The UK is known for hosting world-famous festivals.
From Glastonbury to Wimbledon to the Royal Chelsea Flower Show, we can see that Britain is used to seeing ticket holders from all around the world.
Yet so often the marketing team for smaller events limits the reach of their ads to only those geographically close, thinking that their event is too small to bring in outside interest.
We don’t believe any event is too small, especially when there are big ideas behind it.
Does your market include travellers?
Research shows that 69% of festival goers had to travel to the festival location in the last two years, with many of them happily doing so if the event required an overnight stay i.e. they didn’t have to rush back home that evening.
This is especially true for events that are held every year in the same place, creating an annual pilgrimage to the destination, even if at any other time of the year the location is obscure. This allows for sleepy towns to turn into bustling hosts with the event growing every year.
Events successful in attracting long-distance travellers
The events that are more likely to attract long-distance travellers tend to be those that meet an existing need of the attendee.
For example, training courses, conferences and workshops advertised in industry publications, easily entice professionals as they endeavour to enhance the expertise of the guest. Competitive sporting events are also high on the list, offering fans to support athletes that they already identify with and cherish in their lives.
An event that exposes a commonality between its attendees is thus likely to be a great drawcard for long distance travellers, especially if its occurrence is not frequent throughout the year.
This is also why annual events held in the same place are able to bring in such great numbers of attendees - the group becomes identifiable and offers its guest a pass into the club of ‘are you going to ___ this year’.
Does that mean that weekly meet-ups and nightly club events are bound to only bring in those sharing the same postal code?Not at all!
What can be gathered here is that it all comes down to purpose: a reason other than ‘I want to have a good night out’ must be provided to the crowd in order to draw them in and get them on the bus, train or even aeroplane.
Remember, people will travel anywhere that offers them exclusivity, either due to the topic or the attending group, even if the event itself occurs frequently.
Why you invest in the broader UK market
With 82% of respondents in a study saying that they had travelled to an event within the UK in the past two years, it can clearly be seen that eventgoers aren’t afraid to get behind the wheel. So, it’s a good idea not to exclude those outside your immediate geographical circle from being interested in coming to you.
A separate study showed that 10% of the music ticket holders were outside the 100-mile radius and happy to spend over 1.5 hours in a car to get to a live event. For festivals, this number increased to over 3 hours, as a study showed that 72% of Gen Zs and Millenials were driving over 100 miles to reach a live music event.
How to reach a global market
Expanding your global market reach doesn’t have to be a guessing game or gamble, with much of the research already having been done on the markets that are most profitable to invest in.
For example, persons from the US, UK and Japan are most likely to cross borders in order to attend an event, and those travelling from France, the US and Germany account for 29% of visitors to the UK. Citizens from the latter three countries also have the highest combined spend in the UK and 80-92% of those from the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Iceland and Belgium are returning visitors.
These are broad statistics, however, they indicate which markets outside of the UK may be most profitable, as they are proven to be frequent and lucrative travellers already.
What this also shows is that by broadening your advertising, you are not trying to tap into new markets, but rather expanding into areas that are already established. This may cut your trial and error costs significantly, as well as be an encouraging reason to grow your target audience starting from today.
How to get free advertising
When it comes to attracting a global audience, what should come of comfort is that you are not alone. There is a multitude of bodies working towards bringing visitors to the UK, especially for the reasons of cultural tourism. This, according to UNESCO, is an area of rapid growth and is a core reason for travel, paving the way for the events industry to piggyback on its accomplishments.
Why is it so successful?
At the end of the day, we are creatures of comfort and seek to find the new and exciting within the old and familiar. Everyone has a favourite destination and is often loyal to the region, or even the exact resort, in which they have blissful memories and assurance that another trip will bring great pleasure. Event planners are able to take advantage of returning visitors by adding to them the extra benefit of a special event taking place at the destination that they are already travelling to.
Here’s an exercise: open your local event calendar and review the types of events that are taking place close to when your event is scheduled for. Don’t view them as competition, but rather as free advertising. This is your opportunity to research who will already be travelling towards you and a chance to target them for your event.
Moreover, those travelling long distances for an event are more likely to take an extra night or two beyond the date of the main event, so as to take advantage of their time away and make a holiday of it. This is your time to shine and add to their cultural experience by displaying yourself as a unique and essential part of their trip, even if it wasn’t the initial reason for the travel.
We create target markets in order to zero in on our most profitable audience and achieve a higher ROI. However, this often, by default, limits our ability to scale the event as it is bound to established channels of advertising.
By reviewing the efforts of local and national bodies who are tasked with bringing in tourists, and keeping a close eye on events taking place around the same time as your own, you will be able to tap into markets that may otherwise seem unattainable for you, at a low cost.