MORE people from outside the south-west are attending the Fun4Kids Festival.
Festival organisers said this year’s participants included a higher number who had travelled more than one hour to take part.
Fun4Kids festival director Luke Cann said 18 per cent of patrons this year came from Melbourne, compared to 11 per cent last.
However, organisers have not yet released the overall attendance figures for this year’s festival, saying they are “still compiling data and will release all information when we are ready”.
Mr Cann said the increase in metropolitan visitors indicated the first year of a new festival marketing plan was delivering dividends.
He said the new marketing plan, which was put in place in October last year, focused on modern strategies to introduce the Fun4Kids Festival brand into new markets.
“For 15 years prior to this year’s event, the bulk of our marketing had been centred in Warrnambool,” Mr Cann said.
“The brand is well established in the area and it was time to refine our strategies and look at how we can take Fun4Kids Festival’s tourism benefits to the next level.
“To capitalise on summer tourism, we established a volunteer team of university students we called the Beach Crashers.
“Our social media followers would have seen the Beach Crashers hitting beaches right along the Great Ocean Road daily over the summer tourism period, promoting Warrnambool as a great place to holiday in the winter.
“This was a brand new concept for Warrnambool, rather than old school marketing of putting up a poster or handing out a flyer.”
The Beach Crashers spoke face-to-face with more than 4000 people from the festival’s target markets and handed out sponsored promotional products that encouraged people to get in contact with the festival online.
“The results absolutely blew us out of the water, engagement doubled on our website and our social media following grew significantly,” Mr Cann said.
Likes on the festival’s Facebook page rose from 2000 in December to 5500 and many of those doing so were women aged between 24-38 years old, he said.
Women in that age bracket were often mothers and the decision makers about where family holidays would be spent, Mr Cann said.
The festival’s Twitter account was targeted at “tweens”, the age bracket between children and teenagers, and its followers rose from 100 to 700.
“Our website traffic has also gone through the roof,” Mr Cann said.