Expo 2024 Keynote: Hospitality expert Michael Tipps!

Monday’s (8/26) EXPO Keynote Speaker, Michael Tipps, is taking his decades of experience in the hospitality industry to the adult nightclub industry, with key concepts including shifting the perspective from the pole so that the entire club is the stage. 

H

e starts with some vocabulary shifts: it’s not just the customer, it’s the guest. It’s not just hospitality, it’s the guest’s experience.

When Michael Tipps, Founder and CEO of the consulting company, Maverick Theory, and Monday’s EXPO Keynote Speaker, is brought on to assist a business, he first focuses on fine-tuning the mindset of the employer and their employees to attune them to that of the guest. It’s a psychological, subversive and submersive experience that has become Tipps’ top priority.

He began in the industry, as a teenager, tackling every front-of-house job available in Miami, before heading to NYC at only 19 years old. Decades later, his developed technique has been applied to businesses across all sectors in guest services with New York Times review-worthy successes. Now, Tipps is bringing his insight to an area in the industry where he sees special and almost untapped potential: the adult nightclubs sector.

“Whether you work at a boutique hotel in New York or a strip club in Vegas, the fundamentals are the same,” Tipps argues essentially. “It’s all about the guest’s experience.”

He calls his method of consideration, “Maverick mindset coaching,” and its culmination, as the name suggests, is applying universal tactics to an individual establishment to build something original.

“Why do club owners think ‘strip club,’ and make it look like one?” asks Tipps, who assures me he actually loves strip clubs. He just thinks that, historically, they’ve been creatively restrained by their title. 

“I understand the need for stage music, audio, lighting, that makes sense, but why are so many clubs using the same model?” he continues. “One of the questions I’ve always gotten from adult nightclubs is, ‘How do I make it look better?’ Well, stop copying everybody else. You want to break the norm, so you’ve got to take risks.”

ED readers and strip club owners, prepare to meet a man with high ambitions to elevate the strip club industry, as well as the perspective of everybody in it. And we’re not just talking some kid with grand ideas — although he once was that, and Michael Tipps was trailblazing at some of the most prestigious, well-known venues in Manhattan, such as the Tribeca Grand Hotel, when he was only just barely legal. But after an extensive history in all other areas of guest services, Tipps aims to collaborate with the adult nightclub sector, to do something transformative.

Like consulting an individual venue, Tipps tackles, first, the mindset, and he shares that he perceives of an unspoken shame within and around the industry. (Or, on some major media outlets, for instance, it’s an outspoken condemnation.) 

“There’s an element of the adult night business that has shame in it,” he offers. “It’s why you can go to a beautiful strip club, and you still don’t want to tell your wife about it, even if she doesn’t care.”

The shame he’s speaking to isn’t just over overt sexuality. It’s something deeper, a feeling he’s getting at, an atmosphere. Tipps has some ideas for turning that aspect of shame on its head, and making working at or owning an adult club, rather, a point of pride. He’s talking about the kind of guest experience that people want to brag about.

“The idea that guests are coming to strip clubs just to see naked women is, honestly, myopic,” he says. “That’s where the race starts. Just imagine, you have beautiful women: okay, now what?”

To move the mindset away from seeing a ‘strip club’ as a ‘strip club,’ and towards seeing a strip club as a thriving business model, he provides the example of the great American entrepreneur, Walt Disney.

“Do you want to make a roller coaster park or do you want to make Disney World?” He poses. “Because the only thing that separates them is understanding guest experience.”

Tipps offers a picture of a club in which dancing isn’t the main event. Rather, it’s an understated addition.

“Strip club owners highlight the fact that they have, what they consider, ‘sex selling,” he explains. “And it is, so hold onto that, because it’ll be the uppercut when you already have a fantastic establishment, and you deliver that.”

It’s no secret that many in the industry today fear for its longevity. But, in the dissonance between the gentlemen’s club mindset of the past, and the sex-positive adult clubs of the future, may be something as simple as a classed-up environment. In another example, Tipps imagines the kind of clubs that sexy, professional women might want to attend. Consider it: a massively expanding customer base!

“To quote Dr. Benjamin Hardy, ‘What got you here won’t get you there,’” he says.

 “One of the questions I’ve always gotten from adult nightclubs is, ‘How do I make it look better?’ Well, stop copying everybody else. You want to break the norm, so you’ve got to take risks.”

 

– Michael Tipps 

From names of clubs to eating and layout concepts, Tipps has tons of ideas for elevating the adult nightclub industry, some of which he has already applied to existing clubs that have hired him for consulting. If you’re interested in learning any more about Maverick Theory’s methods and ideas in guest services, don’t miss Michael Tipps’ Keynote speech at the 2024 ED EXPO in Dallas.

Whether it’s a bar, a strip club, a hotel, or a regular nightclub, Tipps hopes to elevate the perspective of the industry as a whole, so that hospitality reigns supreme. By providing a perspective that innovates the general approach to adult nightclubs, he also hopes to impart his insights and experience in guest services, to bring the sector out of the gutter today and onto the road to tomorrow.

If you’re interested in sharing any of your ideas with Tipps and his team directly, as well as enjoy some on-the-spot consulting, adapted to your creative vision, visit the Maverick Theory tradeshow booth at the ED EXPO.

“When you’re deemed an ‘expert,’ you should be able to bend the reality that other people deem as the truth,” says Tipps. “I wouldn’t call myself an expert, because I don’t think it’s a term that can be self-applied. But people have deemed me an expert based on the results of my work, and I intend to bend the reality of what’s considered ‘normal’ in this industry.”

Michael Tipps has over 26 years of experience working, managing and consulting in all facets of the hospitality world (throughout all positions, and including hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs). Michael Tipps’ career started in Hospitality in South Florida where he worked in almost every front of the house position in the corporate food and beverage world. By the time Michael turned 19, he set his sights on New York City, and has been trailblazing ever since. Michael started behind the bar at the prestigious Tribeca Grand Hotel (Grand Life Hotels) where he consistently demonstrated his unique abilities and worked his way up – ultimately securing a managerial position at a remarkably young age, at one of the most well-known venues in Manhattan. Michael was responsible for creating multiple food and beverage programs intended to increase revenue, while also cutting costs and improving the bottom line. What Michael relished most though was the challenge of creating innovative ways to improve guest services while at the same time creating the best ways to get the most out of the staff he was responsible for.

By the young age of 23, Michael was fortunate enough to work with and be trained in the essentials of classic cocktails by the person responsible for bringing the “mixology” craze back to the United States – Sasha Petraske, of Milk & Honey fame. Michael expanded his knowledge of the hospitality business by taking on the challenge of working with different types of venues, ranging from high-end lounges, to boutique hotels, to nightclubs and to dive bars. With Michael’s knowledge and experience, he soon came to realize (like many others), that New York City is the Mecca of Hospitality, and he began consulting all over the country helping operators in less well-known markets succeed.  

Based upon Michael’s experience and expertise, Michael made appearances on Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” as a master mixologist and bar expert, and also traveled across the country with renowned TV celebrity, John Taffer, on the “Nightclub & Bar University Rescue Tour.” Michael has also been a contributing writer, Speaker and advisory Board member for the Nightclub & Bar Tradeshow. As Michael became involved in more complex projects, he came to realize that, whether large or small, simple or complicated, the underlying issues with his suffering projects were generally very similar – especially as they related to concept creation, design, location, construction, management, operations, staff training, lighting and sound design, menu implementation, entertainment and marketing and advertising. Fundamentally lacking in almost all instances was perfecting the art of hospitality. As a result, Michael began developing communication techniques to not only make businesses function properly, but also, change the perspective of the ones who owned the business.

For more information, email mt@mavericktheory.com.

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