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Clientele variations and urban nightclub locations; a case study of Vancouver Gill, Warren George

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the relations between clientele variations, as indexed by appearance and behavior, and nightclub locations in Vancouver, B.C. Nightclubs are marketers of experiential products where the customer is part of the entertainment. The sociological and psychological literature suggest that a person's appearance and behavior at entertainment activities are a reflection of his self image and are components of his life style. Retail location studies indicated that self image and life style are important factors in a customer's selection of stores at which to shop. Thus appearance and behavior of clientele can be assumed to be a differentiating factor between nightclubs. Two working hypotheses were advanced: 1) that in general nightclubs with similar clientele group together in urban space; and 2) in some cases nightclubs will group together to permit something akin to comparative shopping. A rating instrument was developed to unobtrusively measure seven variables (hair, clothing, facial decoration, companionship, dance, drink, and age) that together describe the appearance and behavior of clientele at nightclubs. The instrument had two subsections, one for male and another for female subjects. The development and testing of the instrument was one of the major tasks of the thesis. Cross tabulations and examination of responses to selected variables indicated that relationships did exist between the categories of the seven variables, for both male and female subjects. It was therefore concluded that there were a number of identifiable client types implicit in the nightclub population. The nightclubs were classified by a hierarchical grouping technique on the basis of similarity of clientele. Both male and female groups showed a definite segmentation along appearance and behavior lines; the male groups also corresponded closely with the entertainment policies of the nightclubs. Further examination indicated that the nightclub groups were spatially defined into seven subdistricts within the C.B.D. and in terms of a core-frame pattern. Four of the subdistricts were determined to be composed of nightclubs with similar clientele, the remaining three subdistricts contained clubs with different yet not incompatible clientele. At a more aggregated scale of five subdistricts, four were shown to have similarities in clientele. The core-frame pattern revealed that there were two groups of clubs with similar clientele; dance and floor show clubs in the core of the C.B.D., and clubs marketing nude entertainment in the frame. This pattern was confirmed by an analysis of the quality of the nightclub sites. The analysis of nightclub locations confirmed that, as hypothesized, definite spatial patterns could be determined from variations in clientele appearance and behavior. A comparison of the male and female group structure indicated that the males were more useful in segmenting the market. It was suggested that this situation was a reflection of the social dominance of the male in choosing entertainment activities.

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