Posh surroundings: Lagoon-side VIP seating at Tryst (top). The library atmosphere and art-adorned walls create
an eclectic vibe at the insiders’ hot spot Drai’s After Hours (bottom).
again turned to Drai and the Waits. The trio
conjured up a top-of-the-line club designed
to attract high-flyers but remain accessible.
The New Year’s Eve opening night at XS
took in an estimated $1 million; the club has
already exceeded sales expectations. As
the summer season approached, Cy Waits
was busy adding bartenders and servers.
“We’re running with 30 waitresses, but
are going to 45 for the summer at XS,” he
says. Tryst and Drai’s are also on the upswing; Drai’s is running 20 percent ahead of
last year. The three clubs combined did over
$1 million in a single March weekend.
But wait: isn’t Vegas being hard hit by
the recession? Gambling revenues are estimated to be down 22 percent on the strip
and discounts abound at bars, nightclubs,
hotels and restaurants. What gives?
Simply put, the three micro-manage
guest service and operations, and empower
staff to provide top-notch, personalized hospitality. The final element is an unshakeable
belief that the club is the brand.
preferences, frequency of visits, average
spend, liquor preference, etc.”
That information is actionable: when
VIPs check in at the front desk at XS, for example, it triggers a series of lightning-speed
communications and the guests’ bottles are
set up and at the ready by the time they’re
lead down the staircase, through the glittering club and to their table. For all the club’s
opulence, prices are competitive: $30 for
men and $20 for women at the door, cocktails are $12 or $13 and bottle service of
super-premium vodkas such as Grey Goose
is $495 on Friday and Saturday nights.
The personal service doesn’t stop there.
“A standard follow-up procedure is also
expected of our staff: checking on the
client prior to the visit, checking in on them
periodically throughout the evening and
a follow-up call in the morning — not too
early, of course — to make sure everything
went as they had hoped and to see if there
is anything we could do differently next
time,” says Jesse Waits.
Celebrities are fixtures at XS, Tryst and
Drai’s After Hours, but not because they’re
paid to be there. “We want the celebs to
have privacy, so there are no paparazzi allowed inside the clubs,” Cy Waits explains.
“That’s actually one of the reasons we
attract a lot of celebrities.”
Hot DJs such as DJ Vice, DJ Irie and
Sharam of Deep Dish appear regularly at
all three clubs but are never advertised.
“Sometimes we know they’re coming,
sometimes they just come in and ask to
spin. Whatever occurs, we treat them well,
make them comfortable,” says Cy Waits.
“We don’t push events or who is here
— celebrities, DJs, whomever — because
everyone is a VIP, but the club is the star.
We don’t want people to come in just
because some individual happens to be
here; tomorrow night that person could be
somewhere else. We want them to come
because of the product we offer, which is
the club itself. The club is the brand.”
Accessible pricing, nearly zero advertising
spending and exuding a consistently hot
vibe drives the 70 percent profit margin,
according to Cy Waits.
Inside Out Marketing
Marketing mastermind Jesse Waits buys
very little advertising — maybe a billboard
here and there for Tryst and XS; there is no
advertising for Drai’s. Instead, exposure is
generated through stories in media favored
by club-goers, such as Black Book and 944.
The real marketing occurs via the
employees. “Our staff is our most valuable
marketing tool,” says Jesse Waits. “They’re
encouraged to have [presence on] Face-book, MySpace, Linkedin and now Twitter.”
While Jesse Waits considers social media
an amazing if not saturated medium, grass-roots marketing is the preferred strategy.
“The family atmosphere of our staff involves
group outings in and outside of Vegas that
expand our current customer base.”
Adds Cy Waits, “We all talk up the club,
invite people in. People want to be where
it’s a great crowd, lots of girls and the
energy feels good. Our staff gives off that
energy no matter where they are.”
The clubs also employ VIP hosts to care
for elite guests. A custom-designed data
base tracks the guest from reservation to
a personal phone call after their visit. “The
essence of VIP is individualized service,”
Jesse Waits explains. “From the second
a client makes a reservation, we have full
accountability for them throughout the
system: general information and details with
notes and a small biography including music
The real driver of their success, says Cy
Waits, is the staff. Each employee is care-