Three C's to maximizing Balloon Fiesta ROI


According to the 2012 Garrity Perception Survey, New Mexico residents identified one even as their favorite and most popular: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Whether the questions were unassisted (open-ended) or assisted (asked specifically about the Balloon Fiesta), New Mexico residents consistently favored the Balloon Fiesta as their favorite event/festival. 

New Mexico residents, in unassisted responses, identified the Balloon Fiesta as their favorite (39 percent) and most popular (63 percent) event. In assisted responses, the Balloon Fiesta had a 97 percent favorability among residents.

Combine the high favorability and popularity with an estimated $90 million annual economic impact and more than 737,400 visits to Balloon Fiesta Park, it is easy to see why so many companies want to be associated with the Balloon Fiesta as an event sponsor.

The Balloon Fiesta has a halo effect that is like none other in the Land of Enchantment.

In addition to official sponsors, a number of hotels and attractions find unique ways to connect with the event.  Here are two examples:
- This year, tourism officials in Carlsbad, New Mexico (a five hour drive from Albuquerque) are building awareness at the event in an effort to capture Balloon Fiesta visitors who want to explore the state.
- Several years ago, a hotel in Albuquerque’s Old Town (about six miles south of Balloon Fiesta Park) boasted, through an online news release, that their property was a two minute drive from the event… a stretch regardless of what time you are driving in Albuquerque. 

How do organizations leverage the Balloon Fiesta’s halo effect long after the hot air balloons land, deflate and are packed away?  Let me offer these three “C”s: Connection, Correlation and Consistency.

Connection – The typical Balloon Fiesta visitor spends 4.5 days in the Albuquerque area and 1.5 days traveling the state.  When they stop at your establishment, how are you capturing their visit?  Connect with the visitor through a QR code discount, engagement through social media (FaceBook Places and Four Square) or have a fun Balloon display available for pictures.  Give them a reason to connect!

Correlation – Now that you are connected, be a thought leader on Balloon Fiesta by reposting pictures and articles of the event through social media or via an email newsletter.  Engage your customers with simple questions like: “What was your favorite balloon at this year’s Balloon Fiesta?”, What else did you do while in Albuquerque? What is your favorite part about New Mexico?  Be a thought leader for their memories by reminding them about how special their time was at the Balloon Fiesta.  Leverage the halo effect and introduce them to your non-Balloon Fiesta product/offering.

Consistency – It is not a one and done mentality.  Be consistent in your communication and relevant in your connection with your customer.

Earlier this year, while on business travel, I had the chance to visit Jazz Fest in New Orleans.  While I am not sure I’ll be back for a future Jazz Fest (I had a great time); I will be back to New Orleans.  I still get emails from an establishment that first thanked me for visiting during Jazz Fest then continued their dialog discussing things like music and cuisine.  What do you think I am going to talk about when asked for a restaurant or hotel recommendation in the Big Easy?  Right!

The Balloon Fiesta offers a great opportunity for all businesses to connect directly with many consumers.  Make this year memorable for your visitors and not just a bunch of hot air.

The Fine Print:

The 2012 Garrity Perception Survey was commissioned by The Garrity Group and conducted by a third party, Research & Polling Incorporated.

The Garrity Group has been involved with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta since 1997 and currently handles media and public relations for the event.  The firm does not handle or solicit sponsorships for the annual event.