River rapids, adventure racing, trail running and mountain biking, Australian Adventure Festival (AAF) was a multi-sport event project with multi-challenges galore!
Based in the beautiful region of East Gippsland in Victoria and blessed with some of the most unique natural assets anywhere in Australia, East Gippsland’s hosting of an event like this in what is an outdoor adventure playground was a no brainer.
With the event in its second year, Sport Projects were contracted by East Gippsland Marketing Inc (EGMI), to arrange and deliver the AAF on their behalf. EGMI had introduced the event in 2015 but still keen to determine the best format for the event.
In 2016, by contracting Sport Projects and myself as Event Manager, they were able to be assured that the operational delivery of the event would be slick so that they could focus in on their core business; marketing the region and using the event as an asset and a promotional vehicle.
Undoubtedly there are numerous advantages and benefits to the hosting of an event, provided you are clear on your objectives and that you have made those objectives achievable. EGMI is very clear about their objectives for the event. It is very definitely geared towards showcasing East Gippsland as a destination for outdoor and adventure sports, as a tourism destination and as a region to travel to. It is focused on delivering an economic impact for the region and for EGMI, generating entry revenue but more importantly, spend with local businesses. Accommodation providers, restaurants, cafes and stores, all stood to benefit, frequented by competitors whilst they stay in the region. Metrics are outlined for the event in order to measure the success of the event as a project. Any profits generated by the event and by EGMI are reinvested into the promotion of the region year round.
Importantly and crucially, EGMI identified that their absolute focus (and strength) is in the promotion of the region and the marketing of the event, capitalising on relationships with key stakeholders and utilising the social media and online platforms at their disposal. Too often in this industry, you see entities wanting to introduce and develop events and then trying to do too much themselves, exhausting already squeezed internal resources trying to maximise the bottom line. Not a problem here. The key is to recognise where you deliver value and efficiency into and to a project, recognising then where it is more sensible and cost effective to outsource. Focused on marketing, EGMI could arrange creative and engaging content like the promotional video below.
EGMI’s expertise is not in event delivery. Crucially, EGMI were able to make that assessment. Sport Projects is an event management and consultancy business that specialises in the delivery of complex projects and the management of the stakeholders and equally complex requirements around those projects. With our no-fuss approach to the management of the project and the delivery of the event and a key focus on clear communication, EGMI was able to fully engage in the marketing of the event and the measurement of the event’s success throughout the planning and delivery phase.
With more than 120km of unique course footprint spanning rugged and rocky paths, public roads, graded whitewater river rapids, technical mountain bike trails and obstacle courses it required robust management planning. Most times the events were based in dense, remote bushland, presenting all sorts of challenges requiring creative and innovative solutions. Sport Projects expertly and carefully managed difficult relationships with landowners and authorities and then deployed expert knowledge and event specialists on the ground. Adventure Types for trail running, Venture Out for mountain biking and Peak Adventure for the Adventure Race. We then linked everyone up by executing an innovative communications plan, deploying aircraft based communications. All the while targeting an athlete/participant centred approach, delivering a memorable experience for participants and delivering to the agreed event budget.
With many weeks and months of intense planning in the lead-up, the event was geared to succeed. Apart from the uncontrollable weather, the event largely went to plan. If required the event had a robust emergency management plan on which to fall back on, which detailed evacuation plans, fire and medical management plans. The landscape was visually stunning, but the beauty and attraction of the isolated, unique environment meant that there was an abundance of hidden dangers. As experts in the field, the key was for the Sport Projects team to identify and uncover all of those many risks, devising management solutions in order to mitigate the impact of those risks.
The end product was successful and the event was delivered well within what was a very tight budget for an event of this nature. Local people and contractors were mobilised into the team all with the aim of helping to build a sustainable project that was able to continue to grow and evolve in the medium to long term. EGMI continue to manage and monitor the growth of the event and it will no doubt continue to evolve in the years to come and take different shapes along the way. We wish them well and will watch closely and contribute value wherever we can.
Do you have an event or a project in mind but don’t know where to start. Contact the team at Sport Projects and we can help you plot a path to clarity and then to success. We are the paracetamol for your headache.