Table of Contents
Film festivals along with other consumer events have evolved well over the last years. Nowadays, people particularly value personalized experiences. This makes organizers create packages and exclusive offerings in order to satisfy customers’ needs in customization and wider choice. In addition, organizers sometimes add some new categories to their festivals (e.g. wine tasting), which attracts more visitors. Besides, technologies have caused new trends in the industry. For example, developing of data collecting and wireless technology has changed the way in which festivals are planned and managed. Social networks led to appearing communities of fans where fans share their feelings and thoughts about events. Overall, these trends have resulted to a significant increase of the festivals space all over the world, and this process will not be slowed down in the near future. The aim of this paper is to analyze motivation for the trend and its manifestations. Besides, social/cultural and individual factors affecting the trend will be researched. Finally, it will be studied how the trend can be used in the society.
Customers expect more options and more customization, which can be explained by the fact that today, people have wider choice in all aspects of their life including food, travelling and entertainment. Therefore, customers also demand festivals that better coincide with their interests and preferences. Organizers of festivals try to match these demands offering a greater choice of films and a specialized approach. Customer needs are also satisfied by use of social media because people can create fan communities and speak about their interests there. For example, there are fan communities of different kinds of film festivals where customers share their impressions about events. To increase attendance and make festivals more enjoyable, organizers are creating VIP packages that include fast admission, premium food, behind-the-scenes access, etc. For example, Housecore film festival’s ticketing strategy is providing improved, full-festival experience. The festival lasts four days, and customers can see fifty horror films, documentaries short films, and nineteen heavy mental groups. In addition, visitors are offered to buy either individual tickets to each film and concert or one of the passes (e.g. Film-only, The Nightstalker, Single Say passes, VIP All Access, etc.). Holders of the VIP All Access pass are permitted to visit all screenings and concerts as well as opening and closing nights (Housecore Film Festival, n.d.). Popularity and reasonability of VIP offerings is proved by their positive impact on revenues: particularly, they bring about 25 percent of revenues. According to experts, this trend will continue to increase (Eventbrite, 2013).
Another trend associated with festivals is their hybridization, which means adding complementary activities. This appeared because customers started valuing their time and money more than earlier, so they want to have as many activities as possible. It is also beneficial for organizers because visitors of hybrid festivals tend to come with many friends and family members, stay for longer time and spend more money (Eventbrite, 2013). In other words, consumers like hybrid festivals for greater choice, which leads to increasing the number of visitors and revenues. In addition, enhancing complementary activities is common for different fields of modern society, and it is caused by the increasing speed of life.
It has been determined recently that online ticketing is a very powerful source of information and insights, and this can help to improve festivals in many ways. In particular, data collected during online sales can demonstrate what customers expect and how to avoid problems in planning events and logistics. It is also possible to check the efficiency of marketing strategy because a ticket transaction is connected with search engines, emails, online advertisements, etc. (Eventbrite, 2013). Together with geographic information, all this data is highly valuable for organizers. At the same time, the described benefits are good for customers due to the fact that they receive what they want, so their needs are completely satisfied. Moreover, online ticketing saves customers’ time, which was previously spent on standing in queues. Appearing of this trend completely responds to the tendencies existing in other industries. This is caused by the development of online sales and increasing their popularity due to timesaving opportunities.
Experts concluded that mobile technology is significantly improving the whole customer experience. For instance, it is altering the landscape of managing onsite logistics. Entry managers can verify tickets faster using just smartphones and tablets equipped with check-in applications and barcode scanners. In addition, mobile devices with credit card reader attachment are applied for registering mobile cash. One of the film festivals that effectively use mobile technology is Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. Thus, customers can check ticket availability thorough the mobile application and after that easily buy tickers to desired screenings (Eventbrite, 2013). Appearing of the following trend was driven by technological changes, overall growing popularity of mobile devices and their usage in society. As well as other technological innovations, smartphones and tablets allow organizers and customers to save time and improve experience.
One more trend is that Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and smart cards increase value during the festival. Apart from improving customers’ experience, this technology also allows to motivate visitors spend more money, raises marketing awareness and provides more information about audience. If to describe RFID more precisely, it is put into wristband, which customers wear on their hands. This tool saves times of organizers as well as visitors because tickets become unnecessary and purchases are made without cash. Moreover, bracelets are synchronized with the customer’s social networks. It benefits film festivals’ organizers as the bracelet makes check-ins and status updates itself, which performs additional promotion of an event. Pre-paid smarts have also many advantages. In particular, they are able to accelerate entry of visitors to a festival, decrease queues near vendor stands and facilitate trade transactions. All these factors encourage customers to purchase more, so organizers of festivals have more sales. As research demonstrates, increase of sales may reach about 40% (Eventbrite, 2013). Therefore, both devices allow organizers to monitor their total revenues, as well as the most profitable vendors. This is necessary for planning layout of products for future events. Product mix can be determined in this way, as well.
The next trend is that social media give hard cash profits to festival organizers. As technology has improved customer’s experiences through using new technologies for planning and operating an event, it is possible to conclude that social media had a real influence of marketing awareness and sales (Nanji, 2014). One of the most significant effects of social media is that it has boosted attendance of festivals. Today, customers can add each other quickly and create communities where they share their experiences about their favorite festivals. Moreover, some event organizers create these communities themselves to create interest, encourage talking and sharing. The most popular platforms are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (Nanji, 2014). Customers who “Like” photos, updates or music are the same as promoters because their activities increase the number of visit to festival’s page, which results in growing sales. Moreover, driving of sales can be significant. According to the research, Facebook shares were about $4.15 in ticket sales. They also allowed achieving fifteen views of the festival’s page. In regard with Twitter, it brings about twenty-eight page views and $2.18 for share. Apart from shares, customers also perform other actions. First, 65 % of visitors create a tweet or a post during an event. Second, 56 % of people upload their photos of a festival. Third, 31 % make reviews about their experiences (Eventbrite, 2013). Another important aspect is number of followings because it has a direct impact on amount of “Likes”, shares, posts, photos and reviews (Nanji, 2014). Usually, international festivals have thousands of followings. For example, the San Diego Comic-Con International has approximately 350,000 Likes and 300,000 Twitter followers (Eventbrite, 2013). However, social sharing is particularly valuable if it has relevancy. It is beneficial when customers share some event, but it brings the best effects when it is performed at the right time and to the necessary customers by applying appropriate technologies. This can include social notification emails, which are sent to potential clients when at least two people belong to the same social community and are linked to an event by Facebooks purchase system (Eventbrite, 2013).
As it has already been mentioned, film festivals have greatly evolved recently. It is caused by changing of customer behavior, technological alterations and developing of social media. Thus, customers started demanding a wider choice and greater customization, so festival organizers are designing various packages including VIP offerings and new activities. Technological changes have led to appearing of online ticketing and using mobile technologies as well as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and smart cards in different areas, particularly, in planning events, logistics, marketing, promotion and sales. Social media has a positive effect on sales, as well. Such media platforms as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter help to share information about festivals and increase awareness about a festival.