Elite Interviews: Venuetap
Venuetap is the premier online destination for unparalleled access to New York City's hottest places to party. Co-founder Mike Russell and digital director James Goldman work behind the venue matchmaking website which offers prodigious customer service and exclusive accommodations.
While the city runs rampant with egotistical promoters and the façade of exclusive offerings, Venuetap has launched a platform that enables you to have an amazing time without dealing with the hassle of nightlife.
What were some experiences in nightlife that lead to the creation of Venuetap?
Mike: My co-founder Dan and I, have been working in the nightlife industry for over seven years. It didn’t take long for us to realize that most of the time, people were going out to celebrate some particular occasion, like a birthday or an engagement. VenueTap was created to streamline the process of booking a party package, essentially creating a one-stop-shop for browsing and booking, as well as creating transparency between the customer and the venue.
What parallels did you see in the technology and nightlife industry?
James: We felt that applying technology to party and event planning would create a better customer experience. The Internet has made almost everything we do on a day-to-day basis easier. You can do everything from order groceries to find a date, while never leaving your seat. We saw an opportunity in the fragmented party planning scene for better, smarter, more customized resources to aid not just the consumer, but venues, too.
With Venuetap being a new venture, what areas do you see Venuetap expanding into next?
James: For the time being we are very focused on the NYC market and providing our users with a technology solution that works for them. Once we are comfortable with our solution in New York, we will be looking to expand to other cities both in the US and internationally.
What was the inspiration behind VenueTap's name?
Mike: Our partner Matt came up with the name VenueTap, the inspiration was that users could “tap” into party packages at “venues” on our platform. It’s simple and to the point, we like it!
What are the core elements you use to rate the Venuetap system?
James: All venues have to go through a detailed verification process. You can read about it at www.venuetap.com/verified. Once they’ve passed, we also take into consideration location, type of venue and what sorts of packages they can offer to our users. We will soon be introducing our “Tap” rating system. Each venue will get one, two, or three taps, reflecting what percentage of our users would recommend the venue to friend. If more than 30% of users wouldn’t recommend a venue to a friend, they get removed from our platform.
What nightlife experiences have you personally had that lead you towards developing Venuetap?
James: One of my good friends was getting married and my buddy and I decided to plan his bachelor party on our own. I can’t describe in too much detail how the night went down, because his wife wouldn’t be too happy, but it was a disaster. The club we chose was grimy, the drinks were overpriced, and to say the staff was rude would be an understatement. I wished there could’ve been some way to know the place we were choosing was a legitimate spot for a party. It would’ve saved us a lot of drama...and money.
How does Venuetap's planning experience compare to others? What are some factors that set it apart?
James: I’d say the average consumer's experience on our site is much more transparent than a lot of others out there who are trying to do what we do. On VenueTap.com, you get connected directly with the Venue Manager. We meet with every Venue Manager personally before we sign each venue so we can craft custom packages and ensure our profiles are accurate. Mike: Another issue is false advertising. That is why we put all the important details in the description so you know exactly what you’re getting into. No more empty promises or disappointments at the door. Also, instead of posting just an address, our profiles are super in depth. Our team works personally with each venue manager to craft a profile that has all the features you need to know in order to choose the perfect celebration location.
What is your biggest tip for entrepreneurs?
Mike: When starting a business, stay focused on your core competency and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. No one got to where they are today without a little bit of help from somewhere along the way! James: Be the change you want to see in the world. -Mohandas Gandhi
What are some of the deciding factors when choosing venues you want to partner with?
Mike: They have to meet our verification criteria. Secondly, we make sure we’re working with good, honest people. We love sending venues new business, but if they don’t reciprocate that love, we don’t want to partner with them. Lastly, we consider what they bring to the table for our users. We only want solid package deals that our users are looking for. We also strive for diversity in types of venues so that everyone’s taste can be met.
5, 10, 50 years down the line when you've achieved everything you aspire for today, where do you see yourself?
Mike: We see ourselves as an international platform for finding a venue and the perfect party package.
In regards to collaborating venue profiles, what is on the schedule for this year?
Mike: We’re always looking to enhance the venue profile and create the best packages for users. We constantly monitor and update profiles to best meet customer needs. As for new venues, we have several we are currently negotiating with and you can expect to see new venues each week, with new and exciting packages for NYC party goers.
Evelyn Pelczar | Elite.