3 Pitfalls of a Cash Only Event

Cash is king, or at least it used to be. In today’s day and age cash seems to be becoming a scarce commodity as people turn towards credit cards and other seamless payment experiences. Instead of paying each other back with cash, friends have turned to apps like Venmo to pay each other without ever physically exchanging currency. When the world has adopted to a virtual payment system, why do so many events insist on only accepting cash at the door?

Cash is a great option to have on hand for when people come to your event, but it shouldn’t be the only option for purchasing tickets. Here are 3 pitfalls you face by having a cash only event.

1. Not everybody carries cash

Cash only events turn away attendees. In the age where practically everybody and their dog has a credit card, Apple Pay, or Paypal, cash has become an antiquated form of payment. In fact, cash has become so out of date that many people don’t carry it at all. Yes, you can provide ATM’s for your attendees, but the fees associated with those money machines can leave a sour taste in the mouth of your attendees. Nobody wants to pay $4 to take out $10 from an ATM, and I mean nobody. Some people may decide not to attend your event as well if you only accept cash payments because they don’t carry cash and don’t want to use an ATM.

2. Collect email addresses

There are definite benefits of accepting cash at events, but being a cash only event has it’s downsides. One of the biggest areas of opportunities that events miss out on when they only accept cash is collecting emails. When you take cash at the door, people don’t have to enter their email information to get the tickets, they simply hand you a bill and walk through the gate. The transaction is simple, but leaves money on the table. Imagine collecting half of your attendees emails and being able to email them the next time you host an event. Your attendees are the exact audience you want to invite to your future events! With cash only payment, you miss out on a grand opportunity for increasing sales at your future events.

3. Loss of control

One other major reason accepting cash only payments can be harmful to an event is that the success of your event becomes dependent upon the weather. If a storm comes in on the day of your event, you will lose tickets because of lousy weather. Part of this can be solved by selling tickets online because people will be able to purchase tickets months, weeks, or days before your event takes place. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the people who bought tickets will still venture out to experience it, but you will still collect all that pre sales revenue. Events aren’t easy to run, and a no-show caused by bad weather can really put your event in jeopardy for the future. It is nice to know that online sales can serve as collateral against bad weather.

These three points aren’t the only reasons why you should accept a variety of payments at your event, but they are very important. Collecting emails and selling tickets online can be critical to the success of your current and future events. Cash is still a valid option, but when you are making events in the digital age, the way you collect money serves multiple purposes.

11 Ways To Build A Millennial Event

It’s official. Millennials are now the largest cohort of the population – making up more than a quarter of the total U.S. population. They have spending power, and are waiting to be sold. Now that the millennial craze is in full effect, it’s time to understand how to build a millennial events, or events that attract millennials. Here are 10 tips for building an event that will attract millennials.

1. Maximize technology.

Millennials use technology, and events that utilize technology are far more appealing to millennials. To attract millennials, the simple things make a big difference such as utilizing online ticketing and letting them use their phone to check into their event. Millennials don’t go many places without their phones, if you can incorporate your ticketing into an easy scan from millennials cell phones, your event will draw in more of the young crowd you are looking for.

Use technology to make your event goers lives simpler. Any technology that makes your event more convenient should be worth considering because millennials love convenience.

2. Give back.

Millennials love the idea of giving back to a cause. If your event helps a family in need, a nonprofit, or serves the local community, you build goodwill with your attendees. Many millennials donate money to charities, so they are wanting to help make their community a better place. If you offer millennials a good time that will help the community as well, you kill two birds with one stone, helping millennials feel a sense a fulfillment by having fun at your event.

3. Offer drinks and food.

If you are going after college-age millennials, offering free or cheap food always draws a crowd. College age millennials have ever-growing student loans and want to spend their time doing activities other than cooking, and they are always looking for a free meal. This simple announcement will grab the attention of many millennials.

But if you don’t want to give food away, consider having food for purchase at your event. Millennials are all about food. They love trying hip, up-and-coming restaurants. If you don’t believe me, take a look at instagram, where there are countless millennial foodie accounts with pictures of their favorite food. Millennials are willing to spend money on good food, and if you provide them access to a cool food truck, you will bring in more millennials.

4. Gamify.

Millennials like to participate at events. It may seem the opposite, and many won’t want to be the center of attention, but if you gamify your event, your attendees can still hang out with their group of friends and participate in the game within your event.

You can gamify your event by adding raffles, issuing social media challenges, having group contests, and more. Instead of offering individual prizes, you might want to try giving a prize to the group that wins the contest. This will encourage more participation as groups of friends would rather participate in an event than individuals.

5. Reach them on social media.

To reach millennials, you will want to turn towards social media – particularly Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Millennials use social media to share moments from their personal life, but they also follow brands, bloggers, events, and more. If you don’t have a strong social media following, you can ask influential Instagrammers or Tweeters to post a picture of your event and advertise it for you.

On Facebook, every event you host should have it’s own event page – a page where you can invite others to attend, and where those who are attending can invite others as well. This is one of the easiest and best ways to grab interest. If an individual sees that their friends are attending an event, they are much more likely to attend the event themselves.

6. Sustainable.

Millennials want a sustainable, healthy world. They don’t like leaving carbon footprints and they prefer to use clean energy if possible. If you announce that your event is sustainable, you will get a strong following of support and word will travel. Millennials like talking about progressive companies, businesses, and events.

7. Affordable.

Each year, graduating classes enter the workforce with more and more student debt, all while trying to find entry level jobs where they can begin to pay it off. However, despite the debt, millennials are still willing to spend money on attending live events. In fact, a study conducted by IPSOS on behalf of Eventbrite, found that millennials spent a staggering $609,764,149 each month on attending live events.

What does this mean? It means that millennials are willing to spend money on attending experiences. Yet, if you really want to draw in a larger crowd, consider making your prices affordable for the millennials that are still managing debt, because they want to come, too.

8. Photo sharing.

Posting photos and videos before your event takes place is an effective way to build the anticipation for your event, but while your event is happening, you have an army of photo takers ready to snap a picture. Millennials love taking photos. Add something photo worthy at your event that will encourage your attendees to take pictures and share them on their social media profiles. You can do this having a photobooth, using photo props, or having an awesome attraction at your event that people will want to take pictures of. Every millennial is a photographer with their smartphone, and they love to take pictures. Make your event selfie-worthy.

9. Make your event feel big.

According to Meetings Imagined, research shows that “millennials want to live and go to big cities where there is…a lot of nighttime activities.” But just because your event isn’t in New York City doesn’t mean you can’t make it feel like your event belongs in a big city. Create an atmosphere around your event that makes your event feel big, something that would be in New York City. If you make your event feel big, millennials will want to go to it.

10. Make your event happening.

Millennials like being in places where things are happening. They want to feel involved and they like to show off a little bit. They love sharing their thoughts and opinions with others. Your event is a place where millennials can go, be involved, and leave with plenty of opportunities to talk about your event both during and after it takes place. Your event can be a place that facilitates discussion and is a topic of interest for millennials. You don’t have to go all out to make your event happening either. You can bring in a couple food trucks, set up some games, have a live band, set up shopping booths, and countless other ideas. Your event needs to be an event.

11. Make your event look good.

Millennials are very image conscious, and not in a vain way. They understand the power of personal branding and online reputation. They like to brand themselves as cool, hip, fun, adventurous, creative, and unique. They like to be associated with things that look good i.e. cool, unique, and epic. As you are building your event, you cannot forget this important fact. While your event looks good, if your landing pages, social profiles, and website don’t look good, millennials may think twice about attending.

 

Creating a millennial event can seem daunting, but if you follow these eleven tips, you will attract more millennials to your event.

Remember – building a millennial event is more than just the event itself – it starts at your website and social profiles and extends to the feeling created at your event. If you can create a unique and convenient experience for your attendees starting at your ticketing, you will get the millennial crowd you want.

6 Ways to Elevate Your Event Experience

Any event has the potential to be outstanding and memorable, but those perceived impressions rely on how hard you, the event maker, work to create that experience for your attendees. Here are 6 simple ways that can dramatically elevate your event, leaving attendees wanting to return year after year.

1. Take your technical equipment for a spin the day before your event. “It’s always something”, as the saying goes. If it is not a shortage of power or outlets, it is the bandwidth of the internet the venue provides or infrequently used equipment acting up. Be sure to check the power cord situation, make sure that you have enough extension cords, and have backups in case a vendor forgets one. Check the location of power outlets at your venue. Plan for taping down cords, bring rugs to cover messy cords, and make sure your layout works with the outlet locations. Check the bandwidth of the internet the venue provides to see if you will need to provide a hotspot for additional internet power. Power up devices, and do a dry run of your presentations or any media you will display to make note of the steps in case you are using equipment you are not used to. If you can’t get into your venue the day before your event, plan ahead and just bring extra cords, tape, and maybe a hotspot to get you out of a jam. Going through your tech checklist is a must for any powered event.

2. Don’t forget about the bathrooms. Nearly every person at your event will use the restroom. Think about that. Put special touches in the bathroom like lotion, mints, and flowers. Make sure to have a volunteer or someone on staff monitor the bathrooms to keep on top of toilet paper, paper towels, and trash. Unkempt bathrooms will turn your guests off, giving them an unfavorable impression about the cleanliness of your entire event – or lack thereof.

3. Nobody likes to be the first one at a party. How many times have you showed up to an event, noticed that no one was there, and opted to run a quick errand first, and come back and check on it later instead of going in? It takes a brave soul to walk into an empty venue. All of those errands your attendees are running are costing you money, especially if your event success is based on moving merchandise and food. The sooner event goers show up to an event, the sooner they open their wallets, allowing you to maximize the amount of time your event is scheduled to run for. If you find your event doesn’t start getting crowded until 45 minutes after the scheduled start time is, it is not because people are always late. It is because your event has a reputation for not getting going until an hour after starting, costing you an hour of drawer sales. Have volunteers show up and hang out at the start of your event to encourage attendees to want to come in. Another way to incentivize early birds is to offer door prizes or discounts to a select group of attendees, like the first 100 people get a free t-shirt, or swag.  These simple tweaks can help to create a vibe at your event.

4. Encourage Sobriety. If your event is an alcohol based event with up front ticket sales, don’t discourage non drinkers from attending. The current model for most alcohol based events and festivals is a slightly discounted ticket for those who are not drinking. That doesn’t really scream we want sober drivers to your attendees. By offering swag, vouchers, or discounts during your event, you will see the number of designated driver attendees jump. For each group of drinkers, you will find several people in the mix who do not drink. Incentivizing those non drinkers to come to your event with their friends can mean more ticket sales for you, and more merchandise sold during your event. Not only are you making it easier for your attendees to have a sober ride, you are able to capitalize on those extra attendees.

5. Plan for a possible medical emergency. If your event is large, make sure your attendees know where the medical tent is, and don’t place it at the back of your event if avoidable. Once your event gets going, chances are the crowds are going to be where the action is. If a medical emergency arises, your medical staff will have to either traverse the crowd in order to reach the patron in need of assistance, or the patrons themselves will have to wade back through the crowd to make it to your medical area. Have small exits placed around bigger areas you expect crowds, where medical staff can enter and exit which will allow easy access to an attendee in need of medical attention. Even if your event is smaller, have a volunteer on staff who knows CPR and basic first aid, and have a first aid kit handy. Adequately preparing for medical emergencies is an easy way to take some risk out of the “what if” at your event.

6. Surprise your guests. Have you ever been to an event where there was an unannounced door prize, a special guest speaker, or a parting gift? Special touches make  event goers remember your event.  Building surprises into your event will make event goers feel special and walk away from your event, already thinking about returning next year. Plan for these touches during your event planning process, secure the surprise, and treat your attendees to a one of a kind event experience that they will remember, after all, that is why you are putting on the event anyway!

The Attendee Experience

Every event is different, but there are certain factors they have in common that truly make the attendee experience great. Some things that come to mind are the purchase process, customer service, and attendee engagements. The overall event experience starts with purchasing your tickets. Recently as I got online to buy tickets to a play, I soon wondered if it was worth it. The theatre’s website was outdated and difficult to navigate. Often, it would say there were many tickets available for a particular show time, but when I would pull up the seating chart, only two or three seats could be found. Then, when I would try to get back to the main list of showtimes, the site would take me back to the homepage and I would have to start all over.

Purchasing my tickets took over 45 minutes. In contrast, purchasing tickets for the comic con was a breeze even though I didn’t I didn’t purchase the tickets myself, my sister did. She told me she went to the website, found what she wanted, and ordered the tickets all in a matter of five minutes. She ordered right before the event, so her RFID wristbands were waiting in will call. Even getting these only took 5 minutes, and we were in enjoying the fun.

Being a customer service professional myself, I always find that I grade the experience I have based on the customer service I receive. This is true from the grocery store to the events I attend. While attending the basketball game, my friend and I had access to a V.I.P. experience. We were able to get onto the court before the game to welcome in the players. As we were trying to get to the court, an usher stopped us before we could go. At first, I thought he was just being a grouchy usher and was going to demand to see our tickets. Instead, he was extremely kind and just wanted to make sure we knew where we needed to go. I experienced similar kindness at the comic con.

The staff checking in attendees and directing them on where to go were extremely kind. Many times, they would go out of their way to walk an attendee to a different part of the venue to get them to where they needed to go. As an attendee, these customer service interactions made these events even more enjoyable.

From giveaways, to contests, to picture opportunities, attendee engagements keep your attendees excited about your event. The comic con was a perfect model of attendee engagement. Comic cons always have celebrity meet and greets and photo ops, but I was impressed with the app provided at this comic con. Every hour, I would get some sort of notification about something cool going on. One hour there was a celebrity panel I didn’t know about, and another hour there was a contest to show up somewhere in the venue to receive a prize. There was even a gathering to film a quick zombie scene. There were also different free photo ops set up in various places around the venue.

One of my favorites was a 8 foot box that looked like the packaging for a toy. You could climb in with your costume and look like you were boxed and ready to be sold. These engagements kept me racing around the venue, wishing I had even more time.

All event makers want to create the best experience for their attendees. By paying attention to these three simple things; the purchase process, customer service, and attendee engagements, an event maker can turn their attendees from drones entering their doors to raving fans who can’t get enough.

Improving the Vibe at Your Event

The other day, I was walking around an event and something seemed off. Here I was at a big event, yet the atmosphere lacked excitement. Even with all the people walking around, the event seemed quiet. People were walking into the event, but the big entryway was sparse and uninviting. There was no music playing, no visuals to capture people’s attention, and no interactive booths to keep people involved.

Based on my observations, here are three quick hacks to improve the vibe at your event.

Overhead Music

The most noticeable thing missing from the event was the presence of any sort of overhead music. It is incredible how the right type of music can change the energy level and excitement at an event. Music helps keep the energy up even after you have been at the event for a few hours. It helps set the tone and the mood you are trying to create. Without music, the event seems quite, isolated, and lacks the energy that could really take it to the next level. Diehard fans will enjoy your event no matter what, but for casual fans, music will enhance the experience for them.

Visuals

65 percent of all people are visual learners. So what? You aren’t teaching anybody at your event, so why does it matter? If people are visual learners, they are most likely to be engaged by visual aspect of an event and will be impacted by visuals more than other senses. Visuals include video, graphics, lights, displays, decorations, and layout. Creating visually engaging displays or videos at your event will give people the opportunity to be engaged and immerse themselves in the vibe you are trying to create.

Interactive Booths

I’ve been to quite a few events where the there are aisles of exhibitors selling products, yet there are very few interactive booths for attendees. Event attendees pay good money to attend events, so it is worth providing interactive booths that will help entertain and leave your attendees wanting to come back next year. The booths don’t have to be complicated or expensive, either. It can be as simple as setting up a booth for corn toss, bringing in a photo booth, or having a karaoke corner. These types of booths give attendees something to do instead of just walk up and down the aisles.

Creating the right atmosphere for your event is critical for turning a good experience into a great experience. Music will bring energy and excitement to your event, visuals will create a magical and appealing atmosphere, and interactive booths will engage and entertain your attendees. By implementing these three ideas into your event, you will see happier and more engaged attendees.