5 things to research when planning your event

The UK Festival Awards published their annual market report. Time to get some insights into who actually attends festivals. Turns out that the average festivalgoer is between 18-25 years old and is predominantly male (63%). He also likes to eat pizza, burgers or wraps. Pizza, burgers and wraps…  it’s almost as if every event organiser has seen this report before.

Finding out what people like to eat when they’re drinking lager with their mates might not sound like useful data. But I for one think that the info in this report is really interesting. Visitors would like free WiFi when at a festival. And phone charging facilities. Seems like quite obvious requests, right? So why do they still request it? Why do festivals not provide it? I think event planners can use this report to get inspired.

Reports like this one from the UK Festivals Awards are great. They can really give festival organisers an idea of what’s on their fans mind. If you are new to organising events, be warned: these reports are great but are not enough.

Focus on your market research before you start planning and organising your event. Research will help you prepare for the unexpected. Okay, to a degree. There are no certainties in the event industry. When you look into your event ideas you will come across problems. It is at this stage that you might realise that there is no market for your event. Let’s just say it is the stage before you spend any, or too much, money.

Researching your market will help you with the planning of your event. You will figure out what the best date is for your event. Or when you should definitely not organise your event. Researching other events can lead to new ideas. It should spark your creativity. Through research you can revamp old ideas.

5 things to research

The main idea behind researching your market is to figure out whether your event is viable. Are people interested in your amazing ideas? When conducting market research you can focus on the following points:

Your event ideas

First and foremost focus on the event ideas. What is it that you want to organise? If it is too complicated to answer this question you need to rethink your event concept. Has your event concept been done before? If so, how successful was it? Where was it organised and who turned up? Look into your proposed acts/entertainment: do they have a following and have they been to the same area before? 

Your audience

Knowing your audience...

Knowing your audience...

In an ideal world you know who your audience is. You should be able to describe the audience you are aiming for. Look at the demographics, what do they like, eat, and drink. The data from the UK Festival report might be helpful. Once you know your audience you can figure out where they are and how you can communicate with them. 

Your location

The location of your event is very important. Once you have decided who you are aiming for you need to find a location that is, somehow, accessible to this crowd. The location needs to fit the event and the atmosphere of your event. Not unimportantly, locations can be quite expensive as well so costs can determine where your event will take place. If you are organising an event on behalf of a client you need to check their wish list.  

Your date

When will your event take place? You might want to check what else is being organised on the same date. Actually you need to check the events calendar of the region where you organise your event. Perhaps a similar event is taking place only a month prior to your event. That might still be competition. Don’t just research events. You also need to look at other activities. Euro2016 takes place in France but it might impact your event in Somerset if the England team is doing well.

Your market

I used to tell my students to look at everything that might impact your event. I’m sure you've heard of the PESTEL-analysis. Well, it’s a bit like that. The current political or economic situation might have an impact on your event. You might think this is a bit far-fetched but you should definitely look if the event market shows any signs of saturation. Or whether one big player dominates the festival market. How will that affect your event?

Don’t get me wrong: there is a lot more you need to look into and at the same time you cannot research everything. But in my opinion, knowledge of the events market can only help you. For more news about the event industry you can follow me on Twitter.