Case Study: The benefits of using professional event management

Grampians Grape Escape: What a regional festival can achieve by investing in professional event resources and collaborating with Local Government to drive results: 42% increase in ticket sales in one year!

Grampians Grape Escape's current event governance model consists of two event professionals who organise the event, with support from a skilled board and 70 volunteers for the week before the event.

The event is 27 years old, and used to be run by a volunteer committee and an industry board made up of wine makers and producers. Previously it had paid amateur event organisers, with little results.

Five years ago, the board decided to change from an industry to a skilled board. Highly skilled event managers have been hired for two years, with the profit made from the festival paying for the professionals.

Council doesn’t run the event; however, a Councillor is chair of the board, and there is a very close working relationship with Council. Five years ago (in line with bringing on professional managers), Council became more involved. Council staff play a hands-on role with early planning phases, in addition to investing $10,000 cash and providing in kind support via waste and traffic services. They realised the economic impact for the region ($2.58m and 15 jobs), and now use the festival to promote the region as a great place to visit and live.

Since Council became more actively involved, the profile and professionalism of the event has been raised. However, the biggest difference has been a result of the engagement of the professional event managers. Since they came on board they have rebranded the event, reinvigorated the marketing strategy and consequently delivered a 42% increase in ticket sales in one year (after 27 years of little results!).

The festival’s position in everything they do is to grow community support and promote the region first then the festival. 

Cristy HoughtonComment