Bestival, one of the UK's leading music festivals has been using peer-to-peer marketing to reach new audiences, students in particular, for over three years. Since it started in 2004, Rob Da Bank's carefully curated festival on the Isle of Wight has grown from a mere 10,000 in attendance to now well over 50,000, and the festival's ambassador programme is a big part of the event, accounting for over 20% of total ticket sales.
In this article we look at how Bestival has tapped into the student market using peer-to-peer marketing, and now sells over 9000 student tickets through its ambassador programme each year.
Why peer-to-peer marketing can help you reach the student market
25% of students attended a music festival in 2014, that’s double the attendance of the general population according to a study by Eventbrite. Students are a key audience for music festivals and event organisers as they love to share experiences with their friends, but they are also a group of millennials that know exactly what they want, are quick to tune out marketing messages, and can be tricky to reach.
A hyper-connected bunch, when students aren't on-campus or socialising with their friends, they're messaging them on WhatsApp or Snapchat so they're almost always online and always connected with their peers. Students also trust the recommendations of their friends over mass marketing messages from big brands and festivals, and this is why peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing can work so well in reaching this festival audience.
How Bestival's peer-to-peer marketing works
In 2012, Rob da Bank, Bestival’s founder, wanted to expand the festival’s reach into the student market and joined forces with StreetTeam to build and manage its ambassador programme. This gets the festival’s most influential fans to promote the event and sell tickets to their friends in return for rewards such as free tickets, merchandise and VIP experiences.
This type of P2P marketing has proven to be hugely powerful among students and Bestival has increased student tickets sales by 15% since the launch of its ambassador programme with 9000+ student tickets sold through the programme in 2015.
“We’ve had mega success with our fans telling their friends how much they love Bestival, so big up to StreetTeam for growing our advocates year-on-year”
Rob da Bank, Founder, Bestival
How does Bestival reward its event ambassadors?
Bestival fans love experiential rewards and perks that money can't buy so the festival has developed its ambassador programme to give fans more of what they want and value. These include:
- Free tickets (one for every eight sold)
- Festival merchandise
- Drinks vouchers
- VIP access passes
- Speed boat ride to the festival for the top ambassadors
Bestival fans also love to feel that they are part of the festival, and a big reward for their loyalty each year is shaping and influencing the event. Every year, Rob Da Bank invites festival ambassadors to meet up and discuss what works and what doesn’t. He also invites them to pick the acts for the Temple Island stage and holds cocktail tasting sessions to choose which cocktails should be served at the festival.
Results achieved through Bestival's peer-to-peer marketing
Bestival now sells more than 20% of festival tickets through its ambassador programme, and has massively expanded its reach into the student market through peer-to-peer marketing.
After three years of working with StreetTeam, Bestival continues to reach new audiences each year through its ambassador network. This has helped them to grow the brand and the festival has now expanded internationally with the launch of Bestival Toronto in 2015.
To learn more about Bestival's peer-to-peer marketing success download the Bestival case study.