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Dec 3, 2019 3:30:00 AM by Rebecca Wormleighton

2020 Festival Planning: Outside Influences, Not Outside Your Control

Festival Management

Copy of Blog Images Vol. 12 (80)No matter how you slice or dice it, we know that as a festival owner or operator there are things outside of your control that have the potential to impact the success or failure of your event. These outside influences come in many different shapes and sizes, from politics to technical advancements, to environmental change, human rights, safety, and security etc. These are things that are going to happen regardless of what we do within our business but how we respond to them, is what is going to determine how they impact our success or failure.  

At InitLive, we believe in being proactive, which according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary means, we believe it is best to act in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes. Verses being reactive, which is people who tend to react to a problem only when it's gotten serious. With a proactive approach, you will be better prepared to either leverage the outside influence to your advantage and beat your competition or mitigate/minimize your risk. 

To help with the 2020 planning process the research team from InitLive has compiled a list of the top 4 outside influences that we believe you should be preparing for as you create your plan for your 2020 festival calendar. It is our belief that if we don’t prepare for these changing market conditions and we let them blindside us, they will impact your ability to grow and scale your festivals moving forward. 

Politics

As Pericles once said, just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won’t take an interest in you! 

If you are like many of the non-profits in the events industry that relies on federal funding, you should be prepared. According to IBISWorld the federal funding for creative arts was expected to decrease in 2019, representing a potential threat to the industry. If the trend continues it could significantly impact a festival’s ability to scale if they rely on that money to put on more shows. Therefore, we must budget accordingly!

It is also recommended that event operators keep their eye on household disposable income, which is affected by changes in interest rates, wages, taxes, and employment. Since industry events are discretionary, lower per capita disposable income could result in weaker demand. The good news is the per capita disposable income was expected to increase in 2019 and maintain that trend into 2020 and beyond, representing a potential opportunity for the festival industry.

From both perspectives, we recommended that you consider an increased reliance on your volunteer management program, in either case we want to optimize operations and do more with less and a well-run volunteer management program is the way to do it!

Safety and Security

Public safety and security are top of mind these days, not only is it closely monitored by the authorities, but everyone else is talking about it as well. According to a report by Desert Sun, one in six or 15% of women were sexually harassed at Stagecoach, and Coachella in 2019, yet very few reported the incidents. To help tackle this issue, event producer Goldenvoice has instituted a new anti-harassment and anti-assault policy to promote a safer festival environment. 

Of the 49 women who said they were sexually harassed, only five said they reported the occurrence to festival officials. While we can’t force people to step forward on their own, we can empower our employees and volunteers to take a stand. With the right technology, we can enable staff to keep their eyes open and communicate issues in real-time before the situation escalates. Key is getting the information to the right people as quickly and efficiently as possible, this is not the time to play the ‘Telephone Game’! It is recommended that you invest in the technology to connect your entire operations team, staff and volunteers and enable them to communicate with anyone at any time! It is also recommended that your communication solution of choice be auditable to help protect your festival and demonstrate you did everything in your power to reduce the risk.  

Expanding Market Reach, Requires Data Protection

The good news for our 2020 planning,  is that according to Festicket, international festival experiences are on the up! Travellers who went abroad for a festival rose by 29% in 2018. Which is great for festival organizers as they have a larger pool of potential attendees and volunteers to target but at the same time, it opens the door to new regulations. The issue to be aware of is, the way in which you are managing your  volunteer program today may no longer be acceptable. 

On May 25th 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented. GDRP is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individual citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area. According to Compliance Junction, compliance will be mandatory for those US companies controlling or processing the personal data of subjects in the European Union even where the processing may take place outside of the Union.

So, what does this mean? While we have a larger pool of prospects to target as both attendees and volunteers, we can no longer rely on spreadsheets to manage our volunteer management program. As an event operator, if one of those spreadsheets where to find its way into the wrong hands you could be liable if any of your volunteers are from the EU. Therefore, for a relatively inconsequential amount we recommend that you invest in the technology to consolidate all your data and provide a single version of the truth. 

Interested in learning more ? Check out - Get Your Share Of The 2020 Festival Market

Social media our Friend and our Foe.

Social media is the marketing tool of the times, according to Everbright, nearly half (46%) of festival attendees say they found out about a festival they attended through social media.  To a marketing person it is our friend, it means we can more cost effectively reach a larger, yet more targeted audience with our message. While at the same time it is our foe, as we can’t control it, today anyone can communicate their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their experience, without a moment’s hesitation. It used to be a customer’s complaint could be lost within the customer service department, never to be heard of again. Today that issue can go viral before we even know what hit us!

What’s important to remember is, good or bad it can find its way online. In a recent article by Forbes, they discussed a report that uncovered that 30% of consumers who have had a negative customer experience say they would share it on social media. Interesting nearly half (49%) of consumers who have had a positive customer experience also say they would share it on social media. So, what does that mean, as a marketing tool,  social media can be very good for us or very bad, but either way it is defining our brand.

Therefore, our final and most important recommendation for the 2020 festival planning process, if you are going to take full advantage of the power of social media,  then you must make the customer or attendee experience a top priority. We must use social media for good and not evil! Remember, customer experience is more than just a great show. It is about having a plan in place to ensure the right person is in the right place to meet and exceed the attendee’s expectations every time. The last thing we want is people talking about the dirty grounds, long lines at security, delays in the sequence of the event, etc. For on-site-logistics to run smoothly and ensure a positive customer experience, we require a strong staff/volunteer management program to help protect your investment, be better prepared, scale more efficiently and respond faster.

To learn more about InitLive and how we have helped customers like the Academy of Country Music Awards and other festivals just like them successful grow and scale their event  visit: www.initlive.com or send us an email at sales@initlive.com

Happy 2020 Planning!

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