Previously I wrote about how customers demand unique experiences and that could include anything like being able to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, sitting on a riser in a VIP section of a concert, or gaining special access at a festival.
One big area of the experience economy that is growing and shows no signs of losing steam is consumer demand for destination events. Many of us are familiar with festivals like Pink Pop, Glastonbury, and the like that are destination events, but over the last few years we’ve seen any number of destination events pop up to show that if you build it, promote it, and work really hard, people will come.
Some examples of unique festivals and events in eye-catching and unique places include the upcoming Miami Beach Pop Festival, the first music festival on Miami Beach in decades; the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo; and, the Indian Pacific Outback Christmas train that brings a carnival, music, and more to some of the most remote areas of the Outback.
All of these places have something unique and they highlight the fact that putting events in unique locations offers potential customers a reason to buy, travel, and plan ahead for an event.
All of which create a positive chain reaction in the event economy.
What are some of the ways that we should be approaching destination events? Here are three ideas.
Make sure the location is appealing:
At the end of the last football season, Chelsea and Arsenal met in the Europa Cup Final. The event was a bit of a challenge for many fans for many reasons including the location Baku where flights were limited, Azerbaijan is in the middle of a conflict with Armenia, and visiting the country required a complicated visa process for British visitors.
This is not the kind of environment you want to create for your event.
Compare the Europa Cup Final with other world-class events like this season’s Super Bowl to be played in Miami, or the way that the 2012 Olympics were played in London, or annually when Comic-Con takes residence in San Diego.
The key with those three events is that they have are in safe places, with ease of access, and they provide a variety of experiences for people. With destination events, things like Burning Man are the outliers, because people want to go to cool places that are easy to get-to, have fun things to do, and provide something outside of the event itself.
Make certain that your event is unique: Place is an important part of the destination experience, but when people do arrive at your event, you want to ensure that they are receiving something unique.
When I lived in New York City, New Yorkers would joke about street fair season.
Because you’d go to a street fair, you’d see the same vendors, you’d get an Arepas, and you’d go home. It was funny, but mundane.
To achieve success in your destination event marketing, you have to give people something that they can’t get anywhere else to ensure that the trip is worthwhile.
As an example, look at the way the Sydney Opera House works at constantly changing their building and introducing new aspects to their in-house experience.
Or, look to the world of ultra running where the Barkley Marathons has no definite starting time, the course changes frequently, and, for fun, runners have to find a variety of books throughout their race. The key is that you want to give people the incentive to come by offering them something they can’t find anywhere else by being creative with your offer and experience.
Make certain it is fun:
This goes without saying, but sometimes we can get so in the weeds with planning and working towards our goals, we forget that we need to make the event fun for our attendees. Destination events are a great way to show people a sampling of the local cuisine, the local drinks, and local arts and crafts. To name just a few examples of ways to amp up your events.
You can also amp up the fun by working on creating partnerships that will enhance people’s experiences when they return home by offering gifts from partners and brands that will remind your guests of the trip they made and act to add value and prestige to your event.
We could go on and on and on about this to cover the entertainment you offer, the accommodation partners, and other aspects of the event. The key is to never forget your destination experiences should be rewarding for people and they should enjoy themselves.
As consumers continue the trend of looking at destination events, all of these ideas are important for us to consider as we look to reach our market and give them a reason to buy from us.
The fun thing is that this is just the beginning.