5 Tips On Creating Loyal Advocates For Your Event

Is your event struggling to attract repeat visitors?

Do visitors come to your event once and then cross it off their bucket list? 

Attracting repeat visitors is one thing but creating loyal advocates for your event is something else. It is something that all events should strive for.

When you convert an attendee into a loyal advocate you create a marketing resource and fan that will not only continue to come to your event, but will also promote your event to others...and we know how powerful word of mouth buzz is. 

So how do you do this when there is competition from lots of other events, when attendees have to travel (sometimes great distances for regional events), and people are overwhelmed with options for their free time? 

Here are five ideas on how you can turn your event attendees into loyal event advocates.


Deliver a different experience each time

If we continue to offer the same, we will continue to get the same - pretty simple right?! 

Events and festivals usually have a formula for success – music, food, family activities - which tends to remain the same each year. But when event managers and committees take the time to add creative flair and vibrancy each year they start to create a culture of repeat visitation.

Keep attendees wanting more, keep them curious about what will be the new things or highlights next year, and they will have a reason to keep coming back. 

We suggest that you spend the first month of your event planning focused on creative brainstorming and reviewing the feedback of your attendees from the previous year. This will fuel new ideas and ensure that you have freshness in your event program each year.


Create a loyalty program with strong incentives

This is something you are more likely to see with accommodations, airlines and even attractions, rather than events. But there’s no reason events can't offer something similar! 

Create a loyalty program that rewards attendees for coming back to your event and for bringing family and friends with them.

You could consider offering rewards such as:

  • VIP entrance and ticketing 

  • Behind the scenes experiences 

  • Free merchandise 

We also encourage you to consider a local rewards system that encourages locals to become loyal advocates and to promote your event to encourage out of town family and friends to visit during your event. For example, you could offer a discounted ticket price for locals if they also buy tickets for family and friends. 

The My Southern Highlands Program is probably the most successful rewards program we have seen.


Give event attendees something unexpected

We all love a surprise, right?! 

Always keep something unexpected up your sleeve for the event – don’t give everything away in your marketing.

Make attendees feel like they have received extra value or a bonus – this could be another musician that was not mentioned in the program, a free behind the scenes experience for a number of people, a kid’s performer, a book signing by some of the talent, etc. 

Give attendees something to brag about and make them want to come back to see what next year’s surprise will be. Just make sure the surprises aren’t too big, as you’ll need to match them each year ;)


Deliver an exceptional experience

This may sound like a no brainer, but it still has to be on the list. 

It’s the little things that can make a big difference to the experience at your event – the smell of the portaloos, the friendliness of the bar staff, the queues at the entrance...

Pay attention to the fine details and ensure that every volunteer is ready to deliver beyond expectations ...then watch the social media content flood out about your event and the visitors returning again and again!

The following image of these Dunnies with a Difference appears all over social media during events – this is from the Australian Camp Oven Festival in Millmerran, QLD. 


Create a community!

Create a sense of community where visitors attend your event as an annual reunion and gathering place.

You can do this by

  • having a focused approach to your marketing to attract a like-minded group

  • having camping onsite

  • having programming your event to include activities that bring people together and helping them to connect. 

Big Red Bash in Birdsville does this extremely well with caravanning and camping families making this an annual event for catching up and reconnecting with family and friends. 


If you can focus on creating loyal advocates for your event in 2019 you will save time and money on marketing your event and build a solid base for future sustainability. Good luck!

Reach out to us at rEVENTS Academy if you would like support in growing a more successful and sustainable event. Our training programs, coaching and consulting are focused on regional success and delivered by experts with over 20 years of events experience.

Cristy HoughtonComment