How-to Sell Food and Wine Festival Tickets

Sell Food and Wine Festival Tickets

Wondering how to sell food and wine festival tickets in a way that meets the expectations of your up-scale guests? You're not alone. There is much more to managing a Food & Wine festival than just renting a fancy tent. Here's how to create an experience that meets the expectations of your guest through tiered ticket types.

Tiered Ticket Types

Food & Wine festivals operate at the higher end of the event market and typically cater to a demographic that enjoy finer things. As such, being responsible for producing and managing a food and wine festival means a high-end experience at each and every step - starting with the ticket purchase process.

You may have the very finest accoutrements already planned (fancy tents, premium catering, well dressed wait staff, etc.) so make sure the first impression (buying tickets) matches everything else.
For example, the upcoming Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania gets it “just right” when it comes to tiered ticketing types that match an elegant event.
One of the festival’s event planners, Melissa Starace, had the target demographic in mind when she was quoted as saying:

We want to make the Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival into a destination weekend people attend year after year. Last year's sell-out festival attracted more than 3,000 visitors during its two-day run [at average of $450 per person] and this year is expected to sell out again.

In the past, the event has routinely brought in several hundred thousands dollars in ticket sales and for good reason. The presentation made to the ticket buyer is divided into multiple choices that can be mixed and matched.

The Lehigh Valley festival begins by segmenting the experience in levels commitment. In the afternoon there is spirit and cigar pairings which can be purchased separately as a stand alone ticket. The progressively higher ticket tiers offer more to the buyer, require more time to attend, and have escalating prices.

All too often, Food & Wine events do not create enough segmentation in the tickets and may miss out on lucrative VIPs who are wanting a more tailored experience. Having your guests busy schedules in mind means offering discrete events, with separate ticketing, queued-up in chronological order. Of course there should a be a single-mouse-click “everything included” ticket option, but always allow the buyer to pick and choose, with one exception...

Note that the Lehigh Valley event uses an up-sell tactic borrowed from the concert ticket industry. The "champagne tasting" special event is only offered up for selection after one purchases tickets to the larger 'Grand Tasting' event. A VIP event within a VIP event, if you will. Clever and sophisticated, this type of linking has performed very well for the premium music concert industry (Like when Beyonce offered a $4,500 designer dress to ticket buyers after they purchased top tier backstage passes).

Lucrative Pre-Sales

Festival Food

While borrowing a page from the concert ticketing playbook, event managers for upscale Food & Wine festivals should also consider having a pre-sale. Pre-sales are a very common practice for music concerts and serve the dual purpose of sales and marketing.

Ticket pre-sales for food and festivals may be less common, but certainly not unheard of. In fact the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) will be offering a ticket pre-sale months in advance of it scheduled date in October.

Tickets for the NYCWFF event are $175 per person, but those eligible for access to the pre-sale receive both a discounted price and other extras not available to the general public. NYCWFF is a large enough event to have Mastercard as a promotional partner, but smaller scale food and wine festivals can still have ticket pre-sales. Should, for example, your festival have a premium sponsor underwriting the costs, you can allow that sponsor to establish the conditions for access to the pre-sale.

The event sponsor will most likely have their own internal customer mailing list, possibly divided by past purchase amounts. That sequestered top percentage of customers can be sent a mass mailing with the access code needed to buy tickets during the pre-sale. The result is ticket sales revenue coming in sooner, as well as faster, than without the pre-sale. Pre-sales have the secondary function of marketing and creating so-called "buzz" for your festival. Anticipation is a major factor in the timeline of any ticket event, as noted by countdown clock on the New York City Wine & Food Festival website.

TIP: Paid Advertising On Ticket

Ticket pre-sales are one way of generating extra revenue and another is selling advertising on the physical tickets. The premium nature of food and wine festivals dictates what advertising should appear on the tickets (contextually in-line with the event type). A high-end luxury wine shop would be very interested in having its name put politely in front of your guests. It is a mater of a simple phone call to establish a B2B agreement, with or without the wine shop actually be in attendance at your event.

Sell Food And Wine Festival Tickets With ThunderTix

One of the features of the ThunderTix plan for food and wine festivals is the ability to sell advertising on the ticket. An option you may configure in such a way that it best suits your ticket buyers' discriminating tastes. Know that we never place ads of our own on your tickets nor do we charge you or your customers per-ticket fees (tres gauche!).

Our experience in concert ticketing extends itself to you and any lucrative pre-sale events you wish to offer. Our technology lets you create segmented ticket tiers with options for up-sells and VIP ticket packages. We pride ourselves on providing the tools to help you tailor the ticket purchase process to match the rest of your high end event.

If your food and wine festival is in need of ticketing software capable of multiple ticket types, each at different pricing tiers, or you want the ability to run pre-sales and sell advertising on the tickets, please take a look at our other features and sign up for a free trial today!