Marketing city centre venues - a case study

It’s easy to assume that city centre venues enjoy generous footfall. And that city centres like Oxford benefit from the additional peaks of tourists. But when your require your potential customers to look up to spot your signage and to step off the main drag to find your door, the challenge begins.

We began working with The Varsity Club (TVC) in March 2018 on an initial 3-month project to ramp up their brand awareness, primarily on social media channels. The results? Increases in website traffic and user interactions from social media, and a stream of B2B events using the venue for the first time.

The challenge and the brief

Oxford’s original rooftop bar, which had enjoyed some four years as Oxford’s only rooftop venue, suddenly found itself with competition. As Oxford’s much needed new shopping centre was completed it brought with the launch of a large handful of rooftop bars and restaurants.

Now in reality, The Varsity Club’s USP isn’t being challenged. Until Quod opens its roof terrace, it remains the only central rooftop venue. It’s also the only rooftop bar in Oxford with 360 degree views, not to mentioned heated seats and a retractable awning should the clouds misbehave. And then it’s got three more bars spread over three floors.

As with Oxford’s diverse and transient population, TVC’s customer base varies from tourists wanting to check out the view (not always accompanied by a beverage - cheeky!), students, after work drinkers and weekenders. Their Friday and Saturday nights are restricted to over-21s.

Remit: reach more of the local working population and get them through the door - for work and pleasure.

The approach

The Varsity Club’s social channels were under-loved and under-populated. This was a straightforward task of auditing the existing social media audiences and activity, getting our hands on some great imagery, and under the skin of a venue with four floors.

We crafted a social content calendar that factored in national awareness days, local Oxford events, key university dates and venue events including summer sessions, DJ nights and third party events hosted at TVC.

The results

Very quickly, thanks to the creation of quality content, curated content from customer visits, and timely posts, all the numbers went up.

  • increased website traffic from social channels by 193% within three months, despite a 58% increase in organic web traffic in the same period

  • specifically, although traffic from Instagram remains small, that's a 625% increase in traffic from that channel and a 160% increase in traffic from Facebook

  • total user interactions on Facebook more than doubled (to 4011 in May)

In addition to this social media success, we also successfully placed articles about TVC or secured placement for TVC in features and round-ups in national press and online glossies as well as Oxford media.

Can we help you too?

If any of these challenges sound familiar or outcomes sound desirable, drop us a line for a no obligation conversation.