Trivia: Run a Trivia Night in 7 Steps - Stage Time Trivia
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Trivia: Run a Trivia Night in 7 Steps

Trivia: Run a Trivia Night in 7 Steps

Running a successful trivia night isn’t difficult and it’s one of the most fun and reliable ways to turn a slower weeknight into a booming night of business. Stage Time Trivia is here to give you the rundown on running a great trivia night from start to finish.


weekly-calendar-2015-two-pagesStep 1: Pick Your Night of the Week and Time

It’s important that you run your trivia night weekly. While some venues choose to do a bi-weekly, or once-a-month trivia night, we have found overwhelmingly that the most successful nights are run weekly and consistently. This is because groups of friends make it their “night out” every week. An inconsistent trivia schedule will have players looking for other things to do on the non-trivia weeks, and occasionally forgetting about trivia altogether. The result is that it’s much harder to build a base of regular players with an inconsistent schedule.

STAGE TIME TIP: Schedule your trivia night for an off-peak night. Your peak hours already do good business.  The most popular trivia nights are Monday through Thursday. Don’t be too concerned with booking something on a slow night because a great trivia night will bring in customers.

Choosing the right time to start trivia is just as important. If you’re running trivia on a weeknight it’s important to consider what a reasonable start time and end time is for your players. Our most popular start times have been around 7PM. This allows players enough time to arrive after work and wraps the game up at a reasonable hour (generally around 9PM) which usually works best for folks who work during the week.


StageTimeLogo_png_blackStep 2: Offer the Best Trivia Format Available

You’re in luck because Stage Time Trivia offers exactly that. Our format is fun, entertaining, and simple to execute. You won’t need any fancy computers or gadgets so our game is accessible to everyone. Asking the right questions is important and each week we build a brand new, topical trivia with well balanced and fact checked questions. DOWNLOAD OUR FREE SAMPLE GAME HERE and see for yourself!

willStep 3: Choose A Host

If you are a comedian or individual then you already have this step in the bag! For bars, restaurants, and other venues that would like to run a trivia night you’ll want to find the perfect host. The more personality, pizzazz, and sense of humor your host has the more your players will love the game. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire a local celebrity or professional host. Chances are you’ve got someone perfectly qualified on staff. It might be everyone’s favorite bartender, or it could even be a popular regular customer. The Stage Time Trivia format is simple to understand and execute so virtually anyone can run it.

Trivia 02Step 4: Set Up a Space for Your Host

Hosting trivia doesn’t require much space at all. Even the tiniest of bars can run a trivia night. Your host will need a chair or stool and a small table or section of bar. You’ll need a sound system with a microphone to ensure everyone can hear the host. The host should be set up somewhere easily accessible to players (so they can hand in each round).

winner1Step 5: Choose Your Prize Giveaway

You can’t have a trivia contest without a prize for the winner(s). There is no set-in-stone prize requirements, but here are some general guidelines:

  • The prize doesn’t have to be exceptionally valuable. Everyone is playing for fun and bragging rights and will appreciate almost any prize you offer.
  • You still want your grand prize to be enticing though. The most popular giveaway is a bar tab or gift certificate valued around $25 for the 1st place winners.
  • You can offer a prize for the runners up as well. A good prize is a $10 or $15 gift certificate.
  • Most of our venues make the Picture Round (Round #3) a prize round and will give away a pitcher of beer, or round of drinks for the team in the lead at that point.
  • Beer swag and bar merchandise also make fun and easy giveaways.
  • Prizes should be fun, affordable, and entice players to keep coming back.

STAGE TIME TIP: The perfect prize for your business is a gift certificate that is specified as “good on a future visit”. The winning team(s) will receive a gift certificate that must be redeemed on a return visit. This ensures that they’ll be back again next week for trivia to cash in their prize.

STAGE TIME BONUS TIP: If you have a slow night you can compensate by scaling the prize amount to the number of teams that are playing. For example, if there are only 4 teams playing you might give away a $20 gift certificate instead of $25. This scaling prize scale is fair, affordable, and scales the prize to the amount of competition.

Trivia PosterStep 6: Promote, Promote, Promote!

Like any live event it’s important that you get the information in front of as many people and interested parties as possible. People can’t show up to an event they do not know about. You’ll want to target two specific groups of people:

  1. Your existing customers who will be excited for something new starting at their regular spot.
  2. Fans of trivia that are not yet customers. This is the real huge opportunity that a great trivia night provides: bringing in new players and converting them into regular customers!

You will target your existing customers mainly through word of mouth, posters, and flyers around the bar. They’re already here and they’ll see these things regularly. Your existing customer base will be the foundation on which a great trivia night will be built.

STAGE TIME TIP: Our favorite and most effective placement for a poster or flyer is directly above the men’s urinals. This is a usually untapped resource where you have a completely captivated audience for a full 30-60 seconds. It is impossible not to read and digest information posted above the urinal.

You will target new customers through social media and your traditional advertising. If you’re on radio, for example, be sure to announce the debut of your all new trivia night. On social media you can use popular hashtags such as #trivia #trivianight  and #pubquiz in all your posts announcing your new trivia night. Facebook also allows you to boost posts and target them directly to fans of trivia. When your local area trivia buffs hear about a brand new trivia night with content created by comedians it’s sure to spark their curiosity!

crowd1Step 7: Stay Consistent and Engaging

We mentioned this in Step 1, but consistency is key to building a booming trivia night. It’s unlikely that trivia night will magically fill your venue within the first few weeks, but running a great product week after week will grow your audience organically.

It works like this:

  1. A few teams show up to check out your trivia night.
  2. Those teams have a really great time! They see how fun, different, and entertaining your Stage Time Trivia night is compared to every other trivia night they’ve played.
  3. They keep coming back each week and because trivia is better with friends they start inviting out new people to grow their team.
  4. In a matter of time your regular teams get bigger and new teams start joining in and growing as well.
  5. You’ve now developed a huge trivia following and successful night on what started out as an off-peak night.

So how long does it take to develop a booming trivia night? This varies for every bar, restaurant, and venue. As a general rule, I usually advise new venues to give their trivia night 8 consistent weeks and to develop their marketing strategy from week to week.

Here are some ideas that will really help make your trivia night grow and stand out:

  1. Be sure to take lots of pictures during your trivia night and share them across your social media. Interacting with and engaging with your players and customers is the best way to keep them coming back. This also shows off that you’ve got something new and fun going on.
  2. Create a “leader board” with the top 3 teams from the previous week listed and display it behind the bar. You can use a dry erase board or chalk board that you might already have. The winning teams will be proud to see their name displayed. They’ll want to come back to defend their title and keep their name on the board. People who have never played before will have their interest sparked and be inclined to come check out your trivia night.
  3. Create a “bonus points” system so that every picture of beer or pint someone buys earns them a bonus point at the start of that weeks game. This will encourage players to hang out on non-trivia nights to drink and earn some extra bonus points.


If you follow these 7 Steps you’ll be running the best trivia night in town in no time! We have been running great trivia nights around Central New York for years and we’d be happy to answer any questions or consult with any individual or venue that is interested in running their own trivia night. We want you to succeed and we’re hear to help!

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