HAMMOND | A partnership was announced Thursday between the city and the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority that hopes to gain insight into those who attend Festival of the Lakes.
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said the city will work with the authority to collect marketing data at this year's festival to help increase the size of the crowd and gain new sponsorships for future festivals.
“We had a meeting last week talking about how we could use the experience of the (authority) to help expand and get more data on who is coming to the festival," McDermott said.
The city's five-day festival at Wolf Lake Memorial Park is scheduled for July 17-21. Plans are to survey at least 400 to 500 people per night and gauge attendance figures, South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Speros Batistatos said.
Batistatos called special event promotion one of the most important things a community can do. The data will aid the city in understanding the impact of festival advertising and the demographic of attendees, which is vital in making decisions on what talent to feature, Batistatos said.
The data gathering also will help the city and authority open an e-mail dialogue among attendees as a way to sell more hotel rooms, highlight restaurants and receive feedback on musical acts.
“It's not unusual to dig into a very mature, successful event and take it to the next level with this kind of marketing data,” Batistatos said. "Our staff is here, and we're very excited to do it.”
Batistatos said when the authority took over the Gary Air Show — which was canceled this year by the impact of the federal sequestration on aerial demonstration teams — it didn't have any data on event attendees.
He emphasized the project will be a long-term venture between the authority and the city to redefine and keep gathering data at the festival.
“Once we start developing this data, we will be able to give the mayor very specific information to approach future sponsors with,” Batistatos said.
As a way to entice attendees to fill out surveys, an audience member will be chosen at each show to meet that night's performer.
The entertainment line-up for the 10th annual Festival of the Lakes will feature Smokey Robinson on Wednesday, Bruce in the USA – Tribute to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Thursday, Lifehouse on Friday, LL Cool J on Saturday and La Original Banda El Limon Sunday.