Marketing the Bournemouth Air Festival

Since its inception in 2008, the Bournemouth Air Festival has entertained more than 8.5 million people. At this year’s festival an estimated 450,000 people attended, with more than 1,000 boats offshore watching air displays, including the Red Arrows and the Twister Duo pyrotechnic planes.

The festival is estimated to generate £25m - £35m for the local economy, providing opportunities for accommodation providers, attractions, restaurants and bars. Plus, offering direct marketing opportunities within programmes, trading, and exhibiting.

At a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) event on Tuesday 17 October, the man behind the UK’s biggest Air Festival Jon Weaver, Head of Resort Marketing and Events at Bournemouth Council, will explain how his team first came up with the idea and the unique challenges they have encountered and surmounted over the last decade.

Jon explains; “The preparations for the event are all year round. We have a core team of 20 who are involved in logistics and marketing at any one time, but this is not full-time, we all have other responsibilities too, overall the management of the event accounts for about  18% of our time.  Plus, of course during the four-day festival we have additional support from the Seafront Ops team, Emergency Services, Parks team, Contracted Security and Stewards”.

The Air Festival platform provides marketing engagement and activation opportunities for a large number of local traders and well-known brands, as well as an economic boost for businesses across the town.  At the event on the 17 October, Jon will explore how sponsorship plays a key role with 20 or so companies exhibiting over the 4 days and with about 10 sponsors  who often integrate exhibiting with brand association. He adds“Our biggest marketing challenge is being reactive – dealing with social media comments and reactions, particularly over the four-days. And, of course we have the weather to deal with. We deliberately plan a four-day festival, with entertainment all day and evening to ensure we have the best possible weather window to deliver an Air Festival."

You can find out how Jon and his team have grown the Air Festival to become the UK’s biggest and the marketing strategy behind its growth and success on 17 October at Bournemouth Borough Council Town Hall. For further information and bookings please visit the website.