Tell us about WOMAD. How did it get started? Who is it aimed at? How much has it grown since inception?
WOMAD celebrates the world’s many forms of music, arts and dance: the name is an acronym for World of Music, Arts and Dance.
The festival was founded by Peter Gabriel in 1980, with the first event taking place in 1982. Since then, the festival has travelled all over the world, taking place in more than 30 countries and entertaining millions.
As well as its UK event, this year WOMAD festivals will take place in Chile; Spain; New Zealand and Australia, where it recently celebrated its 20th year.
The festival has a loyal fan base – over 85% of attendees in any one year are repeat visitors. WOMAD’s fans span the range of ages, and is particularly popular with families, who are well catered for: with kid zones, family camping and a children’s parade.
Why did you choose to move your ticketing over to Eventbrite?
WOMAD worked with Eventbrite for the first time in 2016. We needed a system with an international presence and robust technology – both requirements we were happy Eventbrite could fulfil.
The team and culture of Eventbrite were also a major factor in the decision: we also wanted a partner that – like Eventbrite – would be an industry player for the long haul.
The experience has been uplifting: as well as the ability to make punters feel special, it has removed stresses that have accompanied ticketing in the past.
What challenges has it helped you solve?
A key challenge has always been engaging with the festival’s customers and ensuring the technology works for the fans. In the first year with Eventbrite the transition was smooth, with very little communication from customers who adapted easily to the new system. It was also simple for the team to use, and removed administrative hurdles.
Accurate reporting and timely payouts are essential to help the business side of WOMAD run smoothly. These haven’t always been fulfilled by ticketing partners in the past, so we’ve been happy with the visibility that Eventbrite has provided.
Since attendees are mostly repeat customers, our marketing efforts aren’t enormously engaged with attracting new customers. What’s more important is seeing who’s buying tickets, in order to create initiatives to make punters feel special.
Are you able to share any numbers that show how it’s helped?
WOMAD are planning to remove box office onsite for 2017, thanks to the improved ticketing capability that Eventbrite has enabled. This will generate significant cost savings for our overall production budget.
We also took the decision to reallocate our marketing budget and put the spend towards artists. This was driven by our repeat customer demographic – but also the fact that the flexibility to respond to fluctuations in sales by creating promos is indeed driving ticket sales. For example, our 2017 early bird pre-sale saw demand increase by 167% on last year.
As the event draws closer we’ll be using ticket sales data to create offers and incentives for existing ticket buyers. Selling add-ons – such as entry to the spa – proved to be a growing revenue driver in 2016, which we plan to build on into the future.
What are your future plans, and how will Eventbrite help you achieve them?
Seeking to please loyal punters is the main goal. On a basic level we’ll be able to do this by offering a streamlined ticketing system that is simple to use. And on the back end, we’ll continue to dive into the data to create a personalised experience when offering incentives for ticket sales and add-ons, to inspire repeat customers to return year after year.
Find out more about WOMAD 2017 here.