There are endless event experiences your business could host, with success depending very much on what fits your brand and target audience. Having a clear goal and understanding your key customer base is vital for successful events. It allows you to focus your efforts to offer experiences that appeal to your target audience.
What is Your Event Goal?
- Is it an event designed to have immediate profitable impact? Such as a fundraiser.
- Is it an experience designed to get people to try your venue?
- Is it more about engagement and building affinity with your brand?
- Is the event about community building?
- Is your priority to build a database you can market to?
These are different goals and you may be aiming to achieve more than one. However the key to your event planning is being clear about what you want to get out of an event.
Who Are You Targeting?
Equally important to having a clearly defined goal is knowing exactly who you are targeting. A generic event trying to appeal to everyone is a tough sell. Different events can be used to appeal to various segments of your target market. Think about who you really want to draw in for this specific engagement. Who are these people? What do they like? What do they do? Who are their influencers? How can you tailor an event that they will love? The clearer you are about WHO the event is for, the better chance you have of creating an event they will truly engage with, remember and share.
Another great option to spread your event profile even further is identifying and inviting social influencers with a large following that matches your target market.
Create an Engaging Event
Theme parties and happy hours have stood the test of time, but they don’t offer anything new. For this social media generation there are greater opportunities to connect with your audience on and offline. Today people want unique experiences that they can enjoy in person and share online. A simple happy hour doesn't provide that opportunity.
The key to a good event experience is its ability to create an emotional response from attendees. If people connect with the experience they are more likely to remember it and share with others. The word of mouth value of a good experience is exponential. People love to share unique experiences. Create excitement, mystery or secrecy around your event. Give them something to interact with and share. Think instagram worthy! Make sure there’s a photo worthy opportunity at your event. Get creative with something unique and visually appealing.
Offbeat Holiday Celebrations
There is a great opportunity for event venues and restaurants to capitalize on today’s perfect pairing; social media and obscure holidays. An event tied to the theme of an offbeat official holiday is a great opportunity to keep your eyes open for. Today (April 29) is International Dance Day. A Spanish restaurant for example, could hold a dinner and show event with traditional Flamenco performances. The themes present opportunities that you can interpret in a way that makes sense for your business and provides a unique experience for your customers.
Take advantage of the myriad of holiday occasions throughout the year. For restaurants who have relationships with food and beverage resellers, why not get tequila sponsors in the door for National Tequila Day (July 24) and host a tasting, or hot dogs for National Hot Dog Day (July 17). There are also month long occasions like June’s Rose Month or August’s Family Fun Month. For more of these special holiday themes, check out our Mark Your Calendar article.
Who knows where all these quirky National and International holidays come from, but consider these new found days as an opportunity to let your creativity flow and attract foot traffic into your establishment.
You know your event goal, your target market and have thought about how to make your event unique and visually appealing for sharing socially. Apart from capitalizing on special holidays, what other unique event experiences could you create?
Here are some fun ideas to get the juices flowing:
- Special tasting event - a tasting menu event is a great opportunity to invite people to sample new menu items.
- Curated dining experience around a rotating theme - a theme can be a great way to build interest around a dining experience. What about world dishes, with influences from specific cultures. If you are a restaurant already focused on a specific cuisine, what about a special dinner showcasing the different regional influences within that cuisine.
- Dinner for the senses - Build a dining experience around the senses. Get people to smell, hear, touch, taste and see in an immersive dining experience.
- Host a cooking demonstration - Bring in a guest chef to do a demonstration while your chef prepares the meals to follow. Break down a special dish with a tasting to follow. Give guests a recipe to take home.
- Dinner in the dark - this can be done in a darkened room or guests can be blindfolded. The idea is that eliminating sight from the equation, heightens the experience of the other senses.
- Social dining event - Host a social dining experience with pre-sold tickets. Guests could change tables at each course to meet new people. Organize icebreakers and things like a pot of fun questions on tables to encourage people to interact and get to know each other.
- Date nights - don’t wait for Valentine’s day to get all loved up. Host special date nights where couples can share a romantic meal. Make these nights extra special with romantic music, a live performance or special package menu items for two. Partner with a spa and offer a spa package prize (their services can be promoted to everyone who attends). The lucky prize could be taped under a chair and revealed over dessert.
- Charity events - Host an event and offer a portion of the proceeds to a local nonprofit that has meaning to your target audience.
- Girls night out - Host an event for friends to come together. Organise goodie bags, with giveaways or samples from complementary businesses.
- Watch parties - Sports bars have a leg up because of built in access to pay-per-view for sporting events. However other entertainment watch parties can include anything from awards shows to Game of Thrones or The Bachelor.
- Trivia and bingo nights - These are an old favorite. How can you put a unique spin on one of these events? Combine an activity with a theme that people can also dress up for, like a specific decade or musical genre theme. Join us for Big Bang Bingo!
- Paint and wine/dine night - Cover your tables and get an artist to host a group painting class, with either drinks or a meal. This could be a popular date night for couples or fun for groups of friends.
- Host a social games night - Promote a social games night where people are encouraged to meet new people and play games, while enjoying drinks and food. Have a host that is great at getting people to mingle.
- Support a local team - invite local sporting teams to share a post game meal together with teammates and supporters.
- Host a workshop or course - lots of organisations host evening workshops and lessons that could be held in your venue. They bring in the people and host the event, you provide the space, food and drinks.
Whether you host an event around a special holiday theme or create a unique and engaging experience, there is a lot of room to get more creative with your events. Understand your target audience and create events specifically for them, with a sense of occasion, a unique theme or experience.
Whether you want to take registrations or sell tickets, using a free ticketing platform like Ticketbud can make the process much easier. There are so many added benefits and as the organizer it’s free to use. Within minutes you can have a great branded event page, a process for registering or selling tickets, and customer support for optimizing registrations and sales. One of our ticketing specialists can work with you on ticket programming to increase sales opportunities. Free events are free to host on the platform, and paid ticket events allow you to build the low transaction fee into the price of the ticket. This makes it free for the event organizer.
Get planning your next event experience and reach out to Ticketbud to help you maximize the success of your event.