It’s no secret that people love live experiences.
So how can you draw people to your experience? Delicious food and libations are an excellent start. But to make a food and drink event memorable, it has to stand out from a crowd of pop-ups and cocktail parties.
Whether you host a big festival or an intimate wine tasting, you have to find a way to make your event original. In fact, 87% of food and drink event-goers claim that an event’s “uniqueness” helps determine whether or not they will attend.
Convince them to attend your event using these eight ways to make your wine event stand out.
1. Make it exclusive
More than a third of food and drink event attendees gravitate towards special dining and drinking events that are small and secretive. Think intimate pop-ups with limited seating and invite-only restaurant openings. The more exclusive, the more special event-goers feel. Even if your event is big, that doesn’t mean it can’t have an air of exclusivity.
2. Curate better VIP experiences
Of the food and drink festival-goers Eventbrite surveyed, more than half are willing to pay more for exclusive experiences and access at a festival.
For example, Ali Walker of the Firestone Walker Brewing Company offers early entry ticket holders first access to the brewers. “We give 100% of those sales to the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund, which makes attendees feel good about the higher price tag,” says Ali.
Want to create VIP options for your event? Establish multiple ticket types — not just custom VIP packages, but Early Bird discounts and other variations on the standard price.
3. Find a memorable new venue
The food and drink are important — but people can eat anywhere. What makes your event interesting is the location. Host your event in nontraditional spaces like warehouses, greenhouses, or private vineyards. This might take some extra planning — especially if there’s not a commercial kitchen onsite. But the payoff is well worth it when you attract attendees.
4. Use rare and fantastic ingredients
One of the best and most obvious ways to set your event apart is with special ingredients attendees can’t find anywhere else. Think a pre-release of a product that’s about to become hot, or a rare, foraged mushroom handpicked by the chef herself.
That unique ingredient can be the golden ticket. In fact, 65% of food and drink event attendees are more likely to attend a special food and drink event if the menu has unexpected ingredients or food combinations.
5. Gift guests with thoughtful mementos
The right take-home swag will help your attendees remember your event. For example, you could make every menu different by including a unique, hand-drawn sketch. Or, as Top Chef finalist Melissa King recommends for pop-up dinners, “Consider a to-go treat like a scone for their breakfast along with a personalized note.”
6. Use RFID to enhance the experience
For wine festivals, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) bracelets help you track where attendees are spending the most time, so you can hone in on the most (and least) popular parts of your event. RFID also speeds up entrance and purchasing lines. Attendees can pay for food and drinks with a simple tap of their wrist — and go home satisfied and impressed.
7. Lean on your sponsors
One of the best ways to carve out a one-of-a-kind event is to team up with special sponsors who bring their own brand of unique experience. Look for sponsors who will offer interactive, immersive experiences to engage attendees on the ground and give them memories to last a lifetime.
But don’t overdo it with so many sponsors that your event’s message gets lost in the melee. The key is to handpick just the right sponsors for your event.
8. Give them something to do après wine
Hybrid events add experiences beyond wine into the evening — elements like live music, photo booths, or even horse-and-buggy rides. Your imagination is the limit! And this creativity pays off: More than half of food and drink festival attendees told us they are more likely to choose a festival that has more to it than a great food spread.
A truly unique and inspiring event stays in the minds of participants long after it leaves their stomachs — so find ways to make yours unforgettable.
Check out Eventbrite’s session at the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference on Event Marketing in 2018 on Thursday, October 25, at 9:00 am to learn more ways to stand out in the wine industry.