Topping an attendance of 180,000, Belgium’s Tomorrowland is a leader of the pack in another new festival trend! When the first edition of Tomorrowland was held in 2005, the organization had to give away a lot of free tickets just to make the festival more crowded. Today, Tomorrowland’s popularity has exploded with attendance topping 400,000 this year. The popularity of this festival is overwhelming. Additionally, increased demand has led to the festival setting up their own YouTube channel, so people who are unable to attend can still enjoy the music from the comfort of their own home.
This festival falls somewhere in July and the tickets sell out online in minutes, on their own terms, without advertising. It was voted ‘Best Global Festival’ two years in a row and Tomorrowworld, a recently born sister-event in Atlanta, serves as the ultimate evidence of its international appeal. Tomorrowland is a prayer answered for millennial choosing to spend their extra cash on experiences instead of goods.
THE WOW! FACTORS
What sets them apart? What makes them trendsetters? What makes them magical? What makes them the ‘Boss’ in the festival market?
Music is a sideshow to the luxury travel experience offered at Tomorrowland. It includes anything and everything a consumer would want for – right from snacking on organic granola, resting in a luxury cabana, relaxing in a Jacuzzi, or taking a cross fit gym class – you name it and they have it! It is beyond a festival. It is a music festival combined with a theme park combined with a food festival combined with a cultural event. If you imagine grandeur and fantasy and then add 10 times more to that imagination – you get Tomorrowland! Let us look at some of the ‘WOW’ factors of this event:
#1. Tomorrowland Bracelet & ‘Pearl’
Your Bracelet is your entry pass to the festival and ‘Pearls’ is the currency of Tomorrowland.
Since it’s a cashless festival you have to top up your bracelet with pearls at the main food counter and these pearls can be used to purchase anything. Your Tomorrowland bracelet is also the only way you buy anything on site. So if you want to buy food, water, merchandise or anything at all, you have to refill pearls or tokens in your bracelet for a certain amount and these pearls are then used to purchase anything you want. On the last day, you can also get a refund for the pearls you don’t spend.
#2. Tomorrowland App
Available two weeks before the festival on Android and iPhone, this beautifully designed app allows you to scroll through timetables, maps, FAQs, and even place your tent on a map of DreamVille should you find yourself lost when stumbling home late at night.
Also, you can check out all the artists and favorite the ones you like so you will be notified a bit before they’re on stage. Furthermore, you can tune in to Tomorrowland Radio too!
#3. Tomorrowland DreamVille
Guests lucky enough to get tickets to Tomorrowland can pay to stay in DreamVille, a themed village on the festival grounds. Sleeping arrangements range from a regular tent to a private cabana with a sauna and 24-hour reception for more than $2000 for the weekend. DreamVille also features its own bakery, laundry bar, hair salon and workout facility!
The luxury accommodations mark a notable shift from the hippie counterculture 50 years ago. Local hotels get the opportunity to become ‘theme hotels’ which is a package offered by the festival. Tomorrowland transforms local hotels using the theme and offers stays as an alternative to camping. This brings in considerable business to the town.
The staff of Tomorrowland is incredibly efficient when it comes to keeping the festival grounds clean. Every night there is so much trash generated that it is difficult to distinguish where the trash ends and where the grass/concrete begins. However, the next day, the place looks flawless, clean and ready to go. You can rent portable phone chargers for a small price, the washrooms are clean and the lines aren’t crazy.
#4. Tomorrowland Food
‘Lots of people are coming only once to Tomorrowland, and we want to give them once-in-a-lifetime experience,’ spokesperson Debby Wilmsen said.
Dining at Tomorrowland also reflects changing appetites from the early days of live music events. More than 120 food stands feature meals ranging from an organic salad from a local farm to authentic Belgian chocolate is served. VIP guests can even opt for a multi-course menu from a world-class chef at a restaurant overlooking the main stage.
You will be completely stumped to see the kind of variety of food that is available. They have stalls serving salads, fruits, noodles, kebabs, falafels, pizza, truffle pasta, chocolates, falafel rolls, Belgian fries, truffle pizza and strawberries with Nutella and coffee! The stalls are well planned based on the kind of international crowd that arrives. If you’re in the mood for something fancy and expensive, they also have fine dining sit-down restaurants.
#5. Stages & Artists
If you’ve ever imagined a wonderland, this is what it would look like. Tomorrowland features 16 stages and more than 1,000 artists. The Main-stage is set at the foot of a small round hilly structure. With every passing year, this stage changes its name, theme, and voice.
Oh Yes – these stages actually speak – ‘Welcome to the Kingdom of Melodia’. Floating stages on water, a giant Ferris wheel, massive mushrooms and talking flowers, fictional heads that speak and look at you, an underground cave, secret setups, a dancing island and a lot more that can’t be put into words. You might just want to hug and kiss the amazing stage designers for the unbelievable landscape that they create.
Everything about this place will actually make you imagine and feel that you are a part of a magical world. The other stages like Rave Cave, Smash the House, Opera House and many more, are equally fascinating. Fire, smoke and confetti are blasted out from the stage, settling on the artistically created ‘valley’. There is something in it for everybody. When you think about how far this music festival has come over the years with a whole city embracing an entire production like this, it’s just amazing!
#6. Advertisement & Partnership
SMO or Social Media Optimization is the game changer in this music festival. Social media is an extremely easy and cheap way to market any brand and is accessible to basically anyone. Tomorrowland uses social media as their primary marketing medium. ‘We do not make television or radio adverts, we don’t print posters, we only use social media – so that we can have direct contact with our fans,’ Debby Wilmsen said.
Look at these figures which speak of the success of this event:
2005 – 10,000 attendees
2013 – 140,000 attendees
2015 – 400,000 attendees
It is obvious that creating stunning visuals is a strong point of the Tomorrowland marketing team. Their videos on Youtube are shared on Twitter and Facebook to bring fans on one common platform. The number of likes, shares, and retweets is HUGE.
Tomorrowland has a stunning figure of 4.8m followers on Instagram – because they excel at creating native content for Instagram – artsy photos, punchy text, and correctly-used hashtags.
In addition to utilizing social media to its fullest degree, partnerships are also a huge part of advertising for music festivals. Common partnerships are made with companies like Red Bull, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Pandora, Sirius XM, Coke, and more. These partners hold their own ad campaigns and host VIP lounges – where they give out samples, play games, and interact with attendees. These partnerships end up being fruitful for both partners.
Also, companies linked with the event such as Brussels Airlines, join up with Tomorrowland to provide flights to and from the festival.
Now, Let us take a look at some of the techniques Tomorrowland skilfully applies to deliver the best festival in the world and how your organization can learn from it:
THE BRAND EXPERIENCE OF TOMORROWLAND
#1. CUSTOMER JOURNEY:
Tomorrowland really provides an end-to-end journey. The organizers start the journey months before the event and the experience ends with an official after-video to trigger everyone to be at the next event.
Tomorrowland elaborates a whole content plan about the event and everything around the event. It even goes one step further by letting visitors do the storytelling as well, encouraging them to share the content on social media.
#3. COMMUNITY BUILDING:
Tomorrowland doesn’t just build customers; it builds loyal fans – The people of Tomorrow.
#4. COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT:
Communication is focused on social media, particularly on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram.
#5. TOTAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE:
Tomorrowland creates a magical customer experience. It focuses on an overall feeling and adds emotions to every possible interaction to create a fabulous experience for all of the senses.
Both before and during the event, many innovative products and services are available, such as the treasure case or music box with a bracelet and the cashless festival where you pay with virtual Pearls.
Tomorrowland thinks about the smallest details so you always stay in the fairytale.
The number of tickets is limited. And they are sold online only. First come, first served!
#9. SPECIAL PR TECHNIQUE:
Tomorrowland doesn’t create a great deal of communication. It doesn’t reveal everything at once, which gives the event multiple media opportunities. Every press release arrives with speculation and buzz.
#10. YESTERDAY IS HISTORY – TODAY IS A GIFT – TOMORROW IS A MYSTERY:
Let’s translate this into: Loyalty – Experience – Surprise and Delight
What does all this boil down to? Every single component of the festival has been thoroughly thought through, prepared, and executed with excellence.
Let’s all agree that we are living in the age where a consumer is a king. The only source of competitive advantage that can survive today is the one that can survive technology fuelled disruption – an obsession with understanding, delighting, connecting and serving customers. The ultimate goal is Emotional Customer Engagement. That is what will set apart the future market leaders from those who come second. Customer engagement is a result of delivering the great experience to the customer in terms of experiences – experiences that are deliberate, emotional and consistent.
If you want to plan an event and are interested in finding out more about to deliver great customer experience, let’s talk!