However big and glamorous an event, if it is destination-specific then it is not quite easy to get the crowd to leave their respective cities and travel to the event venue. Ticket costs are coupled with travel and accommodation expenses, and everything adds up to a hefty sum not everyone is ready to bear. On the other hand, for some festivals, the destination is the bigger draw, sometimes bigger than the event itself. But not all destination festivals are hosted at an alluring location, what then? It then boils down to making it as easy as possible for the attendees to plan their trip and get there.
Here are five tips to get people to travel to your destination festival:
1. Invest in local partnerships:
If your event location is likely to pose barriers such as a busy airport, expensive hotels and crazy traffic, overcome these barriers by partnering with local organizations. Use your city’s official welcome committee; they know how to best welcome out-of-towners and they themselves have a robust partnership network in place. Also, partner with hostels and hotels nearby and offer discount deals to attendees. Last but not the least, list nearby attractions on the event website so that attendees can cover more in a single trip. There will be attendees who have more on their minds than just the event.
2. Reaching your event, oh so easy!
When people are travelling to your event, your priority should be to make getting there as easy as possible. Making your event more accessible widens your reach while making the attendees feel more welcome. Offer some insider tips that only locals would know about getting to your city. For example, take a road trip rather taking the flight. Among other things, have a dedicated transportation section on your website where you list all the transport options in detail. Make sure you partner with local transportation businesses as well as offer a variety of options to get to your event – right from shuttle buses and carpooling to designated bicycle parking and valet.
3. Play the Ace card of unique perks:
Offer unique perks to out-of-towners attending your event. Small gifts and large gestures play a huge part in making attendees feel welcome, meet people from other towns and connect to your event. Hand out merchandise that has your event logo as well as an element of the attendee’s city/state – personalized elements put an instant smile on their faces. Offer VIP access at reduced rates based on how far attendees travel for your event. Offer discounts as that is a sure shot way of attracting attendees. Lastly, create meeting spots for people to connect and converse. Event attendees are kicked when they meet people from their own city/state or with similar interests.
4. Roll the dice of marketing:
Don’t forget that data is king. So, collect and analyze information to understand from which cities and states are people coming to your event. This way, you can allocate budget for cities from where the crowd influx is the maximum. Once you have discovered your hotspots, you can curate content and other communication to attract attendees from these areas. Create location-based ads with personalized messaging about why people should come to your event. For example, ‘Seven Reasons why Mumbaikars go crazy over the Pune Oktoberfest’.
5. Global sponsorships:
Sometimes events are so gigantic and popular, e.g., Belgium’s Tomorrowland, that they involve long-distance travel for attendees. In such cases, go for global sponsorships with brands that will benefit the attendees as well as your event because of the attendees choosing them. Big brands can help offer perks, some really good ones that attendees find hard to turn down.
To conclude, destination festivals are a bit trickier to plan, market and execute, but when done right they are every bit magnificent. So take notes from the above points and get started with executing your next big destination event.