Friday, August 17, 2012

Is this the way to market a festival ?

This week I got a bit of a shock. No, not that the Mallinsons beer I wanted ran off before I got to it, (although it did !) . I happened across a poster that advertised Huddersfield Camra Oktoberfest. I was a little amazed when I saw the prices for admission, it shows a £10 admission fee for non Camra members and £8 for members. I think this is a little excessive, sorry, a lot excessive, for entry to a festival.

I did read the small print which explains what my money would pay for; a glass, a programme, and £5 of beer tokens, the actual admission costing £3 or £1 respectively, more or less the same deal that applies at a lot of other festivals. But why did Huddersfield Camra take the step to advertise it in the way it did?

A quick look at the poster does no one any favours. The casual visitor would be put off by the admission price. The hardened festival goer would think twice about paying the fee. 

The pricing policy of paying for everything on entering also goes against the grain. I accept that there has to be an admission charge to the hall, to cover the rent and electricity, there is no problem with that. My problem is that not everyone goes to a festival to drink, odd as it may seem. If I take my partner, who cannot drink, or does not want to drink because she is driving, do they have to pay the £10 admission irrespective of not drinking ?  Surely the better system is an entry fee and then the option  of buying tokens for what you want, when you want it. The wider view of their customer base seems to have been overlooked.   

I have not spoken to any of the local Camra members responsible for the festival advertising so I am not sure of the actual thinking behind it. Is it to speed up entrance times ? To make cash handling easier ? Or some other reason ?

Whichever reason applies I think it is very shortsighted, since several people who have seen the poster made the comment that they would not attend because of the prices shown on the poster. They never read the explanation further down. If this is a small but representative sample then I fear they have got it wrong. It is not encouraging people to attend, rather the opposite. I hope not. I want the festival to succeed like everyone else.    

Incidentally, and this may have escaped the organisers notice, if they check the poster in the latest copy of the 'Imbiber' then the entry fees are shown as £1 and £3 not £8 and £10.  

3 comments:

Simon Johnson said...

As long as the cost breakdown is made plain, I think it's a great idea. Works well in Nottingham, who offer tokens back if you bring your own glass / are CAMRA members. Makes entry quicker too - pay your money, given your glass and tokens, away you go. No need to queue three times.

Real Ale Up North said...

Well said pal. And cheers for highlighting this. How dafy to put ten quid admission without highlighting what you get for your tenner!

Anonymous said...

The reason behind pricing is both to speed up entry and lessen confusion both of customers and staff as last year saw no glass deposits taken for the whole of the first day which cost the branch a small fortune and greatly affected the viability of the whole event