With the advent of major sports events like the 2022 FIFA World Cup
in Qatar, restarted world tours headlining internationally renowned pop
stars and massive music festivals, Simon Goddard, chief information
officer of Vibe is urging travel players to look at these event
attendees as another potential source market.
“Too much time and money is wasted in travel trying to persuade
people to visit places they don’t want to go to,” Goddard explained. So
why not look to the people who actually want to see their favourite pop
stars perform live on stage or watch soccer players in action at the
destination they’re scheduled to appear at?
Goddard outlines 14 recommendations for travel industry players to drive event-led sales:
1. Have the tickets ready on hand
Only focus on events you have actual entrance tickets available to
sell. This is very important, as the tickets are your ‘honey pot’. The
minute you send someone away to another site to source the actual
tickets they never come back.
2. Identify the types of events to sell
Which events should you sell? Smaller and more obscure events are
often richer pickings for these types of campaigns. Just type in
‘Formula One weekend trip’ into Google and you´ll see. Perhaps consider
literary festivals on aristocratic estates, come-back concerts for old
rock bands at venues with comfy seating, cookery courses in Tuscany with
famous chefs, or lower league football or motor racing events?
3. Keep packages concise and focused
At the beginning of the booking flow keep the concept of what you are
offering super simple and concrete: ultimately it is just a package to
attend X event. By making it a package to do event X and Y and Z, you
could make your offering ‘confused’ and ultimately put people off.
4. Flexibility on travel options
Give the traveller total flexibility on the options they pick, they might not need a flight but value a hotel, or vice-versa.
5. Offer add-on services
Don’t just stop at offering a flight and hotel, consider selling
extras like the airport transfer or even insurance. Not only are these
extra commissions for you, often the commissions are nearly as high as
the flight or hotel.
6. Flexibility for duration of stay
Ensure the traveller has the flexibility to amend the travel dates to
either arrive early or stay on after the event. A lot of people want to
take advantage of being in a city to explore it and take their time –
but if you can’t offer them flexible dates they may want to go
elsewhere. Consider too that they might want to stay in more than one
hotel during the trip.
7. Go to your preferred hospitality partner
When sourcing the accommodation always explore options with your
existing supplier partners first, for example taking advantage of
allocations or a special deal just for the event.
8. Present the most affordable options
As with so much in digital marketing, the lead price is what gets you
traffic and keeps people moving through the booking process. So offer
the cheapest options for the tickets and all the other elements,
allowing people to upgrade as they go through the booking flow.
9. Roll it up in a neat, tidy package
When marketing and selling the package really drive home, hard, the
message that this really is a ‘complete package’: a one-off, one-stop
10. Showcase experiences via video
Video is a great way to sell anything but in particular travel. You
need to make the most of it here by showing the potential traveller
exactly what attending this event – and all the services you’ll offer to
get them there and back – is going to be like.
11. Use SEO to drive organic search
Most people wanting to attend the event will start the process with
an online search. Use SEO to drive them to a tailored event specific
landing page, but make sure to use the right key-word combinations and
parameters in your PPC campaigns, for instance cutting out those who are
based in or near to the destination already.
12. Tap on existing subscribers and followers
But don’t forget about your mailing lists and social media followers
when promoting these packages, existing customers either might already
be considering the event or could possibly be tempted to attend once
they see your deals. Event-led packages are perfect fodder for ‘The
13. Follow up with more offers post-sale
When it comes to the post-sale follow-up marketing / sales
opportunities, then consider cross-selling them other activities or
events that they can enjoy once in that destination, be that a bus tour
or gastronomy experience or whatever the main local attractions are.
14. Fans like event merch
On that note, in the post-sale process also explore the chance to
sell ‘merch’ for the event in the booking flow too. Branded t-shirts,
backstage passes, match programs, whatever – as long as it comes with a
commission and the traveller would consider it relevant. But just like
point number one, make sure you have the merch available to see – no
sending people off to other sites!