Club Promoters Cover Campus, Litter Residence Halls

Nickel beers. Dollar shots. Ladies Night. Drinks FREE ’till one with college ID. With so many options for a Saturday night, the question is not what to wear, but where to go. Many UT students use word of mouth to decide what bar to hit. If that doesn’t work, club owners release a secret weapon: club promoters.

“Promoters are usually used by clubs that are not established,” said Fredy Fernandez, general manager and partial owner of Hyde Park Caf’eacute;.

Their most frequent tactic? Peppering UT residence halls with wallet-sized flyers plastered with half naked women in hopes of catching the eye of students itching for a night on the town.

“They’re seriously part ninja,” said sophomore Dwayne Duke. “They get in and out without anyone seeing. Wednesday is when they usually try to get in, that way people have some time to look at the flyer and think about going. After a while it gets annoying, but sometimes I see one that I’m interested in going to.”

Although club and business promotions are common trends on campus, the success rate is surprisingly low.

“We have a five percent return rate on flyers,” said Fernandez. “That means for every 100 flyers we send out, five people will respond to them.”

Tommy Ortiz, co-owner of many popular establishments in the Tampa area including Cheap, The Kennedy, and Whiskey Park North agrees that promoters bring in less revenue than most would assume.

“The return rate on flyers and promoters is so minimal, that it is better to use word of mouth,” said Ortiz. “Make the customers happy and that’s what keeps them coming back.”

Door-to-door promotion becoming obsolete may be a good thing for some employees. Promotion on UT’s campus is strictly forbidden without permission from the dean of students.

“We get a lot of calls on promoters trespassing,” said UT Security Officer Davis. “We’ll give them a warning for trespassing on campus but if they’re caught coming back then we have them arrested and incarcerated.”

Onix Rivera, a server at Hyde Park Caf’eacute;, experienced the negative side of club promotion first hand.

“My friend and I got caught promoting on UT campus once”, said Rivera. “Security saw us on the elevator cameras and by the time we got off, they were there ready to kick us out.”

Even with the threat of security, promoters are relentless when snagging customers.

“The average club probably spends about $50,000 a year on promoters,” said Peter Hannouche, co-owner of Hyde Park Caf’eacute;. “But it can be a waste of money because a lot of times, promoters don’t follow through with what they’re supposed to do.”

Just as popular as promotion to get customers to clubs is the promotion of preferred transportation.

“The advantage of party buses is that they bring a lot of guests all at once,” said Kristian Palas, manager at Hyde Park Caf’eacute;. “There is a chance to sell a table and make a lot of money.”

Even members of UT security see the value of using a party bus to get to clubs.

“There’s been underage drinking going on in colleges since the days of Aristotle,” said Davis. “Party buses have to park off campus because of the alcohol demographic, but in a way they help prevent students from drinking and driving.”

But party bus use has an ugly side.

“We’ve used party buses and limos to bring in guests but it’s not a good idea,” said Fernandez. “If something on the bus is damaged or if someone is drinking underage, the club is liable. I also can imagine underage girls put themselves in vulnerable positions on party buses.”

Whatever the costs of partying, for most students, it’s all worth it.

“You could go to a club you saw on a flyer and end up marrying her,” said Duke. “It would all be because of a flyer … under your door.”

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