Tuesday, August 22, 11-11:45 am
Jerry Westlund, owner of the Pony Club chain, and George Wilson, Director of Marketing for Sapphire Las Vegas, are both well versed in not only the importance of club promotions and special events, but also, how to promote and execute them properly.
aving a successful club party or promotion starts with a great idea, but there’s so much more to it! Our special event and club promotion experts — Jerry Westlund, owner of the Pony Clubs chain and George Wilson, Director of Marketing for Sapphire Las Vegas — will not only offer examples of some of their best out-of-the-box event ideas, but will also explain the elements that help take that great idea from planning to promotion to execution.
In his 20-plus years in the industry, Westlund has developed a reputation for his eclectic, eccentric special events over the years. As he explains, Westlund caters his events to entertain the younger market.
“Strip clubs as they existed in the ‘80s and ‘90s don’t appeal to today’s customers,” Westlund proclaims. “In order to get our customers into the club and off their cell phones, we have to offer something different. We have to offer something that is going to intrigue them and/or their significant others. And so the beauty of the special events that we do is that they attract as many female customers as male. We create an excitement beyond your strip club regulars. Because who wouldn’t want to come see biscuits and gravy wrestling or a dozen beautiful women wrestling in nacho cheese sauce while people are purchasing plastic jalapeño peppers to toss into the ring? That’s not entertainment that you can get on cable TV.”
While the types of events that Westlund organizes won’t fit the design of every gentlemen’s club, his advice remains regardless. Frankly, says Westlund: “If you want to grow your customer base at all, you’re going to have to do special events. Unless your plan is to wait for people’s car to break down in your parking lot, that’s what it takes.”
As Westlund puts it: “Not all promotion experiments are an outright financial success, but all promotions work because they create a conversation. There are some that are more artisticsuccesses than financial successes, but you have to embrace them all the same.”
As one of the most well-known adult nightclubs in the world, Sapphire Las Vegas’ Director of Marketing, George Wilson, certainly deserves some credit for building the club’s national reputation. At EXPO 2023, Wilson will share his marketing expertise: Specifically, why the promotion of special events is important for club numbers, what draws in a crowd, how to make a promotion plan, and how to execute it. According to Wilson, while special events are not the core business of an adult nightclub, they are a welcomed add-on with great potential for additional revenue to what is offered already on a nightly basis.
“An idea is worthless if you can’t execute,” says Wilson. “We plan extensively, so we’ll make as little mistakes as possible.”
To advertise his events, Wilson primarily uses email marketing, which he distributes to a database of previous guests over the years. Sapphire’s marketing team also utilizes Meta as their primary social media platform, which Wilson states is his best point of contact for guests that are 30 to 55, that is, the demographic “a little more established in their respective industries and with a bit more discretionary funds to play around with than someone that’s 21-22.
“Nothing that we put out is topless or nude by any means,” adds Wilson. “Because a lot of our promotional content is consumed at work, keeping things safe for work (SFW) helps get our message to a larger audience. In fact, I think a mistake a lot of promotors make is to indulge in the marketing a little too far, as to what the entertainer would look like if she was topless on stage. For Sapphire, it’s all about the teasing promotion of what we offer, not the actual content itself.”
How to pack a club is not a one-size-fits-all model. But Wilson and Westlund both encourage club promotors to consider the additions of special events. Whether you’re offering something more corporate-style, like at Sapphire, or spaghetti wrestling, as at the Pony Clubs, it’s important to remember the long-term goal of name recognition supersedes the profit value of any individual night.
For more information on Sapphire Las Vegas, visit sapphirelasvegas.com. To reach Westlund, email JerryWestlund@yahoo.com.