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The changing scene of consumer experience in festivals

The changing scene of consumer experience in festivals

The changing scene of consumer experience in festivals

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The nature of the music festival industry is rapidly changing. Consumers are looking at the bigger picture and demanding a better all round festival experience. The exponential rise in boutique festivals illustrate the drive for a highly curated, enjoyable customer experience. Unable to rely simply on headline acts, organisers must provide a service that addresses these grievances.

One of the recurring issues that arises is queuing. In 2014 and 2015, queuing in festivals constituted one of the top three biggest pitfalls within the UK and Europe, and has been mounting every year. Similar grievances surfaced in a report across 40 states in America. Queues act to remind consumers of day-to-day life they seek to avoid, and whilst many experience their highest moments at festivals, feelings of disgruntlement are more immediate and more acute. Overinflated ticket prices have placed huge pressure on attendees to get the experience that they had anticipated. Latitude, for example, saw a 103% increase in ticket prices from 2006-2015. With many of these music festivals drawing in A-List musicians from around the world standing around in a queue for 45 minutes every morning just to get a bacon butty and a coffee seems a heavy price. Whether lining up for food and drink or entry, visibly long queues stunt revenue and profit. In ordering food or drink, 45% of potential customers in the last 12 months have abandoned lines because the queue was too long. This demonstrates that poor customer experience directly affects businesses within music festivals. Efforts to reduce queuing at Glastonbury Festival went unnoticed as people still waited up to 12 hours to enter the grounds. However, there are signs of a better consumer experience ahead.

The key challenge for festivals around the world is to re-establish connection with the music fans themselves. According to a recent market report, attendees ranked cashless transactions as one of the most important changes they want to see across festivals.

What does this mean for the consumer?

  • Faster transactions mean less time waiting in queues
  • No need to carry around large amounts of cash on them
  • No need to pay ATM commission fees

What does this mean for the vendor?

  • Faster queues bring in greater revenue
  • Cash loss is reduced to 0%
  • Order value increased by up to 40%

Chip-integrated wristbands started to tap into the idea of the resourceful festival-goer with entry and contactless payment on a tech bracelet. However, user feedback has often found it lacking. In 2015, bracelet failures left people unable to buy food or drink at Download Festival and led to queues bigger than before. Moreover, these bracelets still necessitate a face-to-face transaction, still resulting in queues.

With over 90% of festival-goers bringing a smartphone and 4G WiFi gradually becoming a growing reality, mobile transactions in pre-ordering food and drink have become the natural progression for a much improved and positive consumer experience. Pre-ordering only requires signposted collection points meaning no long queues and no cash. Customers order on average nearly twice as much compared to standard purchases. Additionally, information gathered through mobile pre-ordering provides essential information for vendors in better managing order flows, costs and also providing personalised deals and rewards for customers. Those who order once, are three times more likely to use the service again. Whether for food and drink or other merchandise, books and records, the simplicity of ordering allows a fluidity that benefits both the consumer and vendor.

The importance of the festival experience cannot be overstated. The growth of boutique festivals reveals a developing industry towards a more immersive experience, free from distraction and curated for its attendees. Long queues have been damaging for both this consumer experience but also for retail, which loses out on far greater potential revenue. Pre-ordering has become the natural progression that gives freedom to the customer in choosing when and where to order but also to the vendor in understanding the customer’s habits and needs. Trends are changing rapidly and it’s important to follow the pulse on what mattes to the consumer.

For further information about the Preoday pre-ordering platform, contact Dominic Hall dominic.hall@preoday.com

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