The majority of events will have some element of spectator involvement, whether that’s a couple of parents who are there while their children participate or significant numbers of people.
For the very biggest events you may look to sell tickets for people to spectate but on a smaller level there may be other elements of ticketing that could be useful. For club functions, or social elements of an event (e.g. a party in the evening) then selling tickets will help to gauge the numbers of people who are planning to attend, which will help with catering numbers and managing capacity.
It’s important to make sure that spectators know what’s going on and what will be available at the event.
This includes details such as:
What time activities are taking place
Where is the best place to view the action from
What provision is available for spectators (e.g. car parking, refreshments, drinking water, toilets, etc.)
Do people need to bring cash to make purchases
Are there any additional activities that spectators can participate in
This information can be presented in a variety of ways from posters, to a website, or social media posts.
Providing the information will attract people to attend, encourage them to spend money and enable them to enjoy the event.
Depending on the type of event, there are different types of activities that could be offered for spectators.
It’s important to consider who you are trying to attract to the event and what they may be looking for. You may not get huge numbers of people who want to come just to watch the action but you may get more people if there is a wider event taking place around it that can entertain them for a broader day out.
For activities such as a club open day, there may be opportunities to offer additional off-the-water activities such as sports, face painting or a bouncy castle which may help to create a community feel and encourage people to attend. There may be a local community group who would love the opportunity to attend your event and run such activities.
For larger events such as a competition, as well as the off-the-water activity, there may be an opportunity to engage people with the sport alongside watching the action. You could run Go Paddling activities and offer Start Awards to engage people that come along.
As with any aspect of an event, it’s important to review the spectator provision after an event and to collect feedback as to what worked well and what didn’t. If the majority of spectators are friends and family of participants then this could be collected through any participant feedback, but if there is a wider community engagement then this may be anecdotal based on feedback received at the event, observations that people may have or a volunteer conducting a survey with spectators at the event. If the latter, make sure this is short and sharp.