Presented by Zouk Singapore
In a crowded, competitive club scene in a tiny country, Zouk has consistently stood head and shoulders above all for 27 years now – an achievement the premier club celebrated with a weekend bash at the top of May, and a fact that its management does not take for granted in the slightest.
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In the wake of the head-spinning anniversary weekender headlined by Marshmello, Ben Nicky and Zouk's resident DJs, we asked Andrew Li (pictured below), CEO of the Zouk Group, to survey the club's progress so far and tell readers a little more about where it's headed in the future. We covered plenty of ground, from the club's momentous shift to Clarke Quay, its revamped membership scheme, the move into the dining space and an exciting expansion to Genting Highlands.
Zouk made an important move from Jiak Kim to Clarke Quay late 2016-early 2017. With new concepts being introduced soon after, it seemed like that was an important opportunity for the club to change. Can you tell us about how Zouk seized that opportunity?
The move to Clarke Quay was in line with the evolution of the Zouk brand. As a 27-year old institution, we have always seen ourselves as our biggest competition, which is why we constantly challenge ourselves to stay relevant and to always be at the forefront of pioneering new experiences and concepts. But we wanted to do it in a sustainable way, so the strategy was to allow ample time to highlight the different experiences and offerings at each outlet, instead of launching the new complex in its entirety. So we launched RedTail Bar first, followed by Zouk, then Phuture and finally, Capital a few months later.
6,000 people partied through Zouk’s anniversary weekender with Marshmello, Ben Nicky and the Zouk All Stars. How did that weekender cap off an era of Zouk?
If you think about it, it is surreal that Zouk is now 27 years old. We’re older than most of our patrons! With that we know that we carry with us a heavy responsibility to preserve and protect this institution, all while being able to balance the need to evolve with market demands. Our anniversary celebrations this year was a reminder to us of that responsibility and to celebrate this milestone with the people that matters the most to us – our guests.
Congratulations on placing third in the world on DJ Mag’s latest list. Zouk is no stranger to the list but this is certainly a new peak for the club. What does this ranking mean for Zouk, and how does Zouk plan to further its dominance in the global clubbing and party scene?
We’re humbled to have made it into the top three and have to thank the fans for voting for us. The plan is essentially pretty straightforward - we want to be able to be the first Asian club to be ranked at the top of the polls, and that begins with us consistently delivering the best possible experience and service to our guests. We want to be able to provide every single person that walk through our doors with Zouk moments - memories that will last a lifetime. Creating these moments and experiences will be key as we embark on our global expansion plans over the next few years.
Zouk's refreshed Membership Programme
Zouk membership was briefly retired, but the club has brought it back. Why reinstate the membership scheme, and why introduce tiers?
We never really retired the membership programme. We always had plans to refresh it and with Zouk’s relocation to Clarke Quay, we knew that the timing was right now for us to reintroduce the programme.
The tiered system essentially enhances our membership engagement with the introduction of RFID technology loaded into the cards to help us better understand our loyal guests. This in turn allows to better develop targeted benefits and enhanced services across each tier.
This includes a more comprehensive lifestyle perks programme for all members, as well as exclusive money-can’t-buy experiences and personalized services for the top tier members.
How are numbers like when it comes to Zouk membership? Is it growing?
Numbers and demand are strong. But we’re wanting to keep it by-invite-only to maintain exclusivity.
The Friends of Zouk tier of membership is notably open to the public to apply. Can you tell us about the decision to introduce this initiative?
Friends of Zouk is an annual subscription and benefit programme that is targeted to those who wish to be in the know of our latest updates. We kept it open to the public as we intended it to double as a programme to identify new pools of loyal supporters who we can invite into the exclusive membership programme.
Zouk's new social gaming lounge, RedTail
Zouk moved into the dining space with RedTail with an Asian fusion menu. How has that expansion been so far, and does Zouk plan to move even further into dining?
We are looking into potentially expanding our dining concepts in the near future. The end goal is to essentially be able to grow Zouk into a leading lifestyle brand with world-class clubbing concepts and unique F&B establishments. With RedTail, we intended for it to be a pre-game space where our guests could head to prior to heading into Zouk, which is why we’ve been steadily adding social gaming experiences. It is also used as a testbed for our modern Asian dining concept that we plan to launch in Genting Highlands this year. In gist, we want RedTail to be the place perfect for get-togethers – drinks, games, laughter, and conversations. We recently launched our RedTail inspired social games that include beer pong tables, stack cup and more. The take up has been great and we will be introducing more for our guests to have fun with!
When RedTail opened, many people imagined that Zouk’s audience would patronise RedTail. Has it been the other way around – that is, RedTail attracting new clientele to Zouk?
RedTail has allowed us to offer a fun and social hangout for people who want to socialise away from the bustle of a nightclub. Since its conception, we have managed to cater for a demographic that may have outgrown Zouk's clubs, or those who simply just want to catch up and have a good time with friends over drinks.
RedTail was also one of Zouk’s concepts to make the move to Genting Highlands. How's the reception been so far?
I am lucky to say yes, it has been very well received. RedTail has offered Genting a new millennial attraction joint and has continued to draw younger demographics to the resort. On top of this, we have introduced giant-sized games to the industry and it has been a huge success. As the brand grows, the crowd grows with it and the feedback has been very positive thus far. By the end of this year, Genting will welcome a total of five new outlets under the Zouk umbrella. There is a lot of anticipation in Malaysia and all of us at Zouk are thrilled for what’s coming ahead.