As we move into the busy winter season - here are our Top 10 Tips for attending events at Christmas
(1) Check the likely footfall - RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH
There are a lot of events on the same day, you can only go to one (or maybe two) and the same for your customers. So spend a little bit of time researching the events you are planning to go to to make sure that they are going to get a decent footfall.
- Is it a first year event? If yes, they are going to need to do A LOT of marketing - online and offline - are they doing that?
- Check last years event out, look at their FB event/Page, google the event for 2018 to see how many listings google returns, contact an exhibitor and ask them how good it was
- Does it clash with something that if you were attending as a visitor you'd likely go to instead
- Is it advertised on the radio? This gives you a good indication of how important the organiser thinks marketing is.
(2) Consider the impact of Bad Weather
Last year I went to Edinburgh's Christmas market on the last Saturday before Christmas - however, as anyone that's ever been to Edinburgh knows, there can be strong cold easterly winds, and because of this the big fairground rides were closed. The local radio very helpfully pumped out 4 times an hour that the rides would all be closed, and as a consequence, there were probably less than 100 visitors at an event designed to cater to tens of thousands (and some very fed up stallholders). Bad weather stops people going, but sometimes weather that isn't quite so bad can have an even bigger impact if it means parts of the event are inacessible.
If you're doing a local event which is planned to be outside, a community, council or school event - please make sure that they have a bad weather alternative.
(3) Remember to take care of yourself
Warm socks, waterproof boots with a deep sole, hand warmers, fingerless gloves etc - dress in layers to ensure that you can stay warm all day.
Flasks of soup, hot drinks, snacks and nibbles - if you're really busy you won't be able to get away and buy food (and food at Christmas events can be expensive and not designed for nourishment for a working woman)
Check the alcohol content of the mulled wine ;) Particularly if you're in Scotland.
Keep moving - if you only have a sales table and no activity station, then remember to keep moving - being out front of the table helps this dramatically. Personally, i find singing and dancing to Christmas songs helps.
(4) Don't volunteer your Gazebo
If you are outside at an event, then the organisers should be providing suitable cover. So don't volunteer to bring your gazebo use theirs instead. In all probability they'll be hiring heavierweight tents, and it means that you wont be liable for gusting or flying gazebos if the weather gets bad.
(5) Big events aren't always the best
Many consultants will tell you about short, small community events they've attended at Christmas where their takings have been higher than big all day (even all weekend) events. So, always consider the smaller events too, and don't focus exclusively on the bigger ones. The magic sauce that makes a small event a special event is community backing. It could be the small village school where everyone attends everything and spends £20 minimum everytime just to support the PTA and the community. It could be a nursery event in a middle of a housing estate - and these ones will be short too because the little ones don't last that long. So. combine this with tip (1), do a bit of research, and look at the community support for the organisation, and remember that you're looking for families.
(6) Beware the Craft Markets
Beware the craft markets, particularly the high end craft markets, as people going go with a purpose of a "mooch" and a look see, something nice to go and see, not necessarily to spend. Also, many people (mostly mums and grans) going to these delibrately leave their kids behind so that they can enjoy it unfettered.
(7) Garden Centres
YES! Garden centres - if they aren't on your list put them on it. Indoors, with families going to see Santa, lots of garden centres all busy competing with other garden centres to attract the families - they are just crying out for you to be there!
Lots of organisers suggest being near the Santa's Grotto, but in reality people are either in the queue talking about Santa, or hurrying out with their noses in their new presents. Remember the best place to be is withing sightline of (hot) food and drink, and somewhere where parents can wait whilst the children make their pictures.
(9) Would you like to colour in a section of my Sand Art picture?
Out front, with a tray or your tables, and ask every child (and most grownups too) passing if they want to do a section. Doubly important if you don't have your activity station. Don't rely on telepathy, people don't instantly know just by looking at your products or table what its all about - so give them a tiny free go.
(10) Small and Simple pictures for Outside
If you are outside, then you don't want the pictures that take 40 minutes, you want the ones that will take 15. Make your stock appropriate for the day, you can always have your bigger/complex pictures there under the table, but keep the display ones to choose from simple. Instead of introducing your different pictures by price (ie the Ovals are £2.50, the A4 are £4) introduce them by time (These pictures will take about 40 minutes, but these ones about 15 minutes)
And one final extra bonus tip - last year a consultant lost hundreds of pounds because they paid a very significant sum to be at a "Winter Wonderland Extravaganza" event. As you know at KBH we try to ensure that you don't pay large pitch fees except where it is a good idea, so if you are thinking of spending out a big sum on a big Christmas event, then please please please run it past your team leader or head office, and we will do a bit of digging on your behalf to make sure that you're not unncessarily risking money.