Timed-ticketing, Covid Signs, & Happy People – Sunflower Festival Report.
Sorry this is a hurried blog post, we’re cranking to get everything ready in-between festival weekends. I’m sure you are running hard, too. I wanted to share with you my Sunflower Festival experiences form the weekend as this was the FIRST on-site event other than drive-thru festivals.
Here are the details & observations from the weekend in rapid fire:
- Timed-ticketing is the best thing since sliced bread. We’re offering 50 tickets per time slot every 30 minutes for the sunflower festival over 3 weekends. This weekend was the first functional test of the timed ticketing – It’s AMAZING. I ran my festival, over 450 people Saturday, with eight staff, including tractor drivers. It never felt busy!
- Sell your blooms, buckets, pies and more in advance, so you know what you are doing. We use TicketSpice.com for our online ticketing and merchandise pre-sales. It allows us to input inventory for buckets and add-ons, which was good, because we sold out of nearly every bucket we had in stock.
- Good signs reduce staff stress. We have a TON of signs up about mask requirements, notices of liability release, crowd photo notices, alcohol consumption areas, and even “how to do the festival right” signs. My staff doesn’t have to argue with people about mask-wearing, when they can point to the sign!
- People are happy to be here. We noticed that the crowd was mask compliant, happy to be out and about, and spent $$$. Our average online purchase was $42.00, Food & wine was $14.00, and farm market – on the same day – was $19.
- It’s not that hard to be firm with the rules. We had people try to walk up without an online ticket, we sent them to the site to see if one was available. We didn’t take cash at the gate, so they paid with cards. We didn’t serve wine or snacks without the guest wearing a mask, so they put on their masks. No fights, no problems, stick with it!
- People appreciate that we are following COVID procedures. We had at least two online reviews mention that “They had COVID procedures in place and were following them.” Lead from the front with this one – I was parking cars briefly on Sunday and, even though technically I didn’t need it, I wore my mask to set the tone for the rest of the day for our staff and for our guests. Keep after it!!!
- You still have to market your business, event, festival, farm. We will eclipse 2019’s Sunflower festival revenue before our 2nd festival weekend, but we are spending on Facebook & Instagram to do it. Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch! If you are magical and people flock to you out of the blue, enjoy it – I did for 3 years! Now, we are marketing, using public relations, and paying for advertising. You might have to as well.
It feels flippin’ amazing to be open! I can’t tell you how it lifts my spirits to see people again! I am so happy and thankful to be open, and when you do, please don’t miss the joy of that feeling.
Sure, something will go wrong, someone will be annoying, but who the heck cares when you get to entertain nice people on your very own farm?!
Enjoy the joy, people. More soon,
PS We did not create it, but have been using TicketSpice.com the past two seasons and highly recommend them. I think it would be worth your time to take a look. They have some tools, such as pre-registration and “signature to agree/buy,” to help us navigate these crazy times successfully.
We like how their ticketing “Pages” can be customized for each event. We used TicketSpice for a Winery event, Corn Maze, and Sunflower Festival all at the same time and the ticketing pages look totally different. We direct all our advertising straight to the ticketing page – Look out for an email from Shadi, TicketSpice’s VP in the coming days about a webinar. I met him at the Haunt Show a few years ago.
Or you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org as well for a special deal for all our Agritourism Clients & friends. If you reach out to use them, remember to ask for the “Platinum Set-up” package and exclusive, “Agritourism Phone Support” package (normally their support is chat based, but I told him that just doesn’t fly with us.)
PPS Want to know how we SOLD OUT festival time slots? We’ve turned $3,900 in Facebook ads into over $48,000 in sunflower ticket & bucket sales with two weekends to go.
PPPS Need some personal encouragement? Each day we’ll send you a one minute video with an encouraging thought to set your day out right. We call it 30 Days of Positive Energy and it’s completely FREE.