We chatted to the team from Bournemouth 7s to find out more about their innovative sport and music festival and why Eventbrite was their ticketing provider of choice.
Tell us about your event. How did it get started? Who is it aimed at?
The inaugural Bournemouth 7s Festival took place over the late May Bank Holiday in 2008 having been originally conceived by Founder and CEO, Roger Woodall, around a year earlier. Roger was a former semi-professional rugby player who subsequently established a formidable reputation as a promoter hosting thousands of events at nightclubs across the UK. This combination of competitive sport and an innovative party atmosphere for like-minded sports people was a winner from the off and has really caught the imagination ever since.
Still privately owned by Roger and Fleur Woodall, the festival has grown substantially and now attracts over 400 sports teams and 30,000 people each year. Teams compete in a range of social and elite tournaments in rugby, netball, dodgeball and hockey throughout the day before turning their attention to any of the festival’s 12 creatively themed arenas. Hosted by a variety of live acts and DJs, these arenas offer an unrivalled party atmosphere which sets Bournemouth 7s apart from the crowd!
Why did you move your ticketing over to Eventbrite?
Being completely honest, we weren’t looking for a new ticketing supplier when we first came across Eventbrite. Our team had been working with the same full-service agency for a number of years and were relatively happy with the service they offered us. However, we took a meeting with Eventbrite as we had seen them starting to put a real stamp on the industry in the preceding 12 months and we are delighted that we did!
In an industry that never really sleeps, and as part of a team that works at unusual hours, particularly in the lead up to our festival, the main attraction of the Eventbrite platform was the functionality which is open to us 24 hours a day. Long gone are the days when we spent the weekend waiting for an account manager to return to work on a Monday morning; replaced with an intuitive and user-friendly portal which enables us to adjust prices, update capacities and even add new ticket types.
Our Eventbrite contacts Bob and Liz worked tirelessly to make our first year working with the new system as easy as possible. From the outset, nothing was a problem and their approach combined the very best of an industry-leading technological solution with diligent account management and a friendly voice at the end of the phone.
What challenge has it helped you solve?
There are almost too many improvements to mention so I’ll pick out a couple of really notable improvements compared to our previous experiences.
The Eventbrite Organiser App is an amazing tool for a tuned-in festival organiser. The real-time ability to review and understand ticket sales and trends facilitates an amazing understanding of the impact of traditional and digital marketing activity in real time. The management team of our festival absolutely love the ability to review overall numbers, dig down into individual transactions and monitor onsite attendance data all through one easy-to-use and beautifully designed app.
Traditionally, Bournemouth 7s Festival has relied on a combination of online and direct ticketing, however, a real priority for us in 2017 was to transfer a significant number of direct sales into online transactions. The ease of use for the end-consumer was extremely important in developing our process for this year’s festival and we were delighted with Eventbrite’s approach to this. The importance of converting sales is a clear and evident focus throughout all versions of the software and our online sales figures more than doubled in 2017 so it’s clearly working!
What are your future plans?
With our tenth year successfully in the bank, attention has now turned to making the 2018 show our best yet and we’ve got some really exciting additions lined up! As the number of festivals and competitors appears to be ever increasing, we’re determined to build on our loyal audience of sports and music enthusiasts.
Sport and sporting people are the real focus of Bournemouth 7s Festival and we’re looking to expand this portion of our audience again in 2018. We’re delighted to confirm that we will be adding volleyball and ultimate frisbee into the sporting mix for 2018 with conversations ongoing with a number of other sports for next year and beyond.
Our team are always looking for new and innovative ways to change up our festival site and will be spending the next few months looking for exciting new structures and party arenas to make the atmosphere in 2018 even better!
What’s one piece advice you’d give to new event organisers starting up an event?
For me, the most important thing for any new event organisers is to be confident in their offering and not try to be something they aren’t. Whilst we are always diversifying and looking for new audiences the success of Bournemouth 7s Festival has been built on a solid concept, which we have stayed true to since the very first year. It is vital to work out exactly who your core audience is and the best ways to interact with them; then you won’t go far wrong.
I guess there are a few bits of advice in there but they are summed up by one overarching theme, you can’t be everything to everyone so highlight your target audience and deliver something that makes them feel special so they keep coming back.
How much has it grown since inception?
Ever since it was first launched, Bournemouth 7s has been on an upward trajectory. With the 96 teams attending in 2008 somewhat eclipsing the original target of 24, the festival has always surpassed expectations. Subsequent growth across rugby and netball combined with the addition or dodgeball and hockey in 2014 and ‘15 respectively saw the number of teams playing sports increase to almost 400 in 2017.
Concurrently, the festival has developed as a spectacle on an equally impressive level. The first festival saw a few pitches surrounded by our famous beer tent and a few smaller exhibitors whilst the 10th edition saw the 67-acre site full to the brim with festival arenas, amazing sponsor activations, an eclectic mix of street food and a euphoric party crowd adorned in fantastic fancy dress!
The growth in Bournemouth 7s Festival has been organic and driven by a team of sports enthusiasts who are constantly looking to take the Festival to the next level. We are super excited about 2018 and beyond!
Why did you start events at Bournemouth 7s?
Roger has vast experience in promoting and delivering events and our company’s ethos can be credited to his entrepreneurial approach and background. Since the company launched and took on its first employee, Roger and Fleur have always sought to build a team of people who are committed to sport but also who love delivering show-stopping events. Our small team of just 7 people are responsible for managing every element of Bournemouth 7s Festival and it’s this approach that affords us control of our own destiny!
Ticketing at Bournemouth 7s Festival is overseen by a number of different members of our team:
Craig Mathie (Managing Director)
“New ticketing providers are amongst the most common enquiries in my inbox and all of them claim to offer something truly unique. Eventbrite was the first company to make me take note. From day one, they have focused on what makes them different, helped us to deliver real results and been a pleasure to deal with. I look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
Daniel Berry (Digital Manager)
“Eventbrite’s e-ticketing solution has saved us countless hours thanks to the easy-to-use dashboard and mobile app. Changes and edits that were made needlessly complicated by our previous ticket suppliers are now accessible 24/7 in my pocket. Switching from printed tickets to e-tickets has also seen cost savings for Bournemouth 7s, and the Eventbrite team were always very helpful throughout this period of transition.”
Paul Ashurst (Events Manager)
“Eventbrite has revolutionised the way we manage and view our online ticketing process. From seamlessly entwining itself within our business model during the transition to introducing the Bournemouth 7s team to its comprehensive online portal and mobile app. The platform continues to impress with its endless capabilities and future prospects.”