Las Vegas has long been the global destination for entertainment with people from all over the world flying into this vibrant oasis in the desert to escape everyday life. Las Vegas is as tech-forward as it is iconic.
Data-driven hospitality decision making is revolutionizing the industry, and nowhere is this transformation more apparent than in Las Vegas where UrVenue is leading the charge.
Cedric Ancellin developed UrVenue to spark new life into hospitality by empowering venues to leverage technology and guest data. His side-by-side partnerships with the largest Las Vegas hospitality groups continue fueling the ever-evolving UrVenue systems. These close-knit partnerships set UrVenue apart from other hospitality services providers.
Today, all eyes are on Vegas as an important technology innovation hub centered on the guest experience. Cedric and UrVenue, along with its Vegas partners, are leading the challenge.
When he first arrived on the scene, Cedric wasted no time in creating a new framework for the way the nightlife industry booked tables and bottle service — a foundational change that the company has been applying to other partner models.
“Although UrVenue started with Nightlife, we now power all types of outlets within an integrated resort,” Cedric explains. “We can monetize non-room hospitality inventory across all customer touchpoints throughout the booking and in-stay journey while elevating the guest experience.”
Another fundamental change that Cedric focused on from the beginning was improving the way virtual bookings worked. While other tools are limited in their capacity to serve the needs of specialized venues, UrVenue systems can cater to the special needs of industries like nightlife and sports books without compromises. Many of these multimillion-dollar venues were stuck using Excel spreadsheets to manage operations and revenue.
It’s hard to believe that in the early days, the company didn’t even have an office considering UrVenue’s leading role in the marketplace. At first, Cedric says, “I had an office at Drai’s, I had an office at Palms, I had an office at Wynn nightlife. We spent our days at the customer’s businesses.”
“Our office was wherever the customer was,” he explains. This solution may have been partly born of necessity, but in time, it proved to provide the kind of rubber-meets-the-road insight and operational experience that can only happen in person. When a client encountered an issue or problem, they could immediately take it to Cedric who applied this deep understanding to the UrVenue platform design.
Cedric and UrVenue have always prioritized real life experience and real-world testing over dreaming up ideas in a boardroom hundreds or thousands of miles away, and it shows. Competitors that don’t apply this testing lab approach are developing concepts in a bubble, which could never work in a constantly-evolving place like Las Vegas.
UrVenue and Scale
Thriving in Vegas, or any major market, relies on successful scaling. A lesser company may have shied away from the challenge of expanding to meet the demands of clients preparing to scale in big ways. Often, these pivotal moments are when smaller companies sell their idea to a bigger fish and swim toward new opportunities.
Cedric couldn’t see a reason not to scale UrVenue alongside his successful clients. On one hand, UrVenue is a product — “for the masses,” Cedric says — but on the other hand we are solutions for our hospitality partners. The UrVenue partnership approach lends itself to developing flexible, scalable solutions based on immediate client feedback. New ideas for new needs, as they are brought forward.
As UrVenue has grown, Cedric says, “We’ve invented things with Wynn, Caesars and MGM, with Circa and Resorts World recently being added to the table” These partnerships help the UrVenue team to develop accessible solutions for resorts of any size or exclusivity.
UrVenue and the Importance of Data
Many Vegas businesses have been steeped in data for decades. Cedric points to the casino industry’s well-honed gamer incentive programs. It’s a natural fit for Vegas venues to leverage other data to incentivize and support clients.
For UrVenue, a data-driven approach focuses on multiple customer entry points, a contrast to the singular approach taken by competing vendors. “We have our customers use many acquisition channels, tag them, and track them, which helps us build the story of customer data — how customers get there,” Cedric explains.
Tagged customer data is linked to various tools and operational concerns beyond acquisition. UrVenue can pull information from POS and examine where each dollar is spent, and, most importantly, examine the figures in a larger context. “If I told you that a party spent $1,000 at an outlet, is that a lot or a little? The answer depends on context,” he says.
Customer behavior over a holiday weekend, for example, may not translate to customer behavior on a random Thursday afternoon. It’s important to view data as it relates to the market on the whole, to historical and current venue data, to outside factors that can impact behavior. UrVenue creates opportunities for clients to apply data findings in actionable, richly-informed ways.
Transforming Guest Feedback into Guest Satisfaction
As an example, Cedric says the guest experience for nightclubs is central to every decision which is driven by the guest experience — in particular, guest experiences and purchases at the table. Bottle customers account for only a small percentage of overall guests, but as much as 70 percent of overall revenue.
UrVenue’s approach to bottle revenue has revolutionized the industry. “We changed the focus from relying on a certain number of bottles to setting a spend minimum to book a table” he explains. The change has been remarkable.
It might seem surprising, but instead of recoiling from being forced into a minimum spend, guests embraced this system. “Guests actually really like it, because we’re not forcing them to buy something specific,” he says. “We’re not forcing a package on them or making them pay for something that they aren’t consuming, like a rental fee.”
By reframing minimums, UrVenue has garnered positive guest response — they are getting to use this “premium real estate” as Cedric calls it, “for free”.
Behind the scenes, the shift to minimum spend has allowed clubs to yield their floors, which helps them tap into the value of their real estate without the customer feeling cheated.
Minimum spend models soon carried over to other industries. Hotels, for example, can enable guests to reserve poolside chairs instead of waking up early to stake one out. Cabanas that had been rented out by the hour can be included as a perk of minimum food and drink spending.
This concept from UrVenue is being applied to sportsbooks and restaurant settings, as well.
“Venues can now truly monetize their real estate — to yield without changing their menu pricing or sacrificing guest experience, with guests who are willing to consume more in exchange for a location, we created a win-win situation” Cedric says.
Even placing a rental fee on lower price items like pool chairs has proven successful, “tourists benefit from the perks of pre-booking. They know they’ll have a chair at the pool and happily pay for that reassurance ahead of time.”
Get Started with UrVenue
UrVenue is the leading hospitality technology platform that powers commerce, enhances the guest experience, and monetizes resort real estate by leveraging non-room inventory across all customer touchpoints in the booking and in-stay journey. UrVenue maximizes revenue-per-available-customer with its advanced booking, ticketing and presale platform built for hospitality venues: nightclubs and day clubs, restaurants and lounges, resort pools and beaches, sportsbooks, spas, special events, small group meeting rooms, recreation services, bundled experiences and more.
Since 2011, UrVenue’s scalable enterprise technology has been the trusted industry standard for clients ranging from independent venue operators to global hospitality, entertainment and gaming organizations including Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Tao Group, Bagatelle and Okada. Request a demo to learn more about UrVenue solutions for hospitality.