How-to: Festival Food Event as a Ticket Upsell

add a food event as a ticket upsell

Food has always been a part of any outdoor festival. But a new trend is developing that makes events like cook-offs a special ticket purchase that is not included with general admission. So successful are the cooking competitions, they have their own "governing body" which performs much of the organizational heavy lifting - instead of the festival operator. This edition of 'The Business of Fun' takes a quick look at this emerging trend and how to add a festival food event as a ticket upsell.

As defined by Wikipedia, upselling is:

A sales technique whereby a seller  induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale. Upselling usually involves marketing more profitable services or products but can also be simply exposing the customer to other options that were perhaps not considered previously. Upselling implies selling something that is more profitable or otherwise preferable for the seller instead of, or in addition to,the original sale.

...and boy are they ever upselling at the Magnolia Blossom Festival in Arkansas. To be exact, the formal name of the event is The 25th Annual Magnolia Blossom Festival & World Championship Steak Cook-Off. Note that the festival's marquee food event is given equal billing. Yet the prominence of the festival's food event doesn't end with its name. The steak cook-off is a premium ticket upsell that is sold separately from the festival's general admission.

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Ancillary events inside big outdoor events are not new, but the way in which the Magnolia Blossom markets, sells tickets to, and runs the the steak cook-off is of note.

The festival has long been one of the signature events at Logoly State Park in Blossum Arkansas, enjoyed by families for the past quarter century. It features all the fun and activities one would expect, and there is even a "canine fun show." There are music concerts, of course, as well as lesser food events ("Steak Your Claim!") all included with the price of admission - except the steak cook-off competition.

The World Championship Steak Cook-Off is an event sanctioned by the World Food Championship (WFC) which functions much in the same way the NFL governs professional football. As such, the WFC is responsible for many of the organizational tasks required to produce the competitions at fairs and festivals nationwide. From the WFC website:

The 2012 World Food Championships categories featured classic American cuisine: bbq, chili, burgers, sandwiches, side dishes, a recipe championship featuring winners of online recipe contests, and the World Chef Challenge open to some of the best chefs in America’s greatest food cities.

The festival operator can scheduled a WFC food event much in the same way they schedule a musical act to perform. This allows the operator to simply pay an appearance fee, then sell specially priced tickets in order to recuperate the cost. The savings in both time and money by off-loading a marquee food event to a third party can be substantial. Once an agreement has been made with the WFC, the festival operator can merely market the cook-off as a special ticket upsell during the general admission purchase process.

On the Magnolia Blossom Festival website, the steak cook-off has its own dedicated section, replete with steak themed graphics, calls to action and a higher ticket price.

Offering a Food Event as a Ticket Upsell Begins with the ticketing software

While the WFC is the premiere governing body for cooking competitions, there are others. Many focus on a single type of food while others specialize in bringing "rock star" chefs to your festival for head-to-head competitions like TV celebrity chef Tony Bourdain's 'Good vs. Evil' tour. The type of the food event you bring to your festival is up to you, but know that you need not spend the time organizing it yourself. However you will need to make it one of the most profitable special events at festival - that starts with the ticketing software.

The ThunderTix plan for festivals and outdoor events includes the ability to offer a food event as a ticket upsell. Not only can we can even help with premium upsell tickets, we help you keep ticket fraud at bay with sophisticated barcode ticket and handheld scanners.

The same way the WFC performs the food event heavy lifting, ThunderTix does the heavy lifting of selling tickets online for you.