Marc Jay: Hi it’s Marc, back with Clubplanet and today I’m joined by the wonderful Ms. Sherri Martin. Now, Sherri, I know you’re a VIP host, and this industry is more about male dominance but you’re one of the leaders in your field. Tell us, how did you become so successful in what you do? And tell us more about where you work here in Las Vegas.
Sherri Martin: I work at LAVO nightclub which is part of the Tao Group, located in the Palazzo Hotel and Casino. I think a lot of my success has to do with being confident and being able to work well with others, especially in a male-dominated field. Especially keeping a high clientele and keeping in touch with those clientele and making everyone feel like they’re VIP. Also, you just have to have a lot of confidence and great work ethic, because it is a lot of hard work.
Marc Jay: I see this host at work at night, but we know it’s more involved than just showing up at 10 o’clock before the doors open. Tell us about your schedule and what you do during the days as well.
Sherri Martin: If there were 10 days in a week, I’d work 10 days in a week. I absolutely work every day and night with probably one day off, but you know what, it’s very rewarding because you meet a lot of new people, you build a clientele, and you bring revenue to the venue you work for. During the day it’s either office hours, visiting hotels, keeping in touch with your clients and then at night it’s making sure that the people who support you are having a wonderful time.
Marc Jay: Now I know LAVO is open six days a week, which is quite a lot for a club here in Vegas. Tell us about the different nights and particularly, which one is your favorite?
Sherri Martin: At LAVO, Tuesday and Sunday are our industry evenings. Wednesday we have something called “Label Junkie” which is based around fashion. Thursday is Latin night and Friday and Saturday, like every other nightclub, are just busy and crazy and out of control. I’d have to say that my favorite nights are Tuesday and Sunday, being that it’s industry night, and Sunday we have the world famous DJ Vice. With the locals that come there it’s just something that you cannot duplicate anywhere else.
Marc Jay: How long have you been living in Vegas and how did you end up here?
Sherri Martin: I’ve lived in Las Vegas since I was six years old. I’m not going to tell you how old I am though, ha ha ha. I started working in the industry when I was 21, cocktailing and I have a degree in public relations. I enjoy the nightlife industry but I wanted to do something different and hosting just fit directly in that category and I’m happy I made the move.
Marc Jay: I know you went to UNLV, is that where you studied marketing?
Sherri Martin: Yes. My major was in Public Relations with a minor in Travel and Tourism.
Marc Jay: So, doing your day-to-day work as a VIP hostess, obviously you have office days. Tell us what you do during those office days and how you keep in touch with so many contacts from around the world.
Sherri Martin: During office hours we send thank you emails for taking the time, if you met someone new or just giving an update to your clientele, telling them about an upcoming event or just saying it was great to see you. It’s all about networking and keeping in constant contact, keeping everyone in the loop because even if they’re not coming, they may be sending their friends your way.
Marc Jay: I’ve known you for quite a while and seen you in various jobs within the Tao Group. How did you end up at Tao and what are the different roles you’ve worked at Tao Group?
Sherri Martin: I started working for Tao Group a little over three years ago. I was a cocktail waitress in the lounge and then I cocktailed in the nightclub, Tao nightclub, for two-and-a-half years and then I took a leave of absence. I came back as a host for Tao Beach last pool season, which I enjoyed greatly, and then after the pool season I moved over to LAVO nightclub.
Marc Jay: Is there a difference between hosting at Tao Beach and hosting at LAVO?
Sherri Martin: It’s different in the hours; there are definitely more hours when you work at night because you have a lot of stuff to do during the day. The clientele is a little different, being that people during the day are a little bit crazier, less inhibited. At nighttime you deal with more of a dinner crowd. They definitely know how to party, but I feel like it’s an older crowd at night. During the day it’s kind of young, a kind of college crowd.
Marc Jay: I know that secretly, on the DL, that you do like a few drinks now and then. Is it hard to say no to these guys when you’re working? How do you stop yourself from partying when you’re surrounded by it all the time? Where do you have to draw the line, basically?
Sherri Martin: Well, you draw the line when you become unprofessional. So, if you feel like you’ve had quite too many you have to explain to your customers, “Thank you, but I have a job to do and actually right now I’m working.” Your first priority is to make sure that they have a good time and if you’re falling over drunk then nobody is going to have a good time because you’re not there to take care of them.
Marc Jay: So I could probably count on one hand how many successful female hosts there are in Vegas, and there really aren’t that many but you are at the top of your field, what is it like doing the job that you do? Is it hard being a successful female entrepreneur in Las Vegas?
Sherri Martin: At times it’s a little difficult because most people are used to dealing with a male host, but I find nine out of 10 times, most customers really enjoy dealing with a female. Not because the men do any less of a job that I do, but I think it’s just such a difference that it’s almost intriguing to a lot of people. I also think that you kind of want to go with almost the odd person out, so me being a female, it’s something like, “She must be very good at what she does to be the only one in an industry dominated by males.” I find that you definitely have to stick to your guns because being a woman, male customers sometimes might not take you so seriously but once you stick to your guns, and stay professional, you realize you get even more respect than probably you ever thought you’d ever get.
Marc Jay: You seem to be very grounded and very good at what you do and maybe that has to do with the fact that you grew up in Las Vegas. How do you stay so grounded and what was it like living in a place where you were surrounded with casinos and this sort of lifestyle as a teenager?
Sherri Martin: I’ve been living here since I was six years old, growing up around casinos is like how someone grows up in the Midwest surrounded by trees and forests. It’s just kind of become my scenery and I’m sort of immune to it. But I’ve been blessed; I have an amazing family, I have amazing friends, and they’ve all kept me grounded and I’m just a good person. I have good morals and I believe that you should treat others the way that you want to be treated and I don’t believe the industry is above anybody, that you should change yourself for anybody. If you are a good person, you should stay that way and then you will be rewarded. Good karma.
Marc Jay: Now let’s talk about the future. What does the future hold for you? Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
Sherri Martin: Anyone would want to grow in 10 years, I mean, you never want to limit yourself. I enjoy my profession. I know there are many other roles, you could grow as a host, become a director or a manager. So, God willing, as long as I can stay in this field and continue to work for the wonderful Tao Group, I’d be more than happy to do it.
Marc Jay: I know Tao operates a load of venues, not just in Las Vegas, but in other places like New York. If given the opportunity, would you go to another city to work for any of the Tao Group’s other venues?
Sherri Martin: Because I have such loyalty to the Tao Group, if they wanted me to, then yes, but my heart really is in Las Vegas and I think this is where I really know how to excel since I’ve been here for so long that there’s just a level of comfort and a level of confidence that I have here.
Marc Jay: I hear you tried to step away from the scene for six months and tried living in Miami. How was it? How does Miami compare to Las Vegas?
Sherri Martin: As they always say, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and sometimes you have to move away to realize all of that. I mean, Miami is a beautiful place but Las Vegas is my home. The industry out there is very different; out here it’s a lot more professional. Miami is very different; it’s very cultured out there. I enjoyed running on the beach, I enjoyed the ocean – that’s something we definitely don’t have here in Las Vegas, but I’m happy to be home and Las Vegas is where my heart is. I’m happy I did it though, I grew as a person and I grew professionally also.
Marc Jay: For people out there who want to further a career as a VIP host, what sort of qualities do you need to succeed in this industry?
Sherri Martin: You definitely have to have good time management because there are only 24 hours in a day, but being a host you need about 35. You also need to have a very good personality because you’re dealing with all different types of people and you have to be very level-headed because you’re also dealing with a lot of intoxicated people. And you also have to be very confident because there are always those people who try to take advantage of you. You have to be the face of your venue so you want to be respectful and an all-around people person… and look good.
You can get in touch with Sherri Martin by email at Sherri.Martin@lavolv.com or by phone at 702-274-5590. Visit the LAVO website at www.lavolv.com.
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