Walk of Wonders had successfully ticketed their previous event with Eventfinda leading to their commitment to a multi-year ticketing relationship. The event is run by Vesica and around 20 volunteers – plus venue and food and beverage vendor staff.
The key outcomes achieved for the client were:
- They were able to harness Eventfinda’s marketing capabilities with Ticketholder Communications. This provided them with the perfect tool to keep their ticketholders informed with daily reminder emails for the upcoming session’s ticketholders.
- Easily managed promo codes and discounts offered to early-bird registrations and a partner art gallery’s database.
- The ticket scanners provided (plus spare batteries) ensured the gate ran smoothly and training required for users was minimal.
The 2021 event saw:
- Almost 8,000 people visit the experience
- Year-on-year revenue was doubled
About Walk of Wonders
Walk of Wonders is a new media, light art, fire and audio experience for all ages completing its second event in 2021. Held at Black Barn Vineyards, guests experience an interactive walk encountering large light sculptures woven into an especially curated story that’s accompanied by music and the best from Hawke’s Bay’s local food and beverage vendors. The event is run by Vesica, a New Zealand arts event company that seeks to capture imaginations by collaborating with established NZ and international creators to bring authentic and unique experiences to the public.
Challenges and event objectives
The objective of the Walk of Wonders events is to bring the art installations plus the whole offering of an immersive experience to the people. The challenge was upped in 2021 by adding a narrative to the walk so that guests would experience a story as they moved throughout the experience. As a paid-for ticketed event, Walk of Wonders has to compete against many free council-funded light exhibitions so they take care to offer an original and especially memorable event for their guests. It’s key for them to reach the right people and ensure the guests’ experience runs as smoothly as possible.
Event manager, Sarah Everett, ran the marketing and ticketing for both the 2020 and 2021 events. However, in 2021 Walk of Wonders moved from being a self-service client to a contracted client with a dedicated Eventfinda Account Manager, Amit Rathor.
“Amit was fantastic – always quick to answer emails, calls and messages. Everything was easier this time around with our own personal account manager. Rather than worrying about calling into a call centre and not knowing who I would talk to, I was able to build a relationship and he got to know us and everything about our event. This meant that all questions and queries were easy to settle.”
As an open-air, outside event there’s always the possibility of cancellation due to weather so knowing that ticketing could be flexible was important. The 2021 event also differed from the previous year as the number of sessions was increased. Sarah recalls:
“This meant we were learning how to distribute the events across weekdays and weekends. Figuring out how many people would turn up and what the best session times were for particular days. Eventfinda’s real-time reporting really helped with this as we could adjust the capacity on the go and review reporting the next day to plan for our next session.”
A trusted brand and simple setup
Eventfinda as a ticketing solution had been favoured by the event partly due to its trusted and established brand:
“Eventfinda is a well-recognised name so our customers felt comfortable buying tickets on the platform. Keeping your quality consistent gave our customers trust in our event.”
As Sarah discovered more about what the platform could deliver and how self-sufficient she could be, she felt very comfortable in her ability to get the results she aimed for, saying:
“The platform is intuitive and customisable but the support is there when you need it. The set-up was very simple and was done within a few hours. I could do about 80% myself where most of the support given was testing and checking that everything was working correctly.”
The first step was to kick off their marketing strategy by offering early access to tickets for VIPs or last year’s ticket holders. This email campaign gave the team their first opportunity to utilise Eventfinda promo codes. All those included in this exclusive offer were provided with a specially created promo code to use to access their early bird ticket price. Sarah said:
“This was the first year we’d created promo codes and early access for guests and it worked really well. Amit was so helpful in getting this all set up. But now I feel confident I can do it myself.”
Another part of the event was effectively an art gallery opening. Within the Walk of Wonders event was one station set up in an underground wine cellar which was transformed into a gallery with six murals by local artists. This was called A Baptism of Pink and was run by Boyd-Dunlop Gallery in Napier. Sarah was able to contact their database and offer a 20% discount code to the event and this part was promoted as a gallery opening.
More than a ticketing platform
The Eventfinda platform was able to exceed expectations as Sarah recalls:
“It provided everything that was needed. Eventfinda was essential to our event running smoothly.”
But as well as the usual ticketing solutions, the marketing capability was a large part of what the team wanted to achieve in the platform.
“Being able to email our ticketing database via Ticketholder Communications within the platform meant sending our daily reminder emails ahead of each session was simple, and ensured our guests would get all the key event information they needed – weather forecast, map of the site, and event info,” said Sarah.
Not only was the functionality a bonus but its usability has motivated further change in their strategy:
“I was so impressed with how Ticketholder Communications worked, the user experience was straightforward, in fact, it was better than our usual email provider. So much so that I’d like to execute all our email communications within the Eventfinda platform next year if I can,” added Sarah.
The marketing support from Eventfinda extended to Walk of Wonders being included in our newsletter. Sarah recalls:
“The newsletter EDMs sent to the Eventfinda database definitely resulted in more sales and gave us greater visibility.”
Improved experience for guests and staff
As an evening event, there can be challenges around arrival times as guests tend to all arrive at once so the gate needs to be run efficiently.
This year as part of their contract with Eventfinda, Sarah’s team were provided with event ticket scanners with backup batteries. This was a game-changer:
“This made our lives on the gate so much easier. It was a much smoother experience than the previous year,” Sarah recounts.
With 20 volunteers per night to manage there was plenty of time saved by not needing to train gate staff for more than a few minutes.
“Some volunteers would arrive five minutes before they’d start their shift so we’d do quick and easy training and they’d be away and up and running with the scanners,” she said.
And managing comps via the ticketing platform and scanners rather than needing a door list was also an advantage to the gate staff.
“The platform was so easy to work with from the setup to scanning to everything in between. We were very happy with it. It was essential in ensuring the event ran smoothly.”
Reporting and data at their fingertips
Running an evening event can present its own challenges. This meant that the real-time reporting and data was very useful to Sarah.
“I was always looking at the sales report and ‘Volume by Session’. We had some sessions that were clearly going to sell out so I was constantly keeping an eye on those sales.”
“One night we realised we could up the capacity after the experience of another session so we knew we could go on and alter that easily ourselves in the portal,” said Sarah.
When she was presented with an issue when the tickets went off sale temporarily they were able to quickly resolve the issue. Sarah continued:
“We had a default setting to stop ticket sales an hour before our event start time. I was able to quickly update this to continue selling tickets right through to the end of the event. It was great to be able to resolve things ourselves.”
Lighting the way to the future
The next event will be in winter 2022 and plans are already underway to ensure they can get the best from the Eventfinda platform. Sarah is committed to continuing to use Eventfinda and looks forward to learning more about its capabilities. She says:
“We were so impressed with the ease of using Ticketholder Communications, it was better and more intuitive than our usual email provider and we’ll utilise this more for the next event.”
[images: Charlotte Anderson]