Thursday, November 22, 2012

Singapore Food Festival 2012

A) Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
From the calendar of events on Ritz-Carlton’s website, the hotel mostly collaborates with or hold events that have relation to food, mega events in Singapore and charity events.

Just in the months of November and December itself, they have several weekend afternoon tea events. They also have a bi-annual buffet, Superbrunch, which is a buffet spread over 78meters, and is an event that it is very well-known for. It is an exclusive event whereby the price for admission starts from $198.

It has also collaborated with mega events such as the F1 night race and hosted the first Singapore Youth Olympic Games Opening Gala Dinner in 2010.

They also show their care for the community by collaborating with Marriott Hotel in selling cakes to raise funds for Operation Smile, which helps to provide treatment for children with correctable facial deformities, in May 2012. In August 2012, they held a Charity Car Wash to raise funds for the Movement of Intellectually Disabled of Singapore and provide jobs for lesser-abled individuals.
From the extensive calendar of food events, we can see that Ritz Carlton is trying to differentiate itself from other hotels by being one that focuses a lot on food by holding exclusive food events from a range of different cuisines. They aim to portray themselves as a hotel, which offers exclusive food.
From the charity events, Ritz Carlton is trying to generate good public relations as a marketing strategy by caring for the community and making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate. This is to create a positive image around their hotel to the market.
Lastly, it collaborates with many mega events to market itself as a well-known and exclusive hotel where such historical events take place.

B) Description and Review of the Event: Singapore Food Festival
Singapore Food Festival (SFF) is an annual event that begun in 1994.  It usually lasts a month long and begins from the end of June and ends in late July. Every year it offers a wide array of cultural food portraying Singapore’s multi-racial community, with Malay, Chinese, Peranakan and Indian delicacies.
Besides having the opportunity to savour delicious cultural food selling at the stalls, there are also other engaging activities such as cooking workshops, food trails, competitions and the tiffin cruise. 

Every year the food festival also highlights a different theme. In 2011, it focussed more on curry and spice and in 2012 it is creating hype over seafood. The spokesperson for this year’s SFF is Chef Eric Teo, who has over 2 decades of experience and has won many awards and is also the first Singaporean to be the president of the Singapore Chef’s Association.

Every year during SFF, its visitorship for the event would hit a record high compared to the past years. This year’s food festival saw a record number of visitorship on the opening day, with 40000 visitors as compared to in 2011, which saw a visitorship of 35000. From this we can see that this year’s SFF is successful and is able to draw in participants by staying relevant despite being around for 17 years already. 

This report will analyse the marketing mix and identify the changes that contributed to its success.

C) Analyse Changes and Marketing Mix

SFF Brochure 2012

Waterfront Promenade @ Marina Bay

The main highlight of the whole festival, which is the SFF Food Village, offers a variety of food that is not limited to the SFF theme only. It is held at Waterfront Promenade at Marina Bay this year, which is a change from previous years, where it was held at the Read Bridge, Clarke Quay.
This works to the advantage of SFF as Waterfront Promenade covers a larger floor space of approximately 2000sqm, which allows the Food Village to hold 20 more stalls than the previous years and 1500 seating capacity. By changing its location, the range of food offered to consumers is more extensive.
Product & Price (Value Pricing Strategy)
·         Tiffin Cruise

Every year during the SFF in the past 2 years, there would be a Tiffin Cruise where food lovers get to eat delicious food, depending on the festival theme, out of tiffin carriers which they can later bring home as a momento.
In 2011, the duration of tiffin cruise was 45 minutes but in 2012, they have extended the duration to an hour. However, the prices have almost doubled the admission price st $38+ in 2011 to $68+ per person in 2012.
From this, we can assume that the tiffin cruise is one of the more popular products that SFF has to offer. This is because participants can only experience such a cruise once every year, during SFF, as compared to the other activities. Singaporeans can easily attend food competitions, workshop and the other activities on their own, all year round. Therefore, the tiffin cruise is a unique selling point of the SFF. This is proven as it is a tradition for every SFF event. The fact that SFF can afford to double the price of the cruise, shows that this activity is very well-received by the public and that consumers are willing to pay for such an activity.
·         Food Trails

This year’s SFF food trail is held in Kampong Gelam lasting for 2 hours while the previous year’s food trail was in Little India, which lasted for 3.5 hours. In addition, the admission price for the food trails has dropped, from $88+ per person in 2011 to $35+ per person in 2012.
The price has dropped by more than half as compared to 2011. This might be because this food trail was not able to attract the target amount of customers SFF was aiming for. The fall in the price might be due to the fact that consumers are not willing to pay so much for such a food trail. Therefore, the price has drastically reduced so that the food trail seems of value for money and more people would be inclined to participate.
·         SFF Food Village
SFF Food Village is one of the more popular activity that most of the public participates in. SFF 2012 has extended the SFF Food Village to 11am to 11pm daily as compared to the previous year when it was only 4pm to 11pm on weekdays and 12pm to 11pm on weekends.
The SFF Food Village must have received an overwhelming response in 2011, which resulted in the longer opening hours. Having extended the hours of the SFF Food Village has allowed this particular activity to draw more crowds, especially for those that are not willing to spend so much on the other SFF activities. It would also meet the demand of the food lovers who would want to go for this activity.
·         Other activities
The duration of most of the activities has shortened this year as compared to last year. For example, the chef demonstrations lasted only 1 hour this year while it lasted till 3 hours the previous year. Another example is that the food trails also last for 2 hours this year, while it lasts for 3.5 hours the previous year.
The shortened duration of the activities allows the event participants to maximise their time by engaging in more of the activities in SFF 2012 as compared to in 2011. This might have been a reason why SFF 2012 is successful, because of its strategic programming.
Packaging and Distribution
·         Packaging
For SFF 2012, the food trail at Kampong Gelam, there is a special package of $60+ for the admission of one adult and child. By doing this, SFF is trying to target families for this food trail. By offering the trail at a lower price for families, it would attract more consumers who might otherwise not participate in the food trail. This particular activity might not have been as prominent as the others, therefore they have decided to come up with this package.
In SFF 2011, there was no package deal of the events and activities. There was only a complementary goodie bag given for certain activities to encourage participants to join. A few of these activities include, Spice Odyssey and Longest Table @ Little India.
·         Distribution
SFF 2012 uses a direct marketing distribution channel to sell its products and services, functioning like an e-tailer. Consumers can directly go to their webpage to purchase admission tickets to the activities they are interested in, and ‘add to cart’ before submitting their orders.
SFF has been using this distribution channel over the past few years, as well. Reason being, Singaporeans look for efficiency when they purchase products and service, which might have been a result of the advancement of technology in this tech-savvy generation. By having such online transactional services, it provides its customers with convenience as it is hassle free as compared to if they have to go down to a specific location to purchase the product and/or service.
Partnership (Sponsors)

·      Main Sponsors

In SFF 2012, there is only one main sponsor, which is NETS FlashPlay. The main sales promotions used in the event involve NETS FlashPlay. From this we can see that it is the official card for SFF 2012. It is quite obvious to the public that it is the main sponsor because of its involvement in SFF. However, in SFF 2011, the main sponsors are Asahi and City Gas, but their involvement is not very obvious to the public.
The change in sponsors might be because NETS Flashplay was able to offer more attractive benefits to the event than Asahi and City Gas. It also explains why it is the only main sponsor for SFF 2012. 
·         Partners
For SFF 2012, its partners are Indian Restaurants Association Singapore (IRAS), Singapore Chef Association and The Malay Heritage Foundation. In SFF 2011, its partners are Singapore Chefs Association and Restaurant Association of Singapore.
By collaborating with associations from the different racial groups, there is a larger involvement of multi-racial activities, which makes SFF 2012 more unique and diverse compared to other food festivals. Therefore this year’s SFF include activities at Kampong Gelam and Little India unlike in 2011 where most of the programme highlights were held in Little India only.

·         Advertising (online)
1. YourSingapore
SFF publicises its events yearly mainly through through online sources such as YourSingapore. Because SFF is an event supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, it can easily showcase the festival on YourSingapore website which has a large reach market. Therefore, this way of informing the public has been around for the year of 2011 as well.
This is because both locals and foreigners would visit the site if they are looking for something to do in Singapore. It is also viewed as credible and reaches a big market. Therefore it is an effective way to showcase the event as something that is unique to Singapore and something that everyone in Singapore should engage in. Furthermore, it is on the site all-year round which allows tourists and/or locals to set aside time for the event if they are interested.
2. Facebook
This year is also the first year that SFF makes use of Facebook to gain more recognition. There are also on-site pictures to attract people to come down to the event. However, the page was only created just a week before the event itself, which is a short “buffer time” to gain hype over the event using social media.
Social media sites are an effective way to reach out to the mass public especially to the Generation Y and Millenials groups. Using such sites to publicise is a way that SFF uses to stay relevant to the changing lifestyle preferences of the society. Through a simple ‘like’ of a page, the user’s friends would be able to see that their friend has ‘liked’ the page and would feel like clicking on it to find out more about the event.
The usage of social media might have been more effective here if the page was created earlier, about 2 months before the event, so it gives the public some time to find out about the event and build up interest.
·         Sales Promotions

Through the use of Facebook, SFF 2012 has also effectively inform customers about their sales promotions. There is also a promotion linked to Facebook where people can like and share a photo and stand a chance daily to win a SFF NETS FlashPlay card worth $30 where they can use at the SFF Food Village. It is a collaboration with NETS services to draw customers. This is to entice potential customers who might otherwise not be willing to spend money on such an event. Another promotion is where people can get a nice cold Carlsberg beer at $4.80 if they pay using the NETS Flashplay card.
In 2011, there is no clear description of the promotions going on as it is not written on the SFF website. They also did not have a Facebook page to keep the public updated on what is going on in the event. Therefore, the creation of their Facebook page was a platform to enlighten the public on the promotions. This might have contributed to the success of SFF 2012, by attracting potential markets with such promotions.
·         Public Relations
This year, Chef Eric Teo, the spokesperson for SFF 2012, did an interview with Time Out Singapore. Time Out Singapore is a consumer magazine that reviews all the venues and events happening in Singapore. Therefore, Singaporeans who are looking for events to participate in, would visit the site. In the interview, Chef Eric talks about the theme of SFF 2012 and how it is different from the previous years.
This is good to create good publicity for the event as it is featured on a Singapore event magazine and gives potential markets insights about the event that might convince them to attend the event and resulted in the increase in visitorship.
D) Proposed in Conjunction Event(s)
·         Pool-side Cocktail Party

SFF, in general, has mostly day activities which requires its participants to be on-the-move and very active.

Therefore a proposed in conjunction event during SFF would be a pool-side cocktail event held at Ritz-Carlton where hotel guests and event participants can dress-up and have a pleasant social gathering while savouring light bites themed to this year’s SFF, Seafood. The local chefs would be provided by SFF to provide the food at the event. This would be for people who like to enjoy their food in a more relaxed environment.
Ritz-Carlton has a reputation for being a hotel which holds exclusive food events, the public would be excited for such an in conjunction event and would see it as a promising event that they want to attend. This would benefit F1 as it would be a more likely successful in conjunction event as compared to if it is held in other hotels. Such an event is also new and unique to the concept of SFF which can help it to continually improve and keep the public interested in it.

·      Meet the Chefs Session

During SFF events, participants seldom get the opportunity to get an up close and personal experience with the celebrity chefs outside of the cooking workshops.

SFF can have a 'Meet the Chefs' session with the local chefs involved in this year’s SFF. This event would be held at Ritz-Carlton’s Stella Gallery. Besides serving some of their famous dishes based on the theme, these chefs would also have a meet-and-greet session during this event. The session would be conducted among the polytechnic and university students including top few participants from the SFF competitions, like the Indian Seafood Chef Competition. This way, people of the future generation can have a personal interaction with local chefs to gain valuable experience, knowledge and share their passion for food.

Ritz-Carlton has been known to be a hotel which provides services for meeting activities for mega events in Singapore, like the Formula 1 Race. Therefore, it shows that Ritz-Carlton has the exceptional standards to provide such services and is reliable.