Dutch company G3 Festivals in September officially launched an exclusive lodging service in the U.S. at the EDM festival TomorrowWorld, Atlanta. The luxury tents have hardwood decks, wooden camp beds, fluffy pillows, a table and chairs as well as lighting and a cubby for valuables. Located next to a 24-hour reception, bar and restaurant, lounge and wellness spa, the lodges complete what the company calls “a hip, four-star hotel and nightlife experience for guests.” Golly.
Premium lodging and VIP packages aren’t a new phenomenon across the festival landscape. But this year, the subject sure has received its fair share of critical attention, nabbing such headlines as Rolling Stone’s “Why VIP Packages Are Ruining Rock Festivals” and The New York Times” “At Burning Man, The Tech Elite One-Up One Another.” That debate aside, we don’t think VIPs should have all the fun, or all the best amenities. There are plenty of opportunities to take cues from behind the velvet ropes to touch even more fans and elevate the general admission experience on-site with a little brand love.
Here, we take a look at the luxury festival landscape and offer our spin on three ideas worth stealing (above and beyond what we consider the top most sponsor-able offering for attendees—clean restrooms.) Read on:
1. Inspiration: Austin City Limits, VIP & Platinum Pass
Ah, the VIP Grove, sponsored by H-E-B. Ticketholders to this area have access to gourmet happy hours, air-conditioned bathrooms and high-definition live feeds of the four main stages. The platinum pass offers access to artist areas, stage viewing and transportation.
Idea worth stealing: Meet-and-greets are designed to engage an exclusive group of fans at a festival, but that doesn’t mean your brand can’t give fans meaningful access, too. Take a line from Citi’s playbook with its sponsorship of the Rolling Stones’ 50 & Counting tour, where through the concert app, attendees could see never-before-seen footage of the artists (think backstage Vines or artist chatter behind the scenes at a festival) and push song nominations to the brand in real-time during concerts.
2. Inspiration: Coachella’s Safari Tent On-Site Lodging
This package includes private check-in, fully furnished safari tents with air conditioning, restrooms and showers, golf cart shuttles, onsite concierge, late night snacks, security and games.
Idea worth stealing: A goody bag filled with amenities doesn’t have to be reserved for just the VIP crowd. Team up with a partner to distribute camping survival kits to the first 1,000 attendees on-site. Encourage fans to follow your brand for the chance to be selected for a sweet on-site upgrade: a late night cheese pizza delivery, perhaps? A digital strategy that might work well here: Heineken’s use of Snapchat at this year’s Coachella that sent followers exclusive teasers about when artists were performing and where.
3. Inspiration: Electric Forest’s The Good Life-Sponsored Hospitality Village
Seeking a community? This multi-genre festival’s VIP retreats offer just that with premium lodging options set up by neighborhood, each offering a slightly different atmosphere. All guests, however, can congregate in the village’s private restaurant and lounge.
Idea worth stealing: Promote community-style networking among mainstream attendees with Tweetups. In the lead up to the event, promote hashtags specific to each artist and get fans of those artists together for a chill session on-site. Perhaps, you send out invites to fans with the largest followings. Encourage amplification among these influencers with a social tie-in: cocktails in exchange for a tweet or a photo activation experience with a killer view of the festival crowds.