Is your trivia night starting to lose its novelty and spark? Are fewer people attending your regular events? Or maybe you’re new to the trivia night scene in your neighborhood and haven’t quite figured out what works for you yet? Whatever it is, it sounds like you need some tips for breaking out of the funk and taking your pub quiz to the next level!
You will find plenty of tips for running your trivia night on the internet. You’ll read about the importance of having interactive questions, appropriate decor, and creative themes. These things can help, but we can only assume you’re already doing your best (especially with our guidance!). There are other things you can do that are a bit more outside of the box. Here are some unique ways you can improve your upcoming trivia night!
1. Use Trending Topics
Instead of relying on good old boring general knowledge trivia every time, switch things up once in a while. Find a trending topic that people are talking about and incorporate it in your trivia night. The internet is your source of inspiration. Did a new season of a popular TV show just come out? Is there a new blockbuster in the movie theatres? Have you heard any celebrity gossip lately? All of that can push you towards a prominent theme for your pub quiz.
If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of pop culture, settle for something everybody likes, like Harry Potter, Friends, or The Office. Those are quite obvious and overdone, but it will still be a pleasant change of pace. You can’t go wrong with a bit of pop culture trivia! You can buy ready question packs, so you don’t even have to get into the intricacies of celebrity affairs.
If you go for a topic you’ve never tried before, you might draw a different crowd. That’s great because you can find new loyal customers among your new crowd. You don’t have to neglect your regulars; keep general knowledge trivia on every other week. You can even ask your regulars about the topics they are interested in and would like to see in the next trivia night!
You can mix your new theme in with the regular general knowledge theme. Add some pop culture questions, but don’t make it strictly pop culture if you don’t want to. Either way, new topics can be really fun!
2. Offer Appealing Prizes
Make sure the prizes you’re offering are appealing to your audience. Gift cards and free drinks are the blueprint. They are the most inoffensive and general prizes. Naturally, that makes them quite boring. Sure, a Taco Bell gift card is nice, but it’s not something to look forward to. Players will still come to your event and enjoy it, but it won’t be for the prizes.
Prizes offer an extra fun element to the game. You might not win, but if you do, you can get your hands on an interesting prize! For those who are hesitant about attending, a unique prize can push them in the right direction. Most trivia night organizers cannot afford to cash out on a prize, so players come knowing they’re not getting the new iPhone.
Something that is not too expensive to manufacture is your own merchandise. Give your trivia champions a mug with a funny slogan and your company’s logo on it. Print your logo on t-shirts, hoodies, umbrellas, sunglasses, and anything else you can think of. That’s definitely a more memorable prize than a gift card. Besides, you can use it as free promo! It’s not free per se, but if you were going to spend money on prizes anyway, why not invest it in your own merch?
If merchandise is not something you are ready to invest in, look around for prizes that are trivia-related. A book of fun facts or some fun apparel with a trivia theme will usually do the trick. A good prize will make the night more memorable for the winners and encourage the other teams to come back again and try harder. Skip the boring gift cards and give your players a way to remember you.
3. Offer Specials on Food and Drinks
Though unlimited drinks at the bar for the night is a boring prize, it is a good way to encourage people to come around and play. When you’re advertising your trivia night, include a special for players. That can be two cocktails for the price of one or half off on beer for all players. Factor this idea in when you’re crunching the numbers on how much to spend on a trivia night.
People often shy away from attending trivia nights regularly because they don’t want to spend too much money on food and drinks. They’d rather play a trivia board game at home, for free. Give everyone a chance to play by offering a special deal on drinks and food.
It doesn’t all have to be discounted drinks for players. You can offer a free pitcher of beer to any team that gets five correct answers in a row. Tell players to all come dressed in one color. The team that does it best can get free appetizers or a round of cocktails.
Give people a reason to come to your trivia night beyond just playing. Those who don’t leave with a prize can feel accomplished because they got a free drink out of it. Offering freebies and discounts makes your trivia event more accessible to everyone. Everyone likes free stuff!
4. Use Your Space
Do you have enough space in your bar for everyone to sit comfortably, or do people have to stand around? Not having enough chairs or having to stand is very uncomfortable. You can solve this problem by moving the furniture around or simply inviting fewer people. It seems like a loss of money to invite fewer people, but you know they will have a better time if they can sit down and move around comfortably.
Can everyone see and hear the host? That’s another common problem with bars. Because of the size of the space or the positioning of the tables, not everyone might be able to see the host. You obviously want to invite as many people as you can, but you can’t go over your venue’s capacity. Not only is it unsafe, it also makes the overall trivia experience worse.
Count how many people can fit in your venue comfortably. Everyone should be able to see the host at the very least. If your venue is so big that sound doesn’t project, get the host a microphone. Make sure that your venue is accessible to people with disabilities. You can mention it in your advertisements to let people know everybody’s welcome.
At the risk of losing money, don’t invite too many people to your event. It won’t be an enjoyable experience and people won’t come back. A very large crowd of people won’t be able to connect with the host, thus the game might turn out dull and uninteresting.
If you have the opposite problem, you know what you have to do. Use promotion to attract more people and try to fill in the space so it doesn’t look empty. Add decorations and spread the tables further apart. Work with the space you have!
5. Check Your Equipment
Is your equipment good enough for the space? Can everyone hear the music in the audio round well? Can everyone see the screen when you’re reading the questions, or showing a picture or a video? If not, that can be a deal breaker for many people. Poor audio quality will result in everyone asking each other what the recording said. The same works for video. That can make the trivia night very hectic and make it so nobody can hear the host. It’s easy to lose the connection with the audience this way.
If the problem is not with the quality of the screen but its position, move things around. You can reposition the screen or move the tables around to make it so everyone can see the screen well. Not being able to see the screen can ruin the experience for many people. Keep in mind that you might have players with impaired hearing; being able to read the questions is crucial for them. Besides, poor positioning or quality of the screen will give your host an extra job. Suddenly they will have to repeat every question times and again just to make sure everybody got it. That can really stunt the progress of the game.
It goes without saying that you should test your equipment before the game and give yourself enough time to replace any faulty equipment. Always have a backup and print the questions on paper just in case your screen gives in in the middle of the game. With printed questions, you will be able to keep going without a screen for the most part.
6. Promote Your Event
How and where are you promoting your trivia night? Perhaps you’re not doing enough when it comes to marketing, or the marketing you’re doing is ineffective. After all, how can people know about your upcoming event if you don’t advertise it anywhere? If you haven’t been doing any promo for your events, this is a good place to start.
Word of mouth is incredibly effective and virtually free, if you do it right. Print some flyers to give to your players after the event. Include a QR code that leads to one of your social media accounts. Use the flyers to ask your players to invite their friends next time. Offer them a reward for every new player, like the ability to request a different question or a hint, or even one free drink per every new player.
You can also include the one free drink per new player policy in your social media ads and posters. Social media marketing is a great free tool for promotion. Explore the option of free posts and paid ads. Post about your event on as many social media platforms as possible and encourage your friends to share your posts.
Don’t just make your post and leave. Interact with your followers, answer DMs, and reply to comments. Social media is all about engagement. Increase your visibility online and make your events more accessible this way. People are more likely to attend if they keep seeing you everywhere.
7. Learn from the Competition
The reason you’re not filling up the space might be because there are competing trivia nights in the neighborhood that run at the same time. What are they doing that you are not doing? Are there many events going on in the area at the same time?
If you’re new, don’t try to compete with the more established pubs and copy exactly what they do. Instead, find your own niche. You can make it easier for yourself by moving your trivia night to a different night of the week. There are enough customers for everyone! If you insist on holding your trivia night on the same night, go for it, but differentiate yourself. Instead of directly competing with other bars, draw a different crowd.
It’s good to have an idea of what you’re missing that other bars have. Maybe their venues are nicer or their themes are more interesting. Maybe they offer specials on food and drinks, and their prizes are cooler than yours. You can do it all and do it better! Figure out what you’re missing and work on making your trivia night great in your own way.
You don’t have to be exactly like all the other bars in your area. In fact, I encourage you to find your own unique selling proposition and use it to promote your events. Bring something new to the trivia scene in your city. You don’t have to steal anyone’s clientele; you can easily find your own!
Embrace Your Style!
It might be your first instinct to find other, more successful pub trivia organizers in your area and copy exactly what they do. It’s good to learn from others and put your own spin on some of their successful ideas, but don’t copy exactly what they do. Your event is unique and special in its own way. Learn from professionals in the field, but don’t copy them.
Use the ideas in this article to kick it up a notch and give your trivia night its second wind. Eventually, you will build a strong community of trivia lovers who will attend your events regardless of prizes, themes, specials, and competing events in the area.