What will post COVID-19 nightlife look like?
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
The night life industry without a doubt has taken the biggest financial hit to it's industry because of COVID-19. A few bars have shut because of COVID-19 and businesses are relying on government handouts and low interest rates to keep up loans and rent. We will see a return of nightlife institutions in 2020 but maybe not in the way you remember.
As 100+ capacity venues begin to reopen we can expect to see a sudden rush of patrons coming back to venues after being stuck at home for so long. People are dying to socialise, drink and dance but this sudden wave may be short lived. Following international economic trends and the huge debt Australia is in due to COVID-19, we might see people become conservative with their night time spending habits. Spend per head in nightclubs in particular was already pretty low in Australia before COVID hit but post COVID we might see this spend per head reduce further as the economy slumps.
The economy will not be anywhere near its pre COVID levels simply because Australia will have to wait until US, Europe and Chinese markets also pick up. Going out is a luxury and its a luxury not everyone will be sustain for weeks on end after the restictions end.
It's not all doom and gloom though, when restrictions are lifted people will not be able to travel as travel restrictions will be still be in place most likely for the rest of 2020 if not half way into 2021. With this in mind, money initailly saved for travel might be spent instead on heading out. This is particularly true with the younger generations who are more likely to spend their excess cash on things such as travel, consumer goods and nightlife than on housing and stocks.
An important social aspect of COVID that we are yet to understand is the psychological affect of people staying at home for 3 months. Speaking to some of my industry friends, while some have welcomed the return to work, others are now set in a routine of staying at home and not going out. Time will only tell if this will continue. Not all but alot of people are creatures of habit and repitition. When some people get into a routine it is hard to break out of. Only time will tell in this unprecedented social situation how people will react to venues being open again long term. Again, It is almost certain that when venues reopen that people will hit the town for a big night out in the first two weeks but the question is sustainability in a post COVID-19 world.
One thing is for certain, international travel will be severally limited till the end of 2020. It is quite possible that we may not see a return of ANY musical acts, bands or DJ's for the rest of 2020. The likelihood of Australia opening it's borders anytime soon is very slim which means
event producers may find it difficult to attract people to their events based on a music lineup.
Event producers, promoters and venues who rely on music acts to sell tickets will be hit the hardest as they will have to rely solely on Australian artists to sell tickets.
From the perspective of Australian musicians and DJ's this is great news as it looks like domestic travel will be permitted in the coming months. However, as a promoter myself, the issue is that big Australian touring acts were already over toured in my opinion in Australian cities. Acts like Sneaky Sound System and Peking Duk are examples where they were touring some Australian cities over twice a year.
Festivals and large scale events may find it difficult to market their events without a music lineup especially if they are music centered event. Other large scale events, in particular the day party events probably won't have this problem as their demographics are more interested in the party than the lineup for some events. Clever marketing and strong promotion hussle will be the key to get people into events in the later part of 2020 without access to international artists.
What would be good to see is event promoters looking toward other lesser known Australian DJs and bands to promote their events during this crisis. For events that don't rely on the headliner to sell tickets, there is a great opportunity for up and coming artists to get a great boost to their artist profile by playing events that would usually be reserved for bigger acts.
Nightlife will not be the same for years to come due to COVID and as I noted at the start of this blog, the nightlife industry is in for a few good weeks of trade as people are desperate to get out of their house. What I am concerned about is how long this will last and if people will be able to sustain their social habits long term. There will be people who will be able to go out more after the initial rush but with economic uncertainty and a changing social landscape, it will be interesting to see if the nightlife industry returns to pre COVID numbers long term.
If you own or run a venue and are interested in how to relaunch your business in the post covid world, why not schedule a consultancy session with us? Here at Spire we can assist in developing a strategy to maintain a recurring customer base and expand your earning potential. Click here to find out more.