It’s every event creator’s vision: put together an event plan so irresistible you sell zillions of tickets right off the bat. Unfortunately, that fantasy does not often play out in reality. A lot of events start with a slow burn, and they may or may not eventually reach critical mass.
For the event company Bar Crawl Unlimited, though, the dream came true when the event sold around 10,000 tickets to Margarita Crawls in just the first two months. To be fair, founder Adam Dobres knew what he was doing. He’s been organizing and promoting bar crawls for years, and he’s honed a formula that works.
Dobres’ formula for selling tons of tickets to every single event goes something like this.
Step 1: Organize an airtight experience
At the heart of every successful event is, of course, an awesome attendee experience. Bar crawls are common, but Bar Crawl Unlimited combined two essential elements to differentiate this one.
First, the theme: Margaritas, the United States’ most popular and irresistible drink. Second, the locations: A lot of bar crawl companies focus on the biggest cities. But Dobres and his team brought bar crawls to small, hip, up-and-coming cities like Knoxville, TN and Oshkosh, WI.
“We wanted to do a little bit of a different twist,” says Dobres. “Why not take the Margarita Crawl nationwide and hit all the little cities that no one ever hits?”
And it’s worked. He confirms: “I would say out of every bar crawl, 90 percent of people are happy.”
Step 2: Use a ticketing platform that does the heavy lifting for you
When he first started, Dobres says, “I attempted to sell tickets through my website without a ticketing technology, and it kind of got overwhelming.” With multiple events happening every week, he quickly realized he needed a professional ticketing platform to help handle the roughly 500 sales for each event.
Before adopting Eventbrite as that ticketing platform, Dobres recounts, attendees would show up at Margarita Crawls with a paper receipt in hand. Now, with Eventbrite’s ticketing technology, attendees flash barcodes on their phones, and they’re in.
Eventbrite handles ticket sales so that Dobres doesn’t have to manually manage the process. He simply sets up each new event in Eventbrite, and the rest is automatic.
Step 3: Find an easy way to answer attendee questions quickly
Communicating with attendees is a critical aspect of running events. At the very least, Dobres needed an easy way to send reminders about events before they happen. “When we did ticketing on our own,” he says, “we’d literally have to send a mass email to remind people about the event.” This was a huge time suck for an event creator managing multiple events every week.
Eventbrite has automated that function. Now, anyone who buys a ticket automatically gets a reminder from Eventbrite before the event. Eventbrite’s customer service is also available to answer ad hoc attendee questions, acting as a de facto customer service organization.
Perhaps most critically, when something goes wrong — prohibitive weather or a security incident — Eventbrite gives Dobres a way to contact attendees quickly to announce last-minute venue changes or schedule shifts.
Step 4: Sell tickets right on social media
Facebook is an ideal social platform for generating excitement about events like Margarita Crawl. One recent Chicago bar crawl had 63,000 people express interest in attending! And during events, attendees sharing photos and video of their experience help promote upcoming Margarita Crawls. It’s a virtuous cycle.
Selling tickets right on Facebook just makes sense, and Eventbrite’s Facebook integration has enabled this for Margarita Crawl. When a potential bar crawler expresses interest in an upcoming event, they can click and buy tickets right then and there.
“I would say half our ticket sales now are through Facebook,” Dobres confirms. And with a brand new Instagram account, he’s planning to incorporate Eventbrite’s Instagram integration too.
Step 5: Simplify any unavoidable chargebacks
No matter how incredible your event, occasional chargebacks are unavoidable. That’s when cardholders ask their bank for a refund on an event. You can’t make everyone happy all the time, but managing chargebacks can be a huge administrative hassle for event creators — and they cost events money in chargeback fees.
When it comes to chargebacks, Eventbrite handles bank communication and absorbs chargeback fees. This came as a huge relief to Dobres, who no longer deals with chargebacks at all.
Use your momentum to grow even bigger
The success of Margarita Crawl has been tremendous, but Dobres has bigger things in mind. ““I want to be a million dollar business by next year,” he says. “Our goal is 300 cities.” Eventually, he hopes to build that number to 400 or more, and establish bigger margarita festivals as well.
The right event ticketing partner has been instrumental in Margarita Crawl’s velocity. To read more about the event’s success strategy — and how it might translate to your own — read How Eventbrite Is Helping Bar Crawl Unlimited Bring Margaritas to the Masses.