The Challenges of Buying for Short-Term Events: The Experience!

In this final post on the challenges of purchasing for temporary sporting events and festivals, Daniel Ball of Wax Digital looks at purchasing and its impact on the whole event experience and offers advice on how to ensure that procurement is done with this in mind.

With the summer now slowly drawing to a close, the UK has once again been host to all kinds of events up and down the country. Whether you’re into cars, food, music or sport, there has been an event that will appeal to you. Organisers of these events are now likely to be reflecting on their hectic summers and mulling over what went well, perhaps not so well and what could be done better or differently next time to ensure the event’s continued and future success.

Visitors attending events to indulge their passions, whatever they may be, go with the ultimate goal of having a great day out or weekend away. And, the one thing they are guaranteed to remember for years to come is their overall event experience.

With UK festivals now a multi-million pound industry, one of the biggest challenges for festival organisers is to provide a great experience for customers through every touch point. This in turn will help assist in improving tickets sales, gaining stand out from the competition and encouraging visitors to return the following year.

Procurement can have a direct effect on the event experience a customer has. If operational costs are kept low, for example, there may be more money available to attract a big name artist to your event or more attractive side shows to keep your audience entertained. For many event organisers, procurement has more to do with experience than it does with best value. Employing professional procurement expertise throughout the planning and delivery of the event, however, can ensure that this experience doesn’t come at a cost.

Fireworks, lasers and lightshows and even confetti canons are all examples of attractions that can add to the overall experience for visitors. Keeping procurement involved at this level can ensure that costs and quality are kept in check, and that these special effects deliver as required to add to the experience.

Given the high ticket price of many events, festival audiences and event visitors often attend with certain expectations in mind. Imagine arriving at Wimbledon only to be told that it’s run out of strawberries; how disappointed would you be if the headliner at Glastonbury storms off mid set as the sound system fails; or your memories of this year’s Reading festival are tainted by a serious bout of food poisoning you encountered following a dodgy hotdog you ate at the event. These are of course imaginary scenarios, but the impact on the event experience for the attendee could be disastrous, and put them off from returning the following year or encouraging their friends to book tickets too.

So how can procurement help deliver on experience?

  • It’s important to have a full understanding of the experience your customer wants. Speak to them and find out what they like and don’t like. Then measure or vet your suppliers with this in mind.
  • It’s not uncommon for festival organisers to stick with suppliers they know and who they’ve always used. If certain suppliers didn’t deliver as promised however, retender for the goods and services that didn’t meet the mark.
  • Consider setting suppliers’ KPIs based on experience. Having a measurement tool helps to clarify communication and objectives.

Procurement teams need to be intrinsically linked with the customer experience to ensure what is bought delivers on what customers want to buy on the day. Meeting or hopefully exceeding customer expectations can help ensure that visitors will return year after year.

 

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