According to an eventbrite survey, "Forty percent who have purchased VIP in the past are willing to pay at least double the price of GA for access to VIP restrooms and faster, private entry." Some will not even attend an event if there is not an option to buy a VIP package. These added experiences can be as simple as expedited entrance to backstage meet and greets to glamping that puts hotels to shame. It's important to not only offer VIP add ons but to price them at the right point. By leveraging technology and valuable data points, event organizers can greatly improve their VIP amenities. Since about 25% of revenue can be generated from these sales, they can also increase their overall bottom line.
Utilizing Data to Drive Upgrades
This year, the team a AEG presents, who puts on over 30 festivals and approximately 10,000 shows, created an initiative around Stagecoach festival (the country music three day event that takes place the weekend after Coachella on the same grounds) to differentiate their offerings for the 2019 rendition. "One of the biggest challenges for us every year is, 'How do you outdo yourself? How do we create an experience for consumers that makes them feel like we know what they want and are trying to cater to those wants?'" Brooke Michael Kain, AEG Presents' chief digital officer told Rolling Stone.
They began by rounding up all the data they had access to, which was a lot. Given AEG's size they were able to draw from a huge network of event-related purchases, from tickets to merchandise. Once they aggregated all the data, which took months, they gathered ticketing directors and consumer behavior product managers to create algorithms that sent push notifications that were personalized based on the consumers past purchases. For example, if someone had bought a Stagecoach ticket two years in a row then they were offered $100 off a Saloon Pass (the festivals name for VIP) or if they bought t-shirts in the past they were sent a buy one get one offer for this event.
"We thought, 'How can we take a fan's history and offer them something we know they are going to want?' The strategy unique to us is that we are rewarding our fans and trying to be loyal to our fans, and not expecting them to be loyal to us." Kain also told Rolling Stone. While she didn't reveal exactly how well the campaign went, she did indicate that it was not a failure. The best part is that this technology is scalable and can be used for other events in the future. By leveraging data, live event organizers can tailor their VIP add ons to the individual consumer therefore making them more likely to break out their wallets.
Creating More Offerings
Creating tiers gives an event more opportunities to capture a guest at a higher price point then just general admission. This can range from General Admission Plus to "Super Duper VIP", which is offered at Firefly Festival at over $7,000 plus applicable fees. Ultra VIP experiences at festivals, like golden toilets and luxurious camping set-ups are nothing new to the festival scene but over the past year organizers have begun to create more offerings in the other direction. Many Live Nation festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas and Music Midtown in Atlanta rolled out a GA+ option for festival goers. This package elevates the attendees experience with expedited entrance, air conditioned restrooms, and some time even a special viewing area. This allows those who do not want to spring for a full package but still have a little extra spending money to be able to splurge a little bit on themselves.
VIP can be tiered both ways and the upper tiers these days seem to know no limits. While these outlandish offerings are nothing new, major events like Coachella are upping their experiences to new heights this year. The sky seems to be the limit when it comes to crafting one of a kind, ultra luxury experiences for high paying patrons.
Coachella Ups the Ante
Not only do live events have to ensure that year over year they are offering the right kind of VIP options to their fan base but they also have to compete with other events in the space. As the market becomes more saturated, especially in the music festival industry where it seems like almost every lineup looks they same, organizers have to craft unique, out of the box experiences for their big spenders to take advantage of. It used to be that backstage access, front row viewing, and limited edition swag were enough. Now, event organizers are looking towards more exclusive and glamorous options like helicopters and over the top lounges.
To house their extravagant elevated experience, Goldenvoice created the Zenyara Estate, a 37-acre lot that is complete with a Helicopter pad, limo service by Rolls Royce, six-acre golf course, 40,000 square-foot residence, and many more luxurious amenities. Corso Agency was hired to help create this Bali-inspired ultra VIP offering.
"For the next two weekends, Zenyara Estate will bring together some of the most exciting performers, athletes and celebrities in a venue like no other," David Corso, CEO of Corso Agency, told The Hollywood Reporter. "We have partnered with Goldenvoice to deliver an unmatched experience, hosting brand events from the world's best, including the debut of the Adidas Sports Club, and an incredible late-night program from our nightlife partners Framework and Wynn Nightlife."
There is no denying that offering VIP packages is essential to any successful live event. Aggregating consumer data and creating personalized experiences looks to be the next advancement when it comes to defining the right offering. Ultra luxurious and over the top experiences are also ways that live events are elevating their attendees willingness to splurge a the event.