Guest blog: Insuring against festival fears

By Eyal Gluska, Co-CEO, Setoo

Demand for Glastonbury Festival 2020 exploded the moment tickets became available and all were sold out in 34 minutes. It points to an ever-increasing demand for live music experiences across the UK. At the same time, ticket prices have reached an all-time high, which is driving a growing expectation of festival organisers to provide a truly premium experience in return. 

Yet, this premium experience was far from what many keen festivalgoers endured in the summer. Houghton and Boardmasters – two of the UK’s biggest festivals – were cancelled in August due to dangerous weather conditions, which left thousands of ticket holders disappointed. Non-refundable booking fees for these festivals fuelled further frustration for customers, let alone the additional costs such as travel or tents.

After the double disappointment of 2019, organisers need to reassure and protect prospective festivalgoers who will avoid paying the high price of tickets if the risk of poor experiences remains. But how can this be done?

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Providing protection

Festival organisers can improve the experience for consumers by enhancing their selection of optional extras, such as car parking permits or VIP upgrades on campsites. One of these extras should be insurance, which is no longer a necessary evil but a vital experience-enhancer.

Technologies such as machine learning mean insurance policies can be personalised and highly tailored to specific activities, such as attending a festival. For example, a policy could be created to compensate consumers if a headline act is a no-show or if rain is forecasted for the event – something some companies are already offering and would have been handy for festival fans in 2019.

Additionally, this type of specialised insurance policy can be parametric in nature, compensating consumers automatically and immediately in response to a pre-agreed trigger. This trigger could be rain forecast for the day of a festival, for example, which uses accurate weather forecasts that are readily available days in advance. In practice, festivalgoers with this type of policy will receive a text 72 hours in advance of the event letting them know that rain is forecasted and giving them the option to cancel and receive compensation. The claims process is removed entirely, relieving the consumer of hassle at a potentially stressful time.

Reaping the rewards

There is a clear experience boost from highly relevant, hassle-free insurance policies for festivalgoers. Yet, the benefits of these event extras aren’t limited to consumers. On top of protecting their reputation if something goes wrong, festival organisers can also use insurance to open up entirely new ancillary revenue streams – an increasingly common approach to keeping ticket prices competitive, while boosting the bottom line.

Consumers want high quality experiences in return for their cash, and festivals are no different. Organisers need to protect their consumers from adverse weather events and other occurrences outside of their control that might ruin their experience. Activity-specific insurance with automatic compensation provides the best way for festival organisers to reassure attendees that if something does go wrong, they’ll be swiftly compensated without any hassle.