Saturday, April 20, 2013

Does Hamilton Have A Musical Brand?

What is it about Hamilton's music scene that makes it especially attractive to a potential tourist?

I'm not talking about a mere "three hour tour" to come to a concert at Copps, or to go to hear the HPO. I mean longer. Like a holiday. How about a three day stay in the area? What does Hamilton's music and tourist scene have to attract that kind of customer?

Music Tourism

Hey Toronto! Great music exists
in other places too... like Hamilton.
"Music tourism" is one of the buzzwords coming out of the recent Music Canada study The Next Big Bang: A New Direction For Music In Canada. The research revealed that the live musical entertainment business is a billion dollar business, with much of the action centered in the GTA, but with significant pockets (and great potential) of activity from other regions, including Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, and Oakville -- basically the "head of the lake" area that doesn't include Toronto.

Industry leaders have now put some wheels in motion at the provincial level with the formation of a music business/tourist industry effort called The Ontario Live Music Strategy.

The Ontario Live Music Strategy will attempt to coordinate and enhance the efforts of all stakeholders in the live music business through the creation of a Live Music Web Portal. New and better information will be available to tourists using the Web Portal, because the Initiative is all about building bridges between music and the tourism industry and pushing existing resources and relationships to create new economic opportunities for “music tourism.”

What kind of customers are they talking about? The kind that would "position Ontario as a premier global destination for live music and music tourism through the province's international marketing initiatives" that's what they're talking about.

By providing a focal point for the marketing of existing festivals, concerts, venues newly designed “tourist products,” the proposed Live Music Portal is expected to generate more tourist business.

If the Web Portal does its job, visitors and locals will easily find information on live music events in any given region of the province, and will find it coordinated with other tourist information. This presents an opportunity for creative minds to combine tourism and musical entertainment in new ways. Some interesting packages could be invented.

Two-Night Hotel/Music/Dinner Package Anyone?

For example, someone could conceivably plan to visit Hamilton for a show at Copps, and then when viewing a package deal offered through the Web Portal, decide to stay in town on a two night package which includes meal vouchers at local restaurants, a special rate at a local hotel, an entertainment pass and drink coupon for a number of participating area pubs that feature local bands. They could choose between guided hiking tours of popular waterfalls, OLG slots (oops), waterfront sightseeing, harbour boat tours, museums, etc.

The idea is to create interesting packages, and that takes lots of cooperation, effort and imagination. And optimism.

The unique angle? They come for the music, stay for more music, plus other things.

Just add music.


Just add Hamilton.

By having a one-stop shop, such as the proposed Live Music Web Portal, for live music information combined with related tourist information for hotels, restaurants, outdoor recreation, sporting events, and festivals, it is hoped that the spin-off business will be significant.

Hamilton has an interesting, complex, eclectic and diverse live music scene. The Live Music Portal could potentially open up a flow of new music tourists. New venues may even open up.

But it won't be easy.

We need a rich, invigorating discussion! To develop our brand, we need to answer the critical question: what will make Hamilton a music city?

If improved musical tourism is possible, then it must be based on real people making real decisions about why they want to come here. Our brand has to capture peoples’ imaginations, and their pocketbooks.

After we have a sense of our brand we can stay focused, and take steps to protect and build our product.

What do you think makes (or will make) Hamilton a music city?

No comments: