“The following is a continuation of my Event Development Series. Several years ago, I started the series with the first section, “Initial Development”. The second section is entitled “Research and Preliminary Planning”. Now that you and your team have decided to proceed with the event, it’s time to get serious! As suggested previously, any thoughts and idea are more then welcome!”
Research and Preliminary Planning
You’ve determined that you “financially” want to proceed with your festival or event and you and your committee have completed plenty of “research”. Now it’s time to start your “Preliminary Planning”.
Preliminary Planning – Considerations (Continued)
3. WILL IT ATTRACT PEOPLE? – Developing and holding a festival or event is one thing, but if it doesn’t attract people to it, that’s another thing! It’s like the philosophical riddle “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” In this case, “If you hold an event that no one comes to, will anyone care?” The answer, of course is “yes”! You and your organizing committee will care! Your community will care! And, your vendors, supplies and sponsors will care! That’s why it is so important plan and execute an event that will attract people! The number people you will want to attract will depend on what your expectations and needs are. In a previous section I talked about the need for research. In it I said that “you needed to know who your audience was and what they wanted”. Knowing this is the key to attracting visitors to your event. As I mentioned, this is where networking comes into play. There is no reason to “re-invent the wheel”. Your town administrators and other event organizers will, from experience, be able to tell you what works and what doesn’t. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a chance or experiment. It does mean that you should have a pretty good feeling of what will work for you and your audience. Good solid research should allow you to have that “feeling”! However, whatever you eventually decide to offer, it has to be the “best” that you can do! To go just halfway is a recipe for disaster and you will not only cheat yourselves but also all your stakeholders! You are much better to offer fewer high-quality activities and events, then a lot of poor-quality ones! Too many organizers feel that they have to offer too much to justify their existence. This “feeling” will only come back to haunt them! The other consideration in attracting visitors is cost versus value! Charging too much for the type of audience you are trying to attract is a sure way to fail! A better alternative than charging too much to balance your budget is find sponsors to help offset your costs. A word of caution, however, make sure that you also offer your sponsors value for their investment. If you do, it’s likely that that sponsor will stick with your event for many years. Make sure when you do approach a sponsor that tell them honestly what they can expect for their support.
(To be continued)
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