Georges Elchakieh

Georges Elchakieh

Founder and CEO of el-live Productions

Good evening beautiful people, this is G from Grand Hyatt, Hangzhou, China.

Tonight marks our 9th club opening, so it’s the perfect opportunity to share with you, the process of our involvement from concept to venue opening in various hotels overseas.

Before we get to opening night, there is a long process that has to take place, and it usually starts with me flying to whatever city while the venue is still under construction and or renovation.  So here are some of the main points we discuss extensively:

  1. The vision
  2. Target Audience
  3. Size of room and number of seats
  4. Stage placement 
  5. Will there be a dance floor?  If so, where and how big?
  6. The Atmosphere
  7. Size of band
  8. Sound System
  9. Lighting of stage
  10. Lighting of room

The vision

Everything has to start with the vision. What is the vision of the venue? Usually, owners have a vision when they open an entertainment center. So what we need to do first, is to define and understand the vision.

Target audience

Who do we want in this club?  What age bracket?  Social status, tastes, spending power, casual, formal?

Size of room and number of seats

How big is the room? How many seats will there be? This can determine what music is suitable for the size of the room. For example, if it’s an 800-seater venue, smooth jazz may not work, and if it’s a 60-seater venue, aggressive, in-your-face music may not work either.

Stage placement

Where should the stage be situated? In the center of the room, left, right? Close to the bar? Close to the lounge sofas?


Will there be a dance floor? If yes, how big? Will the dance floor be the attraction point? or will it be dimly lit for intimacy, making the band the focal point? and will the atmosphere be affected should the dancefloor not be full?…


What should the customers feel when they walk in? What type of music?: Rock, Funk, Top 40? What emotions do we want to trigger?: super excited, chill and warm to encourage conversation, or loud, free-spirited, and naughty? 

Size of band

How many musicians are needed in the band to reach the intended atmosphere, a trio or a 7-piece, if it’s a smaller band, should everyone be able to sing, do we need drums?

Sound system

This is a big decision as it the most expensive element once the bar is constructed and sound plays a huge part of the experience, should it be loud with a lot of bottom end, or do you want people to be able to speak while the band plays?  Making the wrong decision here can be very costly and very frustrating for the owners and the band.  I’m afraid to say that very few venues get this one right.

Stage lighting

Will it be an extravaganza with video screens, laser, smoke machines?  Or laid back, very simple and sexy where the attention is more on the artists and not on the light show.

Room lighting

Will the room be lit with color and also be a part of the experience?  Or low lighting and the stage is the only place that is intended for the show?

Clearly, we don’t make all of the above decisions, however, because of our decades of experience, we can help the venue owners and operators make more informed decisions. These hotels hire the most amazing teams of world-class designers that transform mere ideas into artform when designing the best clubs in the world.

So, my friends, this is our process, give or take a few variables, and not always in this order. 

As we debrief over a glass of Pinot Noir, excitement is setting in because tonight’s the big night!  Wish you could all come along!