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Author Topic: Battleground 2017 Report!  (Read 2072 times)
Leon
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« on: 26 November 2017, 09:46:43 PM »

The dust has settled on this year's Battleground and what a show it was!  We had decided to run a Free Entry promotion this year and we can safely say that it went down rather well...!

We started on the back foot again this year due to the tables being delayed and not arriving until 4pm.  This happened last year as well so we won't be using this company for future shows.  Once the tables arrived though, we quickly got everything set up and some of the traders and games arrived to get ready.  Saturday morning we were back there at 6:30am and the remaining traders/games got themselves sorted out and we were ready to go!

Normally we have a full reception area waiting to come in at 10am but this year they were queued outside as well so we had nearly 150 people in within the first 15 minutes and they kept coming!  We've always had a good atmosphere at the event but this year it was noticeably better, the whole place was bustling from the moment the doors opened and it continued through into the afternoon.  Visitor numbers dropped a little at 1pm but nowhere near the levels we've seen previously and sales were still being made as we were closing at 3pm.

The standard of the games this year was possibly the highest we've ever seen at the event, we'd added a few more to make 25 in total and there were some excellent tables on show covering all sorts of periods and genres.  We had some really impressive larger games this year as well.  We're always appreciative of the time and money it takes to put on an impressive show game, so we were glad to be able to offer them all a free cup of tea/coffee this year as a small thank you for their efforts.

Our Tabletop Sale has really come on these past few years and this year it was crazy.  We'd added two more tables to make 12 in total and they were almost all booked up before we even opened on Saturday morning, with the only gaps being after 1pm in the afternoon.  We ended up having to sell the booking-in desk as well due to the demand.  There isn't really any space in the hall to increase the number of tables available so we might have to either limit the number of half-hour slots people can hire, or increase the price per half-hour so that folks only buy fewer slots.

We'd done our usual advertising for the show, with 5000 flyers sent out, 15+ forums posted on and a whole lot more Facebook groups this year.  I always drive around and put posters in the the local gaming shops as well, so with all of that advertising, combined with the free entry, did it make a difference?

Yes it did!  We had an extra 180 visitors through the door, plus an extra 18 gamers on our tables, making nearly 200 extra people attending the event this year, which is a fantastic improvement.  For those interested, here's the stats on our visitors over the 5 years we've been running it:

.20132014201520162017
Traders5659686262
Gamers5248536785
Visitors498517469427607
Re-Enactors000114
TOTAL606624590567758


The Free Entry idea was a bit of an experiment, the question being is the 3 entry fee putting people off and does it have a clear affect on our visitor numbers?  Obviously the answer is yes and the visitor numbers this weekend are higher than we've ever seen in the history of the Middlesbrough/Stockton shows as far as I can tell.  All of the feedback we had during the day and in the 24 hours since has been very positive, so is free entry something we can continue in the long-term?  The straight answer to that is we don't know.  The Battleground show doesn't generate a lot of profit, we're normally around 500-600 out of pocket when the doors open and then the entry fees move us into a profit.  Any money made gets left in the account each year and we use it to invest in more equipment, signage, or anything else that benefits the event.  

So without the entry fees, as has happened this year, we're down by about 500 in running the show.  This was fine as a one-off experiment as we've got the previous years money to use as a buffer but it wouldn't be sustainable in the longer-term.  However, the success of this year's event means that we need to have a serious chat about what we can do to overcome that hurdle and make free entry permanent.  This means we'll be having a chat with our traders and seeing if a small increase in the stand prices is something they're happy to absorb if it means that they'll be getting the extra people into the event and buying their products.  As mentioned above, another option would be to increase the price of the tabletop sale to 2 per half hour.

So in summary, a huge thanks to everyone who came along, the traders, gamers, re-enactors and of course the visitors.  The 2018 show will be taking place on Saturday 24th November, so we hope to see you there!

All of our photos have been uploaded to our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/BattlegroundShow/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1061388890670031

And here's a selection of the feedback we've had so far on the blogs and social media:

Carryings On Up The Dale blog: http://www.carryingsonupthedale.com/2017/11/battleground-show-and-battle-of-seneffe.html
Ithoriel's photos: https://www.facebook.com/ithoriel/media_set?set=a.10155073607291398.1073741832.593771397&type=3
Never Mind the Jankers blog: http://nevermindthejankers.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-show-2017.html
Another Slight Diversion Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSlightDiversion/posts/1856957640985005?pnref=story
Herkybird's blog: http://herkybird-richardbradley.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-2017.html
Renko's blog: https://twtrb.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-2017-pleasantly-surprised.html
Wargames in the Dungeon blog: http://wargamesinthedungeon.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-2017-report-attack-on.html
Mad Tin Hatter's blog: https://themadtinhatter.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/aar-battleground-wargames-show-battle.html?spref=fb
One Man and His Brushes blog: http://onemanhisbrushes.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/batteground-acw-game-and-stash.html
Zabadak's blog: https://zabadakszombieworld.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battlegorund-2017.html
Rubbsalot blog: http://rubbsalotsmancave.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-wargames-show-2017-stockton.html
Ilkley Old School blog: http://ilkleyoldschool.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-show.html
Independent Wargames Group blog: https://independentwargamesgroup.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-2017.html?
Exiled Fog blog: https://exiledfog.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Battleground%202017
Westerhope blog: http://westerhopewargames.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-2017-show-report.html
Marching in Colour trader blog: http://marchingincolour.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/battleground-show-my-after-action-report.html
Hunwickian blog: http://slimreidy1.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/acw-demonstration-game-at-battleground.html

We'll add any more as they appear.
« Last Edit: 03 December 2017, 10:13:37 PM by Leon » Logged

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fred.
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« Reply #1 on: 26 November 2017, 10:40:14 PM »

Wow a big influx in numbers, well done!

It is amazing what the word FREE does. You would hardly think 3 is the make or break of going to a show, especially with many people travelling a fair way to get there, and intending to buy stuff as well.

But Free works wonders.

It looks like just charging 1 entry would cover the costs - but even this might impact visitor numbers.  I suppose you have to start with the traders, its probably about 10 more for traders, and hopefully the extra numbers through the door would enable them to cover that through enough extra sales (probably 40+).

By the sound of it upping the costs for the Bring and Buy sounds very sensible, as demand for this sounds very high. Do you take any cut of the sales? If not 2 sounds a bargain.
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jimduncanuk
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« Reply #2 on: 26 November 2017, 10:50:36 PM »

I travelled to Battleground all the way from Edinburgh and I am jolly pleased that I did. Just inside 3 hours in the car, just inside 3 hours at the show and probably the same driving home but I didn't note the time taken. I left early as my gaming chum had another appointment.

I thought the show was well run, well attended and good value for money. I would be happy to pay a pound or two at the door next year and I will certainly be planning to come next year. No way will I go to a show like Salute, too far away, too expensive and too noisy.

One good thing about this show is that I managed to speak to a couple of chaps who rarely come this far north whereas this show is about as far south as I normally go except for Vapnartak in York.

Well done Leon and various minions.
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Leon
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« Reply #3 on: 26 November 2017, 10:53:23 PM »

It looks like just charging 1 entry would cover the costs - but even this might impact visitor numbers.  I suppose you have to start with the traders, its probably about 10 more for traders, and hopefully the extra numbers through the door would enable them to cover that through enough extra sales (probably 40+).

I think 5 increase per 6ft trader table should put us around the break even point, which would be fine.  We've never run the show to make money out of it, it's more about having a successful event in the north-east that everyone benefits from.  If the show is a success then hopefully we make some money on our show stand.

By the sound of it upping the costs for the Bring and Buy sounds very sensible, as demand for this sounds very high. Do you take any cut of the sales? If not 2 sounds a bargain.

We don't take a cut of the sales, we get the hire fee and then the sellers get to keep all of their earnings.  Previously the Middlesbrough club have run the tabletop sale for us and then received the money from it, but with the free entry this year it was better to run it ourselves and use the money to help offset our losses.  
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #4 on: 26 November 2017, 10:56:38 PM »

Sounds great, well done all
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paulr
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« Reply #5 on: 26 November 2017, 11:43:18 PM »

Well done all indeed Applause
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petercooman
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« Reply #6 on: 27 November 2017, 12:07:41 AM »

It is amazing what the word FREE does. You would hardly think 3 is the make or break of going to a show, especially with many people travelling a fair way to get there, and intending to buy stuff as well.


Compared to the 24 i have to spend to get me and the missus into the crisis show, 3 is peanuts!
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Nick the Lemming
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« Reply #7 on: 27 November 2017, 12:38:24 AM »

Have you considered a donations jar at the entrance? That way you could keep it free, but those who wanted to support the con could do so.
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Leon
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« Reply #8 on: 27 November 2017, 12:47:15 AM »

Have you considered a donations jar at the entrance? That way you could keep it free, but those who wanted to support the con could do so.

We wondered whether we'd get any offers this year from folks expecting to pay but not much!  We had the SSAFA charity there this year though, so we were directing any donations their way.
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paulr
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« Reply #9 on: 27 November 2017, 01:15:39 AM »

Yet another example of the calibre of Pendraken Applause Applause Applause
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Fenton
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« Reply #10 on: 27 November 2017, 05:36:59 AM »

Could you have a 'pay what you want ' type of system for an admission price?
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« Reply #11 on: 27 November 2017, 06:55:49 AM »

At our local show to hire a table at the B&B is around 8.00 for the 6 hours of the show. So I think a small fee for your show is perfectly acceptable. From all I've seen it looked like a great show and just wish some of the bigger shows were as good as this.
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« Reply #12 on: 27 November 2017, 07:18:08 AM »

 Smiley

Good stuff, Leon.

Cheers - Phil
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« Reply #13 on: 28 November 2017, 12:35:52 PM »

Battleground really is my favourite show of the year and I think it will grow from strength to strength in coming years. I suggest an entry fee of 1 is not going to put off visitors since I am sure that anyone who attended the show on Saturday will come back in future years - what was there not to like?
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