Improving our Queen Victoria market involves many factors but high on the list for traders is generating the sorts of crowds we experienced last weekend (13-14 February) as visitors flocked to our city for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
In a traditionally quiet month of trading they were a breath of fresh air and inevitably the question is asked – How do we get a repeat of that crowd? Memories of the Jehovahs Witness crowd back in October 2014 and the Tupperware delegates in March last year are still strong in the minds of traders. Sporting events held in Melbourne, particularly international events, can provide a market crowd boost although strangely the Melbourne Grand Prix doesn’t seem to do much for business.
Some traders expected a big response from the huge crowds attracted to the cage fighting event at Etihad Stadium last November but the impact on the market didn’t match the energy in the ring. Like many aspects of retailing and marketing it is difficult to predict results. It is easy to be wise in hindsight, but would traders have predicted the impact of the Military Tattoo crowd before they descended on our market? Probably not.
The point is that we need to learn from each successful crowd drawing event and be ready for the next one. It would be interesting to hear if our marketing team were involved in accommodating the Military Tattoo crowd and who organised those buses that lined up along Peel St. last Saturday.
And finally – 500,000 people were expected at last night’s White Night event in the CBD. What a shame QVM is not part of the organiser's planning. That is a big crowd in need of the services of a public market if for no other reason than to provide catering. A huge night market would seem to make a lot of sense and February could just become a key part of every trader’s yearly income.