Yes, we may seem like a relaxed and happy hospitality team, but in reality, we are paranoid nervous wrecks. Just two slow Tuesday nights of our Amsterdam milonga in a row are enough to start us fabricating conspiracy theories. When all our guests have left, the drama commences. ‘What is WRONG with us? Why didn’t they show up?’, someone will say, ‘Last week it was quiet too, and no FOLLOWERS.’ (Really, this actually happens). ‘But this week, where are the LEADERS!’ another will respond. ‘And why did everybody arrive so LATE!’. However, what we really should be talking about… is the rain.
The effects of rainy night milongas unfold in the following tragic pattern: besides dancers not showing up, a fair number of regulars arrive late. It’s the only occasion where a low entry price actually works against the milonga; dancers can afford to stay for just an hour. However, people that showed up early, despite the rain, danced much more than usual, with fewer dance partners and leave early, satisfied. The late newcomers usually arrive in a party that is winding down and revert to beer, chips and conversation.
As we are approaching that magical number of five hundred editions of our weekly milonga, I am ready to share the wisdom which I have accumulated over many years about which factors will influence the attendance of a weekly milonga, and which will not. The wisdom is… that I don’t have a clue. The only exception to this stunning feat of ignorance is my statistically plausible, but never really proven, observation that rain falling down in buckets, or drizzles, or drops on the night of your milonga will reduce the crowd by ten, or even as much as thirty percent.
There are hardly satisfactory factual explanations for slow nights occurring. We have discarded most over the years. The quality of your DJ is irrelevant and it’s not about the peanuts. Some people may not like you, but they really are not thinking about you. They just don’t share your mission of ‘growing tango and making dancers feel alive and appreciated’, in quite the same way. The struggle to understand consumer behaviour exists throughout society. Consumers are faced with an abundance of options and don’t even know themselves what they are up to in the next few hours! Under these circumstances a couple of dark clouds and showers may easily tip a person into procrastination, and the comforting arms of Netflix.