Repeat Business Critical To Fest Success

Reports on the death of the American festival have been greatly exaggerated.

Sure, we’ve seen many kick the bucket in 2016, and there is noticeable softness in sales for EDM events. Electric Daisy Carnival, North America’s most high profile festival, only recently sold out of tickets for the June event when, last year, all the tickets were gone by February.

This year also brought the bankruptcy of SFX, one of the world’s largest festival producers. Why would anyone launch a new festival in this type of atmosphere?
We’re tackling this question at Amplify as part of our Festival Week coverage. The festival market is maturing, but not saturating. Do some festivals fail because of oversaturation? Yes, although plenty of festivals also thrive in hyper-competitive markets. What sets apart successful festivals from those that don’t make it?

Repeat customers. Promoters that focus on building a multiyear relationship with fans will almost always outperform events that rely on bookings over customer satisfaction. How does a festival improve the fan experience at its event? By learning more about its own customers and making incremental changes around their wants and needs.

One way to do that is through ticketing. The best events will be those that offer a pain-free buying experience, simple registration and the ability to move freely without interference. That’s why RFID wristband technology is going to be so important during this year’s festival season. Not only does it significantly speed up access control, but it gives organizers a better view of how their customers move around an event.

Another differentiator is food and beverage. As festivals look to create more boutique experiences, the restaurants and chefs they work with continue to become important components for generating buzz and getting fans to return year after year. In 2016, how one pays for food will be a critical part of the culinary experience. Long lines are simply inexcusable. Events that can successfully execute cashless payments without major glitches will not only boost incremental sales, but provide festivals with a complete 360-degree view of the customer.

That knowledge of the customer takes the guessing out of everything from headliner bookings to event design. The best festival promoters in 2016 and beyond will be those who successfully interpret the data and implement incremental changes. Organizers who best understand their customers and communicate that knowledge to key partners will be in the strongest position for success.

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