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Successful winter business activations

05 Oct 2017

Successful winter business activations Image

Local businesses have hailed winter events organised by the City of Melbourne as the best ever.

Friday night fireworks were dropped this July and August in favour of a three-night Firelight festival and a longer Winter Glow event.

City of Melbourne events manager Cherie Fraser told a Docklands Chamber of Commerce “debrief” on August 30 that three consecutive nights of Firelight had outperformed nine weeks of fireworks.

She said the fireworks attracted 10,000 people to Docklands on Friday nights last year, but Firelight brought 32,000 visitors.

“We’re aiming for more visitation and extended stays,” Ms Fraser said. “There’s now a bigger reason to stay longer.”

However, calculations of pedestrian traffic by Docklands News found there were a total of around 58,500 pedestrians in NewQuay at 7pm on fireworks nights and a total of 45,000 people at 7pm on Firelight nights, which indicates the nine-week fireworks attracted more people than the three-day festival.

But the City of Melbourne says it assesses festival performances based on visitors’ length of stay within the entire precinct.

A spokesperson said the peak firework crowds arrived and left within 15 minutes of the end of the fireworks, whereas attendees of Firelight Festival arrived from 5pm and stayed in Docklands until after the fireworks, with an average of four hours’ length of stay.

Vanessa Muggianu from Berth restaurant told the meeting Firelight was “the best-run event we’ve ever had in Docklands”.

“Even though it was just one event, it has given people a different idea of Docklands,” she said.

Ms Fraser said the council was encouraged by the results and intended to grow the event.

“Melburnians are really up for coming out in the middle of winter,” she said. “The City of Melbourne is 100 per cent committed to growing this.”

She said the council recognised Docklands was a “priority precinct” and an extra $500,000 marketing budget for Docklands would continue into the future.

Ms Fraser said the council was considering ways to combine Firelight and Glow next year.

“Why two festivals?” she asked. “We’re looking at a bigger model with one festival under a single banner.”

She committed to giving local businesses every opportunity to capitalise on the opportunity.

“We will avoid wholeheartedly bringing outside businesses into this if we can get the local businesses involved,” she said.

She said planning for next winter would begin early in the new year. She apologised to local businesses for short lead-times surrounding recent council-run events.

The meeting heard that Docklands Glow comprised four talks, six workshops and four dinners and was attended by 448 people. About half of the events sold out.

All of the businesses which replied to a post-event survey said they would participate again and 43 per cent said they noticed and increase in the number of customers.

Of the attendees, 24 per cent worked in Docklands and a further 14 per cent live here.

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