Sydney events: business opportunities

Sydney events: business opportunities

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What’s On is one of Sydney’s most trusted events platforms, with more than 2 million visits a year and over 37,000 subscribers to the weekly e-newsletter

What's On

Maximise your business opportunities

Sydney is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and a must-visit destination for millions of people each year. From the classic Sydney sights, shopping and dining to award-winning parks, cultural institutions, and learning and business opportunities, there are many reasons people visit Sydney.

Another great drawcard is the range of events held throughout the year, from world-renowned, big-ticket items to community festivals. With many of these events held in our local area, plenty of visitors enhance their experience by having a drink and a meal and exploring the area and its shops, benefiting local business owners.

Sydney event calendar

With so many great events in our city each year and a booming visitor economy, there’s plenty of opportunity to attract new customers and make their visit even more memorable.

Why take part?

It’s a great opportunity to introduce your business to a brand new audience. Sydney’s established annual events enjoy a large and loyal following.

Imagine who you could attract during Sydney Festival, Sydney Chinese New Year, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Vivid Sydney, Sydney Christmas and Sydney New Year’s Eve.

Local festivals are another great chance to reach new customers. Festivals in Newtown, Surry Hills and Paddington are just a few of the local events your business could benefit from.

Not in the heart of the action?

Don’t miss out if your business is outside the event location – get creative and tie into the theme.

For the Sydney Writers’ Festival, why not create a cocktail or dish in honour of your favourite writer or host book readings in your retail space?

You could team up with your local bookstore and cross promote your event.

Did you know?

Each weekday, 1.2 million people live, work, study, shop and visit our local area, with more than half of these day-trippers.

Our visitor and international student markets are booming, with numbers predicted to steadily increase.

How many people visit Sydney?

  • 50% of all international visitors to Australia
  • 44% of international business visitors to Australia

A total of 6.4 million visitors stayed overnight in our local area (June 2015–June 2016)

  • 2.3 million international visitors
  • 4.1 million domestic visitors

$8 billion is spent annually in our local area by overnight visitors.

International students

In 2016 nearly 500,000 international students came to Australia, with more than 30% visiting Sydney.

Between June 2015 and June 2016, international students each spent on average $19,570, compared to $5,265 by other international visitors.

Cruise ships

  • 2015/16 – 308 cruise ships docked in Sydney Harbour, bringing $1.67 billion to the local economy
  • 2016/17 – 336 cruise ships docked in Sydney Harbour bringing about 1.5 million passengers

Want to trade later?

If you’re keen to stay open later during an event, find out your options and make an appointment to see one of our duty planners.

Please note, duty planner appointments are only available at our Town Hall Customer Service Centre.

Mardi Gras parade participants in rainbow colours

Local businesses getting involved

Sydney Chinese New Year

Since 2007, Robin Gibson Gallery in Darlinghurst has taken part in the annual festival, now the biggest celebration outside of Asia.

Each year, staff at the gallery tailor a 4-week exhibition around the specific lunar new year zodiac animal. A simple yet effective way of getting involved.

Zensation Tea House in Redfern has been involved since 2009. It hosts Chinese tea tastings with matching food, calligraphy demonstrations and traditional musical performances.

Through offering an associated event as part of the festival, both of these businesses have increased their exposure, attracted new customers and converted many into return clients.

The benefits of being involved in the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival can include promoting your business through our marketing channels such as:

  • printed festival event program (50,000 copies)
  • our What’s On website (2 million page visits a year)
  • our What’s On weekly e-newsletter (37,000+ subscribers)
  • our social media channels (close to 500,000 followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney is a 23-day festival of light, music and ideas. The event transforms the harbour city into a colourful creative canvas.

Visitor numbers have increased year-on-year, with a record 2.3 million people attending in 2016, making it the largest event of its kind in the world.

How retailers attract visitors during the event

  • An ice cream retailer created a Vivid Sydney flavour and hosted a design-a-flavour competition, selling more ice cream during Vivid than over the summer holidays.
  • A clothing retailer installed an inexpensive lighting display in their window, increasing brand identity and sales.
  • A bike shop owner installed an exercise bike with a lighting effect that lit up more brightly the harder you rode. They capitalised on customer interest by handing out discount vouchers for the bike hire business.
  • Many bar operators created Vivid Sydney cocktails, meal deals and early-bird offers.

What to do next

Spread the word 

Here are some tips to promote your associated event.

  • Create a free event listing on our What's On website.
  • Create an event on your business Facebook page and communicate it across all your social media channels.
  • Check the event organisers' website for any collateral you can print and display in-store.
  • Find out if the event organiser has an e-newsletter, social media platform/s or webpage where you can list your event.
  • Let your customers know about your event at point-of-sale.
  • Consider a letterbox drop to alert locals of your event.

Stay in the know

Sign up to the City Business e-newsletter below and stay up-to-date on opportunities, events and business resources.

Request printed versions

If you would like us to send you a printed version of the brochure and/or calendar, please contact us:

02 9265 9333

Last updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2018