10 Ways to Expand Revenue Streams at Festivals

Large-scale events and festivals have taken a hit in recent years owing to the pandemic but now large gatherings are back, festivals are as popular as ever. Having a great POS system for ticket sales is one way you can ensure maximum attendance and revenue from your festival, but selling tickets alone may not be enough to bring in serious profit.

As the major music festivals demonstrate, making a real win with any large event requires creativity and a lot of opportunity-seizing. Whether that be offering VIP and last minute tickets at a premium price or selling retail items with the festival’s logo emblazoned, there are numerous opportunities for securing extra revenue at a festival.

Below, we’ll take you through 10 of the best ways to boost revenue as a festival organiser.

1. Sponsorship

The most important additional income source at a festival is sponsorship deals. In order to secure sponsorship for the event, you have to prove that it will be worthwhile for brands and companies to make the investment. That means ensuring that you offer an attractive and incentivising sponsorship package. This might include negotiating to have brands’ logos visible during headline acts or the company’s products available to buy on-site.

To get the optimal sponsorship deal – for you and for the brands you work with – think about finding sponsors that suit your event and appeal directly to your audience.

2. Tiered access and VIP tickets

Another great way to provide an extra revenue stream is to offer access to premium content and exclusive parts of the festival for an extra fee. At a basic level, this could be selling final release tickets following a surge in interest once there is limited availability and VIP tickets that can get attendees into restricted areas.

You could also consider selling extra tickets for meet and greets with performers or influencers, workshops and exhibitions. Naturally, any extra on-site events should fit the general theme of the festival. An art festival could offer ceramic masterclasses, for example.

3. Merchandise

Think t-shirts, tote bags, posters and mugs as a bare minimum. So that customers can have a convenient and positive checkout experience. You might also consider having QR codes to facilitate contact-free payments.

For selling retail items on-site and taking card payments, make sure you’ve got a comprehensive and easy-to-use retail point of sale system to make the payment process smoother. For extra income, you can also sell retail items and gift cards all year-round online. Plus, you can put them as add-on options at the checkout for people buying tickets.

4. Catering

Food places, especially food trucks and street food establishments, will be more than eager to provide catering options to festival goers. You can charge these companies a fee in exchange for letting them set up on-site and access crowds of potential customers, or you can sometimes negotiate to take a percentage of their profits.

To keep queues to a minimum and for an optimally smooth experience, you can encourage food vendors to use QR codes for customer ordering and payment.

5. Subscriptions

Offering subscription packages is another way you can expand your festival revenue streams. Subscribers could have access to exclusive content both online and at the festival, including interviews with performers, talks and live sessions. Offering discounts on merchandise and event tickets to subscribers could make it an attractive option to attendees as well.

6. Advertising

Another key source of revenue for festival organisers is advertising. This could be through your online site by allowing Google ads to be displayed. You can also place ads in your email newsletters and even on virtual tickets.

Offline advertising options include physical flyers and freebies in goodie bags for VIP ticket holders. Carefully plan the level of exposure advertisers and sponsors get, as this could leave one or the other feeling a little indignant and less likely to work with you in the future. Make the conditions clear.

7. Car parks

With many festival attendees driving to the event, car parks are a great source of additional revenue. You can charge a standard fee for leaving a vehicle in a designated car park, plus higher fees for privileged parking at a more convenient distance to the main site. You may also want to give guests the option of purchasing a parking pass as an add-on while buying their tickets.

8. Cloakroom

People often arrive with more coats, rucksacks and baggage than they can carry on their person at a festival, and they may be wary of leaving belongings unattended in their tent or car. This presents a great opportunity for an alternative revenue stream via cloakrooms. Consider charging a fee to hold guests’ bags and jackets for the evening, day or whole weekend.

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9. On-the-day ticket sales

Cater to those that didn’t get round to buying their tickets in advance by selling them at the door or on online platforms the same day as the event. If your event is very popular and you’re guaranteed last-minute sales, you can opt to sell these tickets at a higher price. In fact, you may want to reserve some tickets expressly for this purpose. If you’re far from sold out, however, you may want to reduce the ticket prices to encourage same-day sales.

10. Insurance

Finally, thanks again to the Covid-19 pandemic, more people than ever invest in travel insurance and insurance that will cover the cost of tickets for cancelled events. As an event organiser, you may be able to negotiate with insurance companies and receive a commission on insurance premiums they collect from ticket buyers you send their way.

For small and large festivals alike, incorporating some of these additional revenue streams offers up a whole lot of opportunity for greater profit yields and, as a result, you can see your festival grow to a major annual event.

And don’t worry about having more to juggle, as at Square we have a number of solutions to ensure your festival runs as smoothly as possible.

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