2018 brought intimate conversations about sexual harassment and personal safety to the fore. Conversations like #MeToo have made their mark on the music industry, inspiring top-level conversations about gender parity amongst some of the world’s largest music festivals.

It’s time for the live music business to bring these conversations closer to home.

If you work at a venue or event, even a minor transgression of a customer’s personal safety or dignity can mean you’ve lost a fan for life.

The opposite is true as well: keeping your fans safe means they’ll have a better time at your event, spend more money, and tell their friends about their experience. Positive word-of-mouth marketing is worth its weight in gold.

Here’s scientific research that proves why.

Research shows: Safer customers are repeat customers

Ever wish you had the time and resources to poll thousands of fans about how they felt at your space? Researchers did it for you.

Mark Johnson and four other research scientists went to 70 nightclub events in the San Francisco area from 2010-2012. They interviewed more than 2,000 attendees at entrance and exit, asking questions about their perception of security, problems they had witnessed, and any negative experiences they had.

Then they asked if the fans would return to the same club or any other club in the future. Their findings, published in the Journal of Safety Research in 2016, indicate that the safer clubgoers feel at a given venue, the more likely they are to come back.

The full study — Night club patrons who feel safe will return: Evidence to encourage management to address club violence — has many more insights, but the takeaway is clear: Safer customers are return customers. The safer your fans feel, the more likely they are to come back to your venue. Keeping your fans safe is good for business.

You need more than just security staff to help fans feel safe

The full study also found that while people who regularly saw security staff experienced higher perceived safety, these results were correlational. Security staff weren’t necessarily the root cause of attendees feeling safer. This suggests that keeping fans safe isn’t as simple as hiring additional security staff.

The study authors found that keen, perceptive venue staff who identified potentially hazardous situations before they became an issue were essential to fans’ perceived safety. This allowed staff to intervene early without affecting the club atmosphere. In other words, proactive security staff are essential to keeping fans safe — but heavy-handed enforcement stands at odds with that goal. 

Take action to keep fans safer by reading Creating Safer Spaces for Fans: Combating Harassment at Your Venue, Nightclub, or Festival.

 

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