How to Create and Market a Successful Ticketed Event
November 21, 2019
Ways to market and sell tickets to dinners, tastings and more through your restaurant website this holiday season
The holidays are a busy time for restaurants, and while there are many ways to capitalize on the season, none are better for business than hosting ticketed events and classes. Guests are looking for ways to spend time with their friends and family as well as looking for unique gift opportunities. Your space can entertain and in more ways than just the usual service you offer. For example, host a chef’s tasting dinner. Hold holiday baking classes, knifework or even wine tasting classes. Sell tickets to watch the big football games around Thanksgiving. It’s the season to get creative with your ticketed events. Here are a few ways to create and market a successful event, directly through your restaurant website.
Plan Your Event
What about your space—or service that you offer—is unique? These characteristics can inform what types of ticketed events you can offer to your guests. Do you have a masterful bartender who is interested in teaching classes on how to make cocktails? Would your guests be interested in learning how to make classic Thanksgiving desserts from your head baker? What about the restaurant’s sommelier teaching a class on French wines? These are great examples of events and classes you can offer your guests and sell tickets to.
Pick When and Where
Say you want to hold bread-making classes similar to Liv Breads in New Jersey. Find an area in your restaurant that can fit the number of tickets you sell. It’s also important to plan the event around a time that works best for you. Is that before service or a day that you are closed? Ensure it isn’t disruptive. However, keep in mind that if you do host an event during service, it could create intrigue for guests who are dining with you. Do what works best for you and your staff.
Manage Event Details
Once you’ve decided what type of ticketed event you’d like to hold, it’s time to consider how you can best market it so that your guests find out about it and purchase tickets. Start with your restaurant website and create an event with an option to sell tickets. By offering the ability to purchase a ticket directly from your website, you can control the entire process, including announcements, oversee the transaction and have pertinent event information all in one place.
Create a Marketing Strategy
Create an event on your Website
After you’ve planned your event, it’s time to build out an event page on your website. Make the event title catchy but still informative. Be detailed about who or what will be offered the day of the event—particularly the time and place. Think about the season and be aware of cultural trends. In your marketing strategy, the angle you choose can be geared toward this. Consider if the event could serve as a great gift, then tailor your marketing message as such. Below is a great example from Corkbuzz, a wine bar, that holds wine classes each month.
An example of a wine class offered by Corkbuzz.
When it comes to selling tickets, the BentoBox backend dashboard makes it easy to create and manage an event without the use of a third-party. You keep the revenue, ensure a secure and smooth checkout process and streamline the event details by having all of the pertinent information in one place—including key guest details. With BentoBox, you can easily control the event details like purchase limits, blackout dates and promo codes to create urgency. Plus, you can mark when an event has sold-out on your website.
There are many ways to bring attention to an event through your restaurant’s website. One way is to create an overlay alert with a call-to-action to view the event page and purchase tickets. When guests visit your site, it’ll be the first thing they see before navigating to your homepage. This is easily created with the BentoBox backend dashboard. Below is a great example of how West~bourne uses a powerful overlay alert to get guests interested in private holiday events.
An example of an overlay alert on the homepage of a restaurant website.
Social Media Blitz
While guests are coming to your site to learn more about your business and ticketed events, nothing beats social media platforms for spreading the message about your upcoming classes or events. Try Facebook or Instagram Stories (don’t forget to add social media icon links on your website also) to promote your events. Get creative with it. Use catchy language and imagery to get peoples’ attention. The holidays are a great time to host and market events as a holiday gift or bonding experience.
An Instagram post by Corkbuzz promoting their class schedule.
While your website and social media platforms are great tools for getting the message out, don’t forget about the guests who are coming in and out of your brick & mortar. Create a flyer or check presenter advertising your ticketed event. For example, you could drop it off when you deliver the bill to your guests. Keep a few by the host stand or the registers. Another powerful way to reach beyond the brick & mortar is by placing ticketed event details in to-go orders, especially if your operation does a lot of online orders for delivery or pick-up.
A great way to sell tickets to events—and gift cards as well—is to offer promo codes. This creates urgency for guests to purchase tickets. For example, you can create the promo code 25%OFF for a wine class and promote it through social media channels as well as overlay alerts on your website. To create urgency, offer and market it for 24 hours only.
Word of Mouth
Last but not least, market your ticketed event the old fashioned way—by word of mouth. Have your servers, bartenders, baristas and management communicate to your guests about what events or classes are coming up. Create a conversation around the holiday months about bonding with friends and family. Offer it as a great date idea. This is where being hospitable and conversational can help drive ticket sales
Hold Your Event
Now it’s time to execute. One of the major benefits of selling tickets through the BentoBox platform is the important guest information needed to successfully execute your event. Easily export guest lists to keep track of people as they arrive. Organization is key. Guests have tickets sent to their email inbox and can either print them or show them on their phones.
Afterward, be sure to ask your guests how it went and if they’d agree to provide any feedback. Once you’ve held your successful ticketed event, think about all other opportunities there are to offer your guests that build your brand and maintains customer loyalty.
If you’re interested in learning more about selling tickets to events or classes through your restaurant website, get in touch with us and sign up for a demo of our platform.
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