How to benefit from major events

How to benefit from major events

Sydney businesses show you 3 free and easy ways

Sydney is famous for its major events and festivals. Coming into winter, Vivid Sydney, Sydney Writers’ Festival and Sydney Film Festival will attract hundreds of thousands of people to our streets and venues. This presents a huge opportunity to local businesses, and not just for those who can offer a drink or meal to the hungry revellers.

These local businesses demonstrate why a major event can mean big business and how to leverage festivities simply, creatively and often for free.

1. Expand tenfold into a desired market, like Bonza Bike Tours

It sounds like a challenge from The Apprentice. You’re managing a bike hire company and locals account for only 2% of your market, with the rest international tourists. Vivid Sydney will soon fill up city streets. You have a budget of $0. So, how do you capture Sydney riders? Roll in the ‘Break-up bike’. 

Bonza Bike Tours manager Matthew Rose had a clever idea: “We had an old tandem bike out the back gathering dust. We got it back into working order and it shaped up to look very 1980s! We covered the bike in as many lights as we could and in honour of how horrible it is to ride tandem, christened it the ‘Break-up bike’.”

The dazzling 2-wheeler was set up at a Vivid Sydney event for passers-by to take photos. The bike was a hit. Out of the 100 Bonza Bike Tours brochures displayed alongside it, only 17 were left, and customers soon followed. 

“The month before Vivid we didn't have a single local hire a bike. In the very first week of Vivid, we had 10 Sydneysiders walk through the door, all telling us that they had no idea we existed until they saw our special tandem,” Matthew says.

Local hires surged to 1 in 10, from 1 in 50 or 1 in 100 previously.

“The overall feedback was great. We had reports of backpackers trying to fit as many people as they could on the bike. Others were having a laugh about new couples taking a photo together on the break-up bike. Some even thought it was a genuine Vivid exhibit!” 

2. Be a festival pro and get hundreds of social media shares, like Handpicked Wines

What’s a street festival like BEAMS or the Mardi Gras parade without a glass of wine? Chippendale-based Handpicked Wines get involved in as many events as possible, because events drive their business. 

“Since the opening of our Handpicked Cellar Door in November 2016, we have been involved in BEAMS Festival, Sydney Chinese New Year and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. 

BEAMS is right on our doorstep in Kensington Street and Sydney Chinese New Year allows us to tap into the City of Sydney’s excellent marketing support,” says Imogen Hayes, Marketing Manager of Handpicked Wines.

For Sydney Chinese New Year, Handpicked put on a ‘Pinor Noir and Chinese Duck Pancake’ package with neighbouring restaurant Holy Duck. They also released red packets with prizes for every order, including special Year of the Rooster recipe cards.

As a result, over 500 images were shared. This increased awareness of the business, and in turn, foot traffic and revenue. “We made sure to run this as a limited offer only, however we still get complaints that the pairing is not on the regular menu!” Hayes says. 

3. Get great branding in your local community, like Darlinghurst Dental

All it took was a sprinkling of fairy dust. Darlinghurst Dental had only been open for 6 months when one of the world’s best known Mardi Gras parades thundered through its local area. The savvy business owners jumped on the opportunity to get their brand out in the community, hiring a dancer from a local studio to dress up as the tooth fairy and entertain the crowds. Revellers on their way to the parade loved it.

At the following year’s parade, the business decided to ramp things up: “We upgraded to 3 dancers in fairy wings, who spread fairy dust and handed out stickers. With the road closures on the day, our street became a pedestrian square with street parties, so we were able to reach a lot of people,” says Dr Frank Farrelly, Principal Dentist and co-owner of Darlinghurst Dental.

“Patients gave positive feedback in the weeks afterwards. We were also still getting Instagram likes nearly 6 weeks later, and a few patients have noted that’s how they found us. Staff all reported they enjoyed the day too.

“Many LGBTIQ  people face barriers to healthcare. This is in part due to a reluctance to disclose personal information like hormonal treatments, HIV status and so on, as they may face discrimination. As a healthcare provider, it was important to Darlinghurst Dental to indicate that people of all genders and sexualities are welcome,” said Dr Farrelly.

Want to know more?

Check out our toolkit of free and simple ideas on how to leverage major events and festivals.

Last updated: Thursday, 20 April 2017