What Is an Appointment Waitlist System?

How Appointment Waitlists Work

Perhaps you’ve seen the buzz about appointment waitlists and wondered how they could benefit your business. Today’s technology is allowing all sorts of industries to manage their clients professionally and efficiently. And since nobody has to spend time sitting in a waiting area looking through old copies of Time and National Geographic, it’s a true win/win!

But What Is an Appointment Waitlist Exactly, and How Do They Work?

Today’s waitlist technology is a great way for any service-based business to schedule customer appointments and walk-ins alike. A waitlist allows you to schedule clients way ahead of time — regular visits, planned service appointments, monthly appointments. And it also allows you to manage walk-in clients, who are of course far less predictable. So if your nail salon has regular monthly manicure clients along with walk-ins who are trying your salon for the first time, you can include all of these types of visits in the same system. This allows you to fill slow times or no-shows with walk-in clients, and also reschedule late clients or last-minute drop-ins on the fly.

The best part? Nobody has to sit around and wait. Waitlist technology, like the NextME app, allows your clients to monitor their place in line from the comfort of their phones. A simple text message gives clients a link to a custom webpage where they can see their spot in line, in real-time. Another text when it’s almost their turn confirms that they’re coming back, so you can give away their spot if they’ve changed their mind.

How Appointment Waitlists Benefit Busy Businesses

If you’ve run a business in any service industry for any amount of time, you’re probably familiar with the nightmare expense of no-shows. The restaurant industry is a classic example. It’s not uncommon for 10-20% of the reservations on any given night to result in tables that sit empty waiting for fickle diners who are not coming. Knowing the famously thin margins of restaurant budgeting, this can be a real problem with a huge impact on the bottom line.

Many restaurant reservations and waitlist platforms exist, but most have no idea how to handle no-shows. NextME, with its simple texts, custom pages, and unobtrusive customer experience, has proven to be a great way to fix the problem. By texting a confirmation to customers just before their reservation is set to begin, restaurant hosts can know in a flash whether it’s safe to give away that coveted Saturday night spot or if the diner who’s reserved it is on the way.

But this technology is not just for restaurants. All sorts of other businesses are finding it to be a perfect option for managing their queues of customers too. In a salon, having just a few large appointments not show up can make or break a stylist’s day. The cost of no-show salon customers can add up quickly, disrupting your stylists’ momentum and leading to disgruntled employees and management difficulties. A strong cancellation policy is a good start, but wouldn’t you rather be able to retain as many appointments as possible, while filling in the empty slots with walk-ins?

Auto Repair shops can face similar issues. Customers notoriously don’t understand the amount of time involved in complex repairs like timing belts. So they may not consider it a big deal when they book an appointment and then miss it. But if you’ve blocked out several hours for your top guys to handle a technically challenging problem, the last thing you want is for them to be standing around waiting for the car to arrive.

Today’s event marketing agencies spend a fortune creating unique customer experiences to help connect consumers with a brand. Elaborate convention booths and pop-up customer experiences are a great way to build a brand’s name and a ton of customer loyalty. But you don’t want to force show visitors to stand around waiting, blocking the way to your booth and generally getting frustrated with the experience before it even really begins.

Instead of eating the costs of dreaded no-shows, why not choose a solution built to handle them with minimal disruption to your business? Contact NextME today to find out how our appointment waitlist system can help.


How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointment Waitlist Management

How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointment Waitlist Management

Waiting is a fact of life. And managing waitlists is often a big part of doing business. 

You may be thinking of the waiting area at your favorite salon or those little buzzer coasters at restaurants. But there are so many more industries who have to tackle this problem. From bowling alleys, to car lots, to stylists, to sales professionals, to event organizers and exhibitors, waitlists seem to be everywhere.

And those annoying buzzers or the old-fashioned clipboard technique are a poor way to keep track of such a vital part of your business. Fortunately, today’s technology has given us a better way to manage the wait through appointment waitlist platforms.

How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointments and Waitlist Management

Create an Appointment Waitlist

If your salon, repair shop, or other service business uses a walk-in model, you might be leaving money on the table. But moving to an appointment-only model can also have financial drawbacks. A better solution is to create an appointment waitlist — it’s the best of both worlds.

An appointment waitlist allows you to schedule clients way ahead of time — regular visits, planned service appointments, monthly appointments. And it also allows you to manage walk-in clients. So if your dog grooming business has monthly bath and cut clients and walk-in flea baths or nail trims, you can include all of these types of visits in the same system. This allows you to fill slow times or no-show appointments with walk-in clients, and also reschedule late clients or last-minute drop-ins with ease.

Confirm Appointments with Text Reminders

Many walk-in type businesses have found that setting appointments can actually hurt their bottom line when people don’t show up. They may have booked a full day of appointments and staffed their business appropriately only to find that half of the clients have gone elsewhere or forgotten the appointment. Staff is left twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. The whole business is less busy, and consequently less profitable, than it should be. 

This is similar to the no-show problem restaurants have faced for years using reservation systems like OpenTable. Since NextME was originally designed for the restaurant industry, our platform was created with this difficulty in mind. 

With a simple text message, just before their appointment clients can let you know if they’re still planning to keep their appointment. If so, they are prompted that they’re soon to be next in line. If not, the waitlist is moved forward accordingly and the day progresses smoothly. The staff stays busy, the business stays active, and workers and clients alike don’t have to waste time waiting. 

Let Clients Control How They Wait 

By sending SMS updates estimating wait time and then notifying clients when they need to head back, you allow clients to control and manage their own time. They don't have to hover in or just outside your shop (or keep checking back). They can take off and do as they please, then only begin to return once they receive a text letting them know that they're next or almost next in line. 

Not sure how this would look? Take Apple's Genius Bar. They do an excellent job of allowing clients to schedule their appointments and then wait wherever or however they like. Since many of their locations are inside shopping malls or busy commercial areas, this means people can shop or run errands as they wait. This leads to happier clients and better customer service ratings across the board. And there’s no denying that they’ve managed to create a loyal following.

Take Advantage of Clients' Captive Attention

In today’s data-driven world, your clients are constantly bombarded by marketing messages. So finding ways to get their attention is harder than ever. What if you could get your clients to view a page with your chosen messages, voluntarily?

One of the best features of NextME’s waitlist platform is that it sends your clients to a page where they can monitor their place in line in real-time. This creates a captive audience who is already interested in your business and its services. And you get to decide what content is displayed on the page beneath the countdown. 

This means you could advertise potential upsell products or services like adding a blowout to a hair cut or offer new air filters for clients coming to your automotive shop. You could also showcase your website, give customers the option to sign up for your email list, or encourage them to follow your brand on social media. Have a customer loyalty plan? This is a great place to give them a sign-up link.

This waiting page is also a great option for event management teams. It allows event exhibitors to manage wait times for attendees visiting booths. The marketing page allows exhibitors to prep attendees while they’re waiting to experience all a booth has to offer. They can use the page to help attendees make a more meaningful connection to your brand or cause by combining mobile marketing content and one-on-one meetings with staff members. 

Want to see how an appointment waitlist can help you grow your business? Give NextME a call today!


NextME Waitlist App - Top CRM Consultants in Chicago by Clutch

NextME Featured on Clutch’s 2019 Top CRM Consultant Report

Clutch Top CRM Consultants 2019 NextME Waitlist App

NextME Appointment Waitlist App Wins Top Honors from Clutch

NextME is the ultimate solution for helping various businesses, event organizers, exhibitors, and restaurants effectively manage their appointments and waitlists while improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. As technology develops, virtual solutions are being used more frequently as a method to manage customer relations, which includes managing a queue if you’re an appointment-based business. Due to our success in improving appointment and waitlist management across industries, we have earned a Clutch award for being one of the top CRM consultants in Chicago.

Located in Washington, DC, Clutch is a ratings and reviews startup dedicated to B2B service firms. Since 2013, Clutch’s platform has connected thousands of prospective buyers with service providers for their business needs. By carefully analyzing industry data and conducting their signature client interviews, the Clutch analysts are able to rank and rate the top companies in a variety of industries. We are very grateful to NextME’s clients for taking the time to participate in the interview process. 

Along with our rating on the main Clutch page, we have been featured on The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister-sites of Clutch. The Manifest is a business news platform featuring how-to guides, state of tech news and industry rankings. We can be found listed among the top CRM consultants on The Manifest. Visual Objects is designed to highlight the work of a wide variety of creative agencies ranging from advertisers to software developers. Each Clutch listing offers buyers a unique look into what we can offer to clients. 

We are thrilled to have been selected for these awards. Going forward, we hope to grow our client base and expand our brand. If your business could use help optimizing your appointment and waitlist operations, let’s get in touch today! 

 


Why All Event Organizers Should Use An Appointment Waitlist App - NextME

Why All Event Organizers Should Be Using An Appointment Waitlist Platform

Nobody likes to wait. This is even more true in today’s fast-paced, on-demand society. But waiting is made so much less annoying when you’re given accurate information and kept informed. This is just one of the benefits a waitlist platform can provide for attendees at your next big event. 

Waitlist platforms like NextME are an increasingly popular way for businesses to handle a queue of customers. From restaurants to healthcare clinics to conferences and industry events, this simple to use technology is taking the sting out of waiting. 

And waitlist technology is making things easier on the exhibitor’s end too. It’s taking care of back end tasks like collecting customer data and keeping track of appointments. 

Read on to find out why an appointment waitlist platform is a win/win solution that every event organizer should be using.

Why Appointment Management is Important for Events and Conferences

Greater Exhibitor Retention – Waitlist solutions like NextME allow your exhibitors to properly manage appointments and visitors during events. This leads to greater retention of exhibitors from one event to the next. 

Let’s face it. Your exhibitors are investing a lot of capital to be a part of your event. And they want to ensure they’ll get a good ROI for this investment. The most valuable commodity they’re after? Qualified leads. If you can provide them with the ability to easily capture and qualify potential leads, you’ll see exhibitors come back year after year. 

Providing NextME to your exhibitors is a great way to do this. In fact, this appointment and waitlist platform has been proven to improve lead retention rates by up to 35%. And it’s been tried and tested by the big boys like GE Appliances, who were able to capture more leads and close more sales than in prior events.  

Greater Attendee Retention – Just like exhibitors, you want to entice your attendees to return for future events. A solution like NextME presents a seamless and user-friendly face to visitors at each booth of your event. If they can spend their time networking, browsing, and learning rather than standing in line, they’ll feel like it was time well spent. 

At BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience, NextME was deployed to great effect. As attendees waited to test drive the car of their choice, the chaos of this packed event was effectively managed with this waitlist platform. It allowed for quicker turnarounds so that visitors could participate more fully and test more cars. At all 16 of these events across the country, this lead to enhanced attendee experiences and positive responses. 

"This appointment and waitlist platform has been proven to improve lead retention rates by up to 35%"

The Benefit of Using a Platform that Offers Waitlist and Appointment Management

So why NextME? Why not just combine a basic appointment software with a simple waitlist? Or even just use an old school appointment book? 

Many event exhibitors have found that setting appointments at an event can actually hurt their bottom line when visitors don’t show up. They may have booked a full day of appointments and brought the appropriate staff only to find that half of the visitors have changed their minds or found other things to do. Staff is left twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. And booths are less busy, and consequently less profitable, than they expected. 

It’s similar to the no show problem restaurants have faced for years using reservation systems like OpenTable. Since NextME was originally designed for the restaurant industry, our platform was created with this difficulty in mind. 

NextME offers a combined “appointment waitlist” where people can get a priority spot for a specific appointment time but the expectations are that they still may have to wait. 

With a simple text message, just before their appointment attendees can let booth operators know if they’re still planning to keep their appointment. If so, they are prompted to return to the booth as they’re soon to be next in line. If not, the waitlist is moved forward accordingly and the day progresses smoothly. Staff stays busy, booths stay active, and exhibitors and attendees alike don’t have to waste their time waiting. 

So before your next big event, why not give NextME a call? We’d love to show you how our platform can fit into your plans seamlessly.


Top 12 Brunch Restaurants in Chicago

When you want to head out to one of Chicago’s world-class eateries for a brunch feast, it can be hard to choose. Whether you live in the Windy City or are just visiting, you’re going to love these twelve picks. We’ve selected options that are favorites all around town, and all with no reservations required. So without further ado, below are our picks for the top brunch restaurants in Chicago. 

Top Brunch Restaurants in Chicago

Fresh Seasonal Brunch at Bongo Room

Bongo Room - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Zagat

When you want brunch done right, why not go to a spot that only does breakfast and lunch? The Bongo Room has locations in Wicker Park, South Loop, and Andersonville. They serve up a menu full of brunchy faves all week long. But things really get special on the weekend when they break out their “Sinful” brunch menu featuring faves like a chocolate tower french toast or deconstructed lobster roll benedict. Want something a little more classic? No worries. You can choose from breakfast options like their croissant sandwich, also available in a vegetarian version, or a crowd-pleasing breakfast burrito. If you’re more in the mood for lunch staples, they have all sorts of sandwiches and salads with enough variety to please any palette.

Bakery Brunch at Cafe Selmarie

Cafe Selmarie Bakery - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Winnie

Cafe Selmarie features a contemporary American menu, but on the brunch menu, it’s really the pastries that shine. Their Sunday Brunch offerings change each week, but expect the usual options like benedicts and scrambles, each with a unique twist. Normal pancakes are punched up with walnuts and cherries. Enjoy a roasted mushroom benedict featuring feta and caramelized onion hollandaise. Or top off your eggs with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, and housemade basil pesto. But the real star of the show is the pastry case at the front, which you can browse while you wait. From sour cream coffee cake to housemade granola, it’s got options to suit any taste.

Gastropub Brunch at Farm Bar

Farm Bar - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Eater Chicago

Head to Lakeview this weekend and stop in at Farm Bar for an authentic gastropub experience. On the brunch menu you’ll find down-home breakfast goodies like their pasture-raised steak and eggs or strawberries and cream ricotta pancakes. There are snack options like wisconsin cheese curds or Bavarian style pretzels. And if you’re in a lunch mood, their burgers and fried chicken sandwiches are amazing. Wash it down with their crowd pleasing cold-brew coffee or one of their delightful cocktails. They have four versions of the mimosa to choose from plus sangria, bloody marys, and a featured drink they call the alco-chino.

Pizza Brunch at Frasca

Frasca Pizza - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Eggs, bacon, and toast are great, but sometimes you want your brunch with a bit of a twist. If this sounds like you, you’ve got to try Frasca pizzeria + wine bar. Here you can still get all of those brunch staples like eggs benedict, omelets, and pancakes. But they’ll also be happy to make you a delicious wood-fired pizza for your brunch delight. Can’t choose between the two? You’re going to love the breakfast pizza featuring 3 over easy eggs, sausage, bacon, and cheese. For an extra special treat, add some prosciutto and hollandaise. And don’t forget their mimosa bottle service, peach bellinis, and award-winning bloody marys.

Vegan Brunch at Majani

Majani Vegan - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Majani

Looking for soul food minus the meat and dairy? Majani serves up a soulful vegan brunch that won’t disappoint. Scrambled tofu, lentil sausage with tomato gravy, cheese grits, collard greens, and delicious pancakes are on offer. And it’s all made from the freshest ingredients sourced from local gardens, so you can feel good about eating this decadent and delicious fare.

Organic Brunch at Nana

Nana - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Nana

For another healthy twist on delicious brunch staples, head over to Nana for local, sustainable, organic food that’s totally crave-worthy. The selections are seasonal, but look for delicious staples like chilaquiles and breakfast sandwiches mixed in with options like avocado fries, dulce de leche pancakes, and cauliflower salad. And be sure to grab a side of one of their house-made sausage patties or hose smoked bacon. Everything that comes out of their scratch kitchen is free from additives hormones, and other undesirables. It’s clean eating that tastes sinfully good.

Patio Brunch at Paradise Park

Paradise Park Patio - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Paradise Park

Outdoor dining is a big deal in warm, sunny locations like Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston. But Paradise Park manages to bring a bright spot of sunshine to the windy city with their take on the pizza brunch. You’re sure to love standards like avocado toast and chicken & waffles. But for the more adventurous diner they’re also serving up dutch baby tacos, pulled pork hash, and all sorts of pizza options. Wash it all down with their delicious bottomless mimosas or bloodys, or try out a hangover coffee topped with a Do-Rite Donut!

Fried Chicken Brunch at Parson’s Chicken and Fish

Parson's Chicken & Fish - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App
Clayton Hauck for Parson's

If fried chicken is your favorite brunch food, you’ve got to head to Parson’s in Logan Square or Lincoln Park. For those not in a fried chicken sort of mood, they also offer delightful dishes like their pimento cheese scramble or a smoked salmon veggie club. Want something sweet? Their seasonal cobbler is made with fresh local fruit and topped with fluffy whipped cream. While you’re there, be sure to grab some of their signature beer, brewed in partnership with Revolution Brewing.

Brazilian Brunch at Sinhá

Sinha - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Eating the World

Head for the tastes of South America with Sinhá, a Chicago eatery serving up elegant Brazilian cuisine. The Sunday brunch buffet features farofa, a cassava meal dish, and delicious fried plantains, plus whatever delicious Brazilian delights the chef has chosen to make this weekend. You can expect a variety of dishes made from chicken, beef, seafood, and veggies, paired with mouthwatering hot sauces and chutneys. You’ll also get complimentary desserts, juice, and Brazilian coffee and tea. But if you’re looking for a boozy brunch experience, you’ll need to BYOB.

Foodie Brunch at Southport Grocery and Cafe

Southport Grocery & Cafe - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Southport Grocery & Cafe

At the Southport Grocery and Cafe you can enjoy an amazing scratch made brunch and then bring home delicious and fresh award-winning groceries to create your own foodie feast. This European style cafe offers amazing pastries like scones, cupcakes, cruffins, and savory hand pies. Their all-day breakfast favorites include a veggie quiche or their very own “grown-up pop tart”. Lunch options include the Southport Cuban, chop salad, or a grilled cheese featuring pickled green tomatoes and local apples. Wash it down with kombucha, housemade soda on tap, canned wine, or a beermosa. Southport Grocery and Cafe also happens to be a NextME partner, so even if there is a waitlist when you arrive, you can feel comfortable that it will be managed with ease. 

Filipino Brunch at Uncle Mike’s Place

Uncle Mike's Place - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Fab Food Chicago

Looking for something with an island flair? Uncle Mike's Place serves up their famous Filipino breakfast all day every day. Try the Longaniza, a sweet anise-wine chorizo sausage. Or devour their Tocino, an annato and anise cured pork shoulder. They’ve also got a variety of egg dishes and omelettes to chose from, plus pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, and authentic Filipino breakfast combos. For lunch dishes, there are all the usual sandwiches, soups, salads, and fruit plates. Plus sample the free homemade Lugaw rice soup that’s so good it’s also available to go. This place is a little slice of Pinoy heaven, on Grand Ave in West Town.

Louisiana Style Brunch at Wishbone

Wishbone - Top Brunch Restaurants Chicago No-Reservation NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Bitches Who Brunch

You may not think of finding a farm-fresh Cajun brunch menu in Chitown, but at Wishbone West Loop, you’ll get just that. Enjoy a jambalaya omelette or crawfish cake benedict. The cajun shrimp and grits and chicken andouille hash will remind you of a lazy Sunday morning in the French Quarter. And of course they’re serving up southern favorites like chicken and waffles, corn cakes, and buscuits and gravy. Brunch cocktails on offer include the bloody mary or an irish coffee, as well as unique concoctions like the corpse reviver #312 and the mud bone.


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8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

8 Great Examples of Experiential Marketing

How Top Brands Use Experiential Marketing

It seems that everywhere we go today, we’re bombarded by advertising. For many, this means traditional means of marketing a product are less effective. They fade into the background as just so much white noise. So how can a company get their message noticed in this increasingly competitive space?

Enter experiential marketing.

What is Experiential Marketing?

8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Parker Design Consultants

While you may only be encountering this term recently, it’s likely that you’ve seen experiential marketing many times. Marketing booths at fairgrounds and conferences, car shows, and sample booths are all common examples that have been around for decades.

Experiential marketing is marketing in the real world, in ways that grab the attention more than your typical ad ever could. The methods and specifics are as varied as the products and companies using this technique, but they all have one thing in common. It means interacting directly with your target market and creating memorable experiences, no matter how small or how large.

Why is Experiential Marketing Important?

In today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, smart brands are stepping up their game. Those who pay attention are learning that the best way to capture attention is to stand out from the commonplace. It’s not enough to just hand out a sample or a sales pitch. Instead, marketers must create experiences that people will both remember and talk about.

The best examples of this are those events and experiences that go viral. In addition to reaching people in real time, you also get your message in front of their social networks when they share their experience. In effect, each person reached directly becomes a brand ambassador, spreading your message for you. It’s the kind of reach many brands couldn’t afford to buy, but with a little creativity, it can be created.

How Your Brand Can Use Experiential Marketing

So how do you incorporate this into your brand strategy? The most important thing to remember is that the experience should be unique, and should be intimately tied with your product or message. Here are a few memorable examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience

BMWs Ultimate Driving Experience - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of BMW

What’s the best way to market cars? The test drive. It’s a tried and true method that dealerships have been using for as long as we can remember. But many times, people don’t go test drive a car until they’re pretty sure they want to purchase it. So how does a manufacturer use test driving to get new customers who are not already considering their vehicles? BMW has found a way.

The Ultimate Driving Experience is open to the public at race tracks across the country. But this is not your typical test drive. Rather than cruising comfortably through city streets or suburban neighborhoods, this experience lets you drive in ways you never have before. Spend two hours with professional driving instructors and get behind the wheel of a BMW 3 Series in their Autocross. M Car Control gets you access to a full day with driving coaches, slalom courses, and high-speed skids. The xDrive Experience is a cross between a driving course and a roller coaster, as you take the X5 and X7 through a specially designed course. And for those looking for a tamer experience, there are street drives and even a teen driving school program.

Doc McStuffin Check-up Campaign

When Disney Jr. was looking for a way to market the Doc McStuffin program to their young audience, they knew they wanted an out-of-the-box idea. The show is about a six-year-old girl who has created a health clinic for broken and ailing toys. What better way to promote this than by allowing kids to take on the role of toy doctor themselves?

At retail stores across the UK, a Doc McStuffin’s check up clinic allowed for just that. Big Ted, a larger than life teddy bear, was sick. And little ones could help diagnose and treat him. First, in the waiting room, kids got to watch clips from the show, and get creative with coloring pages and puzzles. Then came doctor training, where kids learned how to give a teddy bear check-up. Once they passed their exams, they got to take home a certificate and a “Doc Is In The House” door hanger to help them set up their own backyard clinics!

Inc. Founders House at SXSW

Inc. is a magazine and website catering to entrepreneurs and small business owners. When they wanted to spread brand awareness at SXSW, they came up with a useful and fun idea. The Inc Founders House is a “one-of-a-kind founders-only space for the extraordinary people starting, running, and growing businesses.”

Inc Founders House SXSW - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Inc. Media

During the festival, the Founders House hosts invite-only happy hours and speakers who can help the next wave of entrepreneurs get their projects off the ground. They’ve chosen some of the most influential founders to bring their own personal brands of inspiration to those who can benefit from them most. And the movement continues throughout the year with the Founders Project, which pairs top-notch founder mentors with up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Harry’s Bartershop

Online subscription clubs are huge right now. They’re a great way for brands to cut out the middle man and send their products directly to consumers. And the subscription concept virtually assures repeat business. What’s not to love? For Harry’s, a shaving subscription service, the difficult thing can be to get consumers to give up their tried and tested brand and make the switch.

Their solution? Harry’s Bartershop. (Yes, you read that right.) This pop-up shop in NYC allowed consumers to barter one overpriced brand name blade for two (or more) of Harry’s. The pop-up store was designed to look like a typical home bathroom, complete with bathtub, toilet, and vanity. But inside that vanity mirror awaits the staff, ready to help consumers trade in their old razors for new ones, and experience the quality and comfort of Harry’s products.

Did You Mean MailChimp?

Sometimes it can be hard for people to find your brand once they’ve seen your marketing. No matter how many times you repeat your business name, there will still be some folks who mishear it. And still others will be thwarted by typos and autocorrect fails. MailChimp has decided to take this problem and turn it into fun marketing for their brand.

They’ve created several brand sites: FailChips, MaleCrimp, NailChamp, WhaleSynth, VeilHymn, and SnailPrimp. Then there were the attention-grabbing short films, like MailShrimp, KaleLimp, and JailBlimp. It’s all part of their “Did You Mean” campaign. And it’s an incredibly memorable way to get their real name in front of new eyes. So whether you want to go behind the scenes on a music video shoot or vote for the best new trends in nail art, you’ll be directed back to the MailChimp site to learn more about their marketing platform.

Nivea Bubble Billboards

A fresh sheet of bubble wrap is hard to resist. The feeling of popping those little plastic pillows is unlike almost any other. Likewise, blowing soap bubbles is the sort of innocent fun that most people associate with happy childhood memories. What brand wouldn’t want their name associated with these sorts of activities?

Nivea found a way to make this association a reality with a new billboard campaign that has plenty of people talking. First is the giant “Reduce the bumps” billboard that’s covered with bubble wrap. It invites passers-by to pop to their heart’s content. Next they created a billboard with the tagline “Oxygen is a wonderful thing” that actually blows bubbles from a giant Nivea bottle.

Nutanix’s .NEXT Conference Tech Lab

Want the ultimate experiential marketing option? Instead of presenting your product at some industry conference, why not create your own? One tech brand has opted to do just that.

Nutanix Next Conference - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Nutanix Inc.

The .NEXT Conference is an annual event sponsored by tech company Nutanix. More than just a brand spotlight, this full-fledged event is designed to help global IT leaders learn about the latest and greatest developments in data center and cloud tech. A key feature of the conference is the ability for attendees to get a first-hand look at the latest Nutanix products. There are also plenty of speakers, training and certifications, and hands-on labs too.

SYFY Karaoke Bus at Comic-Con

Comic-Con is probably the biggest pop-culture and geek gathering in the country. Every year fans and creators alike descend on San Diego for four days of fun and revelry. And if you’re in the comics, video game, fantasy, or sci-fi entertainment business, you definitely want to be there to reach your target audience.

The SYFY channel has found a fun and fantastic way to be a part of the festivities. They’ve created karaoke bus tours featuring the actors from their show “The Magicians”. On this slow-rolling double-decker bus, you can sing along with your favorite tunes and serenade onlookers. As if that wasn’t enough fun for one convention, they also employed a NOLA style marching band. And finally, they created a geek wedding chapel where couples were united in legally binding bliss by none other than Orlando Jones. It was all designed to celebrate the network’s 25th anniversary in true Comic-Con style.

Why Proper Waitlist Management is Crucial to Experiential Marketing

8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how amazing your concept is if it’s not well executed and well managed. And a good experiential marketing concept is bound to draw crowds, so you’ll need to be prepared for them. Long lines and unclear wait times are likely to chase potential customers away before they have the chance to interact with your brand. Instead, utilize a waitlist management solution, like NextME, to keep things moving efficiently and keep visitors happy and engaged as they wait.

NextME has played a big part in the success of several of the examples above. When BMW needed to manage the crowds at 16 different events in 16 cities across the country, NextME stepped up with a standardized tool to ensure quicker turnarounds at each location. When the .Next conference needed to manage the lines waiting to engage with their Hands-On Lab, NextME’s mobile guest engagement platform helped them increase brand awareness. And when the Karaoke busses at Comic-Con wanted a quick and easy way for attendees to digitally reserve their spot on the singalong tour, NextME allowed them to do just that.

As you’re planning your experiential marketing strategies, don’t forget that you’ll need a way to keep waiting guests happy. Contact NextME to discuss how this fully customizable solution can work for your brand strategy.


Do Restaurants Win or Lose when Review Sites Manage their Waitlists?

Diner Review Sites and Waitlist Management - The Inherent Conflict of Interest

Diner Review Sites Waitlist Management NextME Yelp

Photo Courtesy of Twilio

With the introduction of ‘Jump Into Line’ and other features, Yelp is making waves in the restaurant waitlist market. Since it’s a big name that most everyone knows, many diners are jumping on board but restaurant operators have been feeling wary of implementing Yelp’s new features. Yelp’s acquisition of NoWait in March of 2017 brought them a large number of restaurant clients who may not necessarily approve of Yelp’s service or practices. Although using one platform for everything - from waitlist management and operations to diner reviews - seems like a good idea, we began to wonder… Who really wins and loses when a diner review site starts managing a restaurant’s waitlist?

Having easy access to a review platform and the ability to book a reservation is a win for consumers - we aren’t here to debate this fact. But what about the conflict of interest this creates for businesses? Based on our research and the opinions of some industry experts, it’s clear that there must be a compromise solution that provides a great experience for customers without being detrimental to restaurant operations and brand perception. It seems a number of restaurants aren’t happy with the platform and are looking for alternatives. Here’s why...

Sending diners to a review site while waiting in line can increase negative reviews

We all know that there are certain times we can expect a crowd at our favorite restaurants. But that doesn’t mean we don’t hate waiting. If you’re using a review app to manage your restaurant’s waitlist, you’re sending people to a review site at the exact moment they’re most likely to be annoyed by having to wait.  

According to The Street, two of the top restaurant complaints are an unexplained wait and slow service. Review sites like Yelp are trying to sell restaurateurs on a system that would recommend customers post a review while they’re waiting for a seat. Common sense says this is a bad idea. And yet, many restaurants are turning to this review site to manage their wait lists.

Wouldn’t you rather have a simple and effective waitlist solution that allows you to control the content your waiting customers are given? NextME allows you to do just that. With this easy-to-use app, you can send your guests to a page that gives them information and entertainment, rather than asking them for reviews. Your guests can explore the menu, learn about current specials, and interact with social media. So their wait time will seem shorter and they’ll be ready to order by the time they’re seated. The best part about NextME is that diners DO NOT have to download a mobile app.

Review sites build features that benefit diners, not necessarily restaurants

At first, Yelp’s ‘Jump Into Line’ feature may seem like a good idea. Customers can get their names on your list remotely, so they’ll have less wait time when they arrive. Great, right?

What about when large parties jump in? And how can your host or hostess quote accurate times when they don’t know who may be jumping in? There are a number of reasons this feature may not be a good fit for every restaurant.

But review sites like Yelp has now made it mandatory for restaurants to use their 'Jump Into Line Remotely' feature. Don’t like it? Tough. You’re stuck with it.

NextME, by contrast, allows you to opt-in for only the features you actually want. Our system has launched a similar feature to allow guests to put their names on the list remotely, but you won’t be stuck with it if it doesn’t work for you. Instead, you’ll get to try it out, see if you like it, and if not, simply turn this optional feature off. With NextME, you maintain control over what features are offered to guests, to help you create the most efficient and useful system for your needs.

Review sites are overpriced compared to apps that specialize only in waitlist management

We all know margins in the restaurant industry are notoriously thin. Managing the money to keep your head above water can be a challenge during slow periods. So why would you want to pay big money for a system that doesn’t even work well for you?

Review apps like Yelp, are highly overpriced compared to other apps that specialize only in waitlist management. Yelp just increased its price from $100 per month to $300 per month. That’s $300 out of your budget each and every month. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money elsewhere?

By contrast, NextME's paid plans start at $29.99 per month, and we even have a free option for those who are just starting out or who don’t need our more in-depth features.

So you can spend your money on a big name, hoping you can make your restaurant fit into their system. Or you can spend way less for a top-notch system that is customizable to fit your needs. The choice is yours.

All review sites require diners to download a separate app to check their places in line

Some guests are more than happy to download and store dozens of apps on their phone, no matter how frequently they may use them in the future. But more often, convincing a guest to use precious space on their phone is a challenge. And for others, they just don’t want to be forced into downloading something that they’re not sure will be of benefit.

All review sites require diners to download a separate app to use the waitlist feature. So your restaurant winds up having to sell diners on someone else’s business. And if they don’t buy in you’re forced to manage their wait on your own, separate from others who have the app installed. This is inefficient and inhospitable to new guests.

One of the major benefits of NextME is that our system doesn't require, or even request, a download. Instead, we’ll simply text a link to waiting diners, and they can then view content on a web page you’ve designed. Your host stand will have the app, guests will have a seamless experience directed through the web browser of their choice. What could be simpler?

The bottom line...

You want to entertain and inform, not beg for reviews from annoyed guests. You want to maintain control over your business and use only the features that actually work for you. You want to keep costs low and features high. And you want a solution that doesn’t require guests to download yet another app they don’t actually want.

NextME offers all this and more. Why not schedule a demo today to see how our waitlist solution can work for you?


How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

How to Plan Great Gaming Events

How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

Tips for Planning Amazing Gaming Events and Conferences

PAX. Playthrough. London Games Festival. E3. Gamescom. Tokyo Game Show. BlizzCon. MineCon. HaloFest.

What do all of these gaming events have in common? Crowds. More specifically, a need to manage the masses of people seamlessly.

If you've ever been to a gaming event, you probably understand the frustration. You don't want to lose your place in line, but you don't want to have to stand around all day waiting either. There are a million things to do and see, and you have to divide your time well if you plan to get to all the essential ones.

If you're running one of these mega cons, or even a smaller, local gaming event, it's a big problem. You want the whole experience to run smoothly, and you want to keep your gamers happy. Fortunately, we have a few tips to help you manage your next gaming event seamlessly.

Build a Community Before the Event Starts

How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

It’s easy to think that a gaming event is all about the game. But here’s an inside secret: it’s all about the community.

Gamers can play their favorite games in the comfort of their own homes. They don’t even have to put on pants to do so. So what’s the point of getting dressed, going out, and attending a live gaming event?

The biggest draw is the opportunity to bump elbows with fellow gamers.

So how do you build a community during your event? You can’t. The community has to start before you ever open the doors to your event.

In the days, weeks, and months leading up to your event, it’s time to step up your social game. Use social media, gaming sites, twitch.tv, and other online options to engage with the players who will be attending. But more importantly, give them the opportunity to engage with one another.

Rivalries, alliances, and networking can only happen if you lay the groundwork. And they’re essential for a noteworthy gaming event.

Allow Attendees to Plan Their Time

How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

The devil’s in the details, right? Well, better get busy nailing him down.

Sure, you could wait until the last minute to plan out the schedule, map out your space, and get on top of those nagging details. But you’d be missing a huge opportunity.

Want to build buzz? Release as many concrete details as you can. Let your gaming community plan out their time at your event weeks in advance. Let them know what your tournament schedule is going to look like. Give them details on everything that’s going to be happening on the day. Tell them about sponsors, vendors, giveaways, even what foods are available onsite and nearby.

In short, give them lots to think about and lots to talk about. They’ll thank you for it by sharing their excitement with friends and fellow players.

Manage Waitlists and Times Without the Tether

At any decently-sized event, there’s going to be waiting time. It’s pretty much inevitable. There will be lines for check-in, lines for panels, lines for booths. The last thing your attendees want to do is stand in line.

Fortunately, there’s a better option. Using a service like NextME allows your gamers the freedom to wander around while they wait. They can go browse vendor booths, grab a snack, or cheer on their friends who are playing elsewhere.

Once they check in for a tournament or booth, they’ll receive a quick text message with a link. There’s no app for visitors to download. They’ll click through to a browser-based page where they can watch their place in line from anywhere inside or outside your venue. When it’s almost their turn, they’ll get another text alerting them to come back. And they can accept or decline if they’ve changed their mind.

And since you get to control what waiting gamers see when they click, you can use the space however you want. Send them to your social media pages to help spread the word about how amazing your event is. Advertise the after-hours party going on down the street tonight. Direct them to visit your site or to engage with your sponsors.

But one thing you won’t have to do? Make them stand in physical lines.

Follow-up to Build an Audience for Your Next Event

How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

Once your event is wrapping up and you’re getting ready to close the doors, it would be easy to think you deserve a break. But if you plan to host future events, you can’t afford to lose the buzz and energy you’ve spent all this time building!

Before the end of this event, start hyping the next one. Ideally, you should already have the dates, times, and venue nailed down. Offer a pre-registration or at least let attendees sign up to receive updates as the details become available.

Then, follow up. Ask for feedback, and then actually listen. Keep your community strong with online events or giveaways. Don’t let a month go by without communicating with your audience.

It’s a whole lot easier to maintain the connections that you’ve worked so hard to make than it is to create new ones. Keep expectations high and send out buzz-worthy messages. You can expect your fans will share their experience and their enthusiasm with others too!


Best Brunch Las Vegas

NextME's Guide: Top 10 Brunch Spots in Las Vegas

We all know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But honestly, Vegas brunches are too good not to share! If you’re looking for some of the best brunch spots on and off the Las Vegas strip, NextME's got the goods right here.

Energetic Brunch at Eureka!

Photo Courtesy of OC Foodies
Photo Courtesy of OC Foodies

With a cozy patio, quirky decor, and handpicked house music spun by a live DJ, Eureka! Is a fun, upbeat option for brunch downtown. You’ll find them on East Fremont Street, just blocks from the Fremont Street Experience. The brunch menu features standards like steak ‘n’ eggs and chilaquiles. But be sure to try some of their delicious fried chicken topped with a jalapeño-infused maple glaze and served with a side of crispy bacon. Or order the avocado toast for a unique twist on this brunch staple (hint: chimichurri sauce). No matter what you order, be sure to try some of their handcrafted drinks, and enjoy some people watching as you munch!

Island Brunch at Kapuna Cafe

Brunch Las Vegas
Photo Courtesy of Kapuna Cafe

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all and enjoy some island vibes. If you can’t manage a trip to the tropics, go for the next best thing with brunch at Kapuna Cafe on North Decatur Blvd. From Kalbi (grilled short ribs) to Mochi Pancakes, and plenty of spam if that’s your thing, they’ve got the island flavors you’re sure to adore. Everything is cooked fresh and served up hot by amazingly friendly staff. Stop by and see why Vegas is called the ninth island!

Diner Brunch at Norm’s Diner

Photo Courtesy of Eater Vegas
Photo Courtesy of Eater Vegas

If you’re looking for an old-school diner style brunch, look no further than Norm’s Diner on S. Durango Drive. They’re proud to serve up some of the best benedicts in town, along with all sorts of breakfast and lunch staples. It’s the sort of place that attracts regulars because the food is just that good. And it ought to be. After all, Norm used to be a chef for the Las Vegas Hilton, back when Elvis played there.

Chinese and Brunch at the Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen

Photo Courtesy of SLS Las Vegas
Photo Courtesy of SLS Las Vegas

If you’ve ever craved a side of fried rice with your brunch entrees, we’ve got the perfect brunch spot for you! Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen in the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino offers the best of breakfast, alongside over 40 authentic Chinese dishes. The breakfast menu is available all day and night, but the dim sum starts after 11am, so come in the late morning or early afternoon for the best selection. They’ve got dishes ranging from Caramelized Banana Pancakes to spicy Salt & Pepper Squid, with several American, Mexican, and even Italian offerings as well.

Home Cookin’ Brunch at Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs

Photo Courtesy of Eater Vegas
Photo Courtesy of Eater Vegas

Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs serves up delicious home cooked food in Henderson and Las Vegas. It may be the most extensive brunch menu you’ve ever encountered, so be sure to bring your appetite. From standard egg plates and skillets to their delicious Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, and New York Deli specials, you’re sure to find something perfect for everyone in your party. And while each person is likely to find a unique flavor to dine on, one thing will be the same for all: the food is amazing, perfectly cooked, and served by friendly staff.

Granola Brunch at Rooster Boy Cafe

Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Weekly
Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Weekly

The Rooster Boy Cafe on Regatta Drive in beautiful Desert Shores is the sort of friendly, neighborhood cafe where everyone feels instantly at home. They’ve got some really delightful options for all-day breakfast, including several dishes for those with dietary restrictions. But the real star of this show is their delicious breakfast bowls made with Rooster Boy’s own special blends of granola. We’re pretty sure you’re going to fall in love with the decadent tastes, but don’t worry! You can even get bags of granola to go so you can re-create your favorite bowls at home.

NYC Jewish Deli Brunch at Sadelle’s

Photo Courtesy of Food & Wine

If the York Deli scene is your passion, Sadelle’s in the Bellagio Conservatory is the place to go. They serve all day breakfast including all the usual favorites, from fried chicken to omelets to sticky buns. But their fresh, hot bagels are the real standout here. Be sure to try out the Sadelle’s Tower, with perfectly smoked salmon and luxe caviar. Looking for sweet rather than savory? Keep an eye peeled for the pastry cart with its fresh and delicious baked goods.

Craveable Healthy Brunch at SkinnyFATS

Photo Courtesy of SKINNY FATS
Photo Courtesy of SKINNY FATS

The tag line at SkinnyFATS is “Live Healthy, Live Happy” and one taste of their mouth-watering food will show you just how well they adhere to it. From chia puddings to smothered breakfast burritos, these dishes will delight just about any taste preference. This eatery features a split menu: half healthy, half decadent, and all incredibly yummy. And with four Vegas locations and an additional two in Henderson, you’re sure to have one nearby, wherever you are.

Ultimate Brunch Buffet at the Wicked Spoon

Photo Courtesy of Cosmopolitan

In a city famous for its buffet options, Bacchanal Buffet is our pick for the best brunch buffet in Vegas. Located in Caesar’s Palace, this huge food hall has everything you could possibly want in a brunch spot. The New York Post has called this one the best buffet in the country, and Thrillist says it’s “the standard against which all Las Vegas buffets are judged,” so you know this one is worth a visit. With seating for 600 in an over 25,000 square foot space, this is an enormous eatery with nine show kitchens and plenty of made-to-order dishes to choose from.

Hidden Gem Brunch at Zenaida’s Cafe

Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Weekly

Located just off E Tropicana Ave downtown, Zenaida’s Cafe is the kind of welcoming, fun brunch spot you’d expect to draw a huge crowd. Yet it’s far enough from the action of the strip that you’ll find mostly locals here. They have all the usual brunch eats, made to perfection and delivered to your table by their friendly and helpful staff. Check out favorites like the shrimp and grits, tofu scramble, or avocado toast. And since it’s far from the glitz of the casinos, you can also get some amazing food for reasonable prices here!