Author: Matthew Payne
On a visit to London a few years ago, a friend gave me a copy of the London Coffee Guide. Obviously he knew I was quite the coffee aficionado and I made a point of visiting as many of these local coffee houses as I could as I went about exploring the city.
A few years later I noticed in my home town local craft brewers banded together to offer a craft beer passport. For a small initial fee, craft beer enthusiasts can sample a myriad of local brews at locations all around the city for $2 a pint. Many cities now have markets or exhibitions showcasing and selling locally manufactured goods (such as ‘one of a kind’ shows) and of course there’s always new and exciting restaurants opening in local culinary scenes.
So what exactly am I getting at by talking about coffee and craft beer? The notion of probing deeper when it comes to marketing your regions to event organizers, or looking past large and obvious providers for partnerships with for your event. Basically taking a deep dive to showcase niche vendors and experiences that make your region unique.
Think about a place you’ve visited on more than one occasion for either work or leisure. Your first visit was probably spent checking out the obvious touristy things, but on subsequent trips you’ve most likely wanted to scratch beneath the surface by seeking out places usually frequented by locals.
Don’t overlook the small stuff, like local coffee houses, craft brewers, galleries and restaurants. Often with jam-packed events they’re the only establishments attendees have the option of visiting when there’s not much time between sessions. If an event is happening outside the downtown core, attendees may be tempted to look for things that are in their vicinity rather than using unfamiliar transit or taking a taxis.
Alternatively, think about bundling experiences together so attendees can get a taste of what your area can offer, but make sure they’re feasible for different price points and durations. For further inspiration, take a look at what visitors to your area have already highlighted on social media through Instagram and YouTube.
Speaking of YouTube, pay attention to videos that highlight and examine ‘what to do in 24-48 hours’ for your region. If your region isn’t featured prominently in posts on either of these platforms, don’t worry. Take a look at examples from other cities as they’ll likely prompt you to think about comparable offerings in your area.
Finally, start brainstorming your master list of local experiences from which you can tailor toward specific attendee groups. If you’ve got attendee data from previous events in your area, you may be able to use it to create marketing personas to tailor them more acutely. Who knows? You might even surprise yourself by unearthing venues, experiences and vendors you never knew your region had to offer.