule does limit the number of avenues available to recruit diners.
Posted by: Farmerjones

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/13/12 05:08 PM

i ask myself, "what would make me attend if i could?" I would see it in the monthly club news letter. I would see that some nights are a salute to a given artist or something still within your style. I know of no private club that doesn't have a "bring a guest" policy. So that could be an encouraging growth feature, if there was a "bring a guest night." If they don't encourage new membership, the whole thing could be doomed. Just sayin. . .
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/13/12 05:27 PM

Thanks for the ideas. I've already implemented the table tents idea, Cathy, and I'll mail them to the club.

Posted by: rocket88

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/13/12 07:06 PM

Originally Posted By: venice1
All golfers love freebies... discounts... etc. and they don't really care what it is as long as it's golf related such as sleeves of golf balls, towels, ball markers, reduced green fees... Maybe as an incentive a deal could be worked out with the pro shop and have nice looking envelopes at each table containing coupons with such deals redeemed at the pro shop. Could be a win / win situation for all parties. However, the members only rule does limit the number of avenues available to recruit diners.


I think that if you have to pay people to come to your gigs, something is fundamentally wrong that won't be fixed by paying people to come.

Some possible reasons (I know nothing about this place): Venue not known for music; Wrong music for the venue; Previous bands have not been a good fit, or been musically poor, so people are wary of coming back, etc.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/13/12 08:24 PM

Cool, Al! Hope it helps.

Cathy
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/14/12 09:21 AM

Quote:
I think that if you have to pay people to come to your gigs, something is fundamentally wrong that won't be fixed by paying people to come.

Some possible reasons (I know nothing about this place): Venue not known for music; Wrong music for the venue; Previous bands have not been a good fit, or been musically poor, so people are wary of coming back, etc.


My goal is to get people to discover that there's music going on, and to come hear it so that they will come back again, and tell their friends.

I'm pretty sure this will fail, but I want to give it a shot. Jazz is the wrong music for almost any venue in this backwoods county. But people join this country club to prove that they are cultured and sophisticated, and nothing says that better then a jazz trio during dinner.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/14/12 12:47 PM

Originally Posted By: TromboneAl
My goal is to get people to discover that there's music going on, and to come hear it so that they will come back again, and tell their friends.


So I take it that there has not been music there before? If so, and you are the first music group to play there, then both you and the management needs to publicize it hard to jump start it.

ps...the table tents look great, but mailing them to the club and expecting someone to put them on the tables has never worked for me or anyone I know.

Everytime I have mailed something to a club, be it a Demo CD, posters, table tents, they are AWOL when I show up at the gig, and no one on staff knows anything about them. Stuff like that is usually "misplaced" (the CD) or just thrown in the trash. Restaurant wait staff is typically overworked, and could not care less about you or your band.

If you want the tents to actually be put on the tables, somebody you know has to go there personally and put them on the tables, or a capable manager who really wants the band needs to take charge. (good luck with finding that).

And even then the tents won't last long, patrons will take them, use them to write on, and the bus boys will clean them off the table with the dirty dishes, especially if they have grease or something on them, in other words they have to be constantly replaced.

Your best bet, IMHO, would be to find a member of the club who wants you there, and have that person act as your inside help, to put these things up, refresh them, and in general push your band.
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/14/12 02:50 PM

Right, Rocket, same experience here. I sent them a nice, glossy poster, and when I went there I didn't see it anywhere. There's a nice bulletin board with lots of free space, and no poster.

So I asked the "events coordinator" about the poster, and she said "Oh, it's up -- in the office."

Anyway, I also sent some tents to the bar manager who is more with it and helpful. We'll see. There's a limit to how much I'll do their job for them.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/14/12 04:29 PM

Originally Posted By: TromboneAl


Anyway, I also sent some tents to the bar manager who is more with it and helpful. We'll see. There's a limit to how much I'll do their job for them.


It may technically be their job, but the reality is they won't do it, so it becomes your job.

Back when I started playing in the 1970's, venues did that work, heavily advertising the entertainment. They made the posters, table tents, put notices in the newspapers, etc.

Most places won't do any of that any more. The mindset is "Its the band's job".

The exception is some dedicated music venues, such as Jazz clubs or Blues clubs.
Posted by: daviel

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 09/15/12 03:08 PM

Sounds like they are OK with it. Just play the gigs. You have a limited group - the membership - that you can spam. If the club won't advertise the membership, well that's that.
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/12/12 10:09 AM

Quote:
Everytime I have mailed something to a club, be it a Demo CD, posters, table tents, they are AWOL when I show up at the gig, and no one on staff knows anything about them. Stuff like that is usually "misplaced" (the CD) or just thrown in the trash.


Yes, that was the situation here. I really don't get their thinking -- they want to get more people in, but don't put out the table tents or any of the posters. I saw their printed monthly mailing, and it had the menu, but didn't even say "Live Music." I talked about it, and the booker said something about not being allowed to advertise. But it doesn't make sense. They could say "Roast beef on Friday" but not "Live Music on Friday."

In any case, as I expected, they cancelled our gigs, saying they couldn't justify the expense. They were nice about it, and I volunteered to play solo piano every Friday for a while just for tips. I know some of you will think this is a bad thing, but I need to build up my solo performance chops, and this is perfect for me.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/12/12 11:10 AM

Sigh. People are - well, I don't have words for it. But they sure might as well bet against themselves sometime, since the things do/don't do kind of guarantee they'll fail. Sorry about that for you.

But I know what you mean about getting your solo chops up. It seems to me the only way to get gig-ready is to gig. I can be as ready as I'll ever be sitting at home, but the gig experience is the gig experience. So I think playing there for awhile will help a lot with that. And you can always use it as part of your "resume" when going somewhere else. Plus, for me, having that experience helps with my confidence when I approach another venue. For me it would be a good move to play on as a solo for awhile, and it seems you feel the same.

I still like your table cards, too. They would have made a nice little "event" display column in their newsletter.

Sigh.

Cathy
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/12/12 02:10 PM

The depressing part will be when I get fired, and I'm not even charging anything. smile
Posted by: jotur

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/12/12 04:59 PM

Yeah, that's happened even to, um, um, the best of us smile

laugh

Cathy
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/13/12 08:25 PM

Well, I played there last night, and there were only about four people in the audience at one time, on average. Also, they initially wanted me to play in a different room, in which there were no people at all. A pretty depressing gig.

But the silver lining is that I listened to the recording, and it was my best solo gig, playing-wise.

Here's a recording from the gig:

https://www.box.com/s/6ovltf24ucgtesqofwk0
Posted by: jotur

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/14/12 12:16 AM

That was great! I swear, if that restaurant doesn't get more people just because of you there must be something seriously wrong elsewhere. Is the food any good? laugh That was terrific. Hope it's a stepping stone to really good gigs for you.

Cathy
Posted by: BeccaBb

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/14/12 01:15 AM

Honestly this place sounds like a management nightmare! Your playing is fantastic!
Posted by: gdguarino

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/15/12 12:08 AM

Our band has a web site and an email mailing list. Obvious ideas, but we've found them effective.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Suggestions for Increasing Attendance - 10/15/12 03:14 AM

You are up against a lot of inertia, not of your own, but in the club. They have to be interested in promoting these events. However, if they are sending out email reminders, why not ask them to provide the link to your recording?

I deal with several private clubs, including one that I belong to. (I just posted about a dinner at that club in the Wedding topic, even though it was not a wedding.) Ours is geared towards having some good times together and it is fairly successful. We are always working towards making it more successful. There are others which are more formal, and they are struggling. One of the things that they do, besides charging comparatively high dues, is that they tell their members that they need to buy so much worth of dining per month, or they will charge them for it anyway. I tell them that they should raise the dues by the amount of dining they want them to buy, and tell them they can eat that much there for free. The amount people would pay would remain the same, but instead of telling their members that they have to do something, they could tell them that they are getting something for free. There is no more powerful word in advertising than "Free!" But the powers that be in these clubs just do not get it. You have to be fairly successful to afford to belong, but they just do not have business smarts. It is hard to deal with.