Fast forward a few months and I'm back at Pop2Life... I told you I would be. Since working as the marketing intern in Spring 2017, I've graduated from college, caught up on four years worth of sleep, and started my job as a freelance coordinator on Pop2Life's Event Concierge Services team. For my first Event Concierge Services project, I was thrown to the wolves to manage travel and accommodations for our largest event of the year -- the iHeartRadio Music Festival.
September 22nd and 23rd marked one of the hottest weekends of the year for those who were lucky enough to make it out to Las Vegas for the seventh annual iHeartRadio Music Festival. It takes thousands of attendees, music's hottest artists, celebrities, ticket labeling, extra coffee, and sleepless nights to pull off every year, but the happiness created for everyone, especially the hundreds of radio contest winners flown in from all across the country, makes it all worth it.
Behind the scenes
August 1st started the journey through "festival season." I was excited to take on the music festival with my team. But, before we flew out west and kicked off 48 hours of the hottest acts in music, we had to plan everything from the ground up. The Event Concierge Services team is responsible for direct client service tasks such as booking airfare and accommodations for over 2,500 invited guests, including VIP clients, market level clients, national sales marketing partners, contest winners, and working staff - all with the help of Ribyt.
All invited guests are contacted through Ribyt, the all-in-one event concierge services platform. Without each and every byt, these events wouldn’t be possible. We start by emailing guests their personalized invitations through Ribyt. Then, they're instructed to fill out their profiles, with their information including preferred airport and airline, and invite a plus one to accompany them to Vegas. This makes it easier on our end to look into flights for them and get them on their way to the event. Each byt is compiled into their profile, including their hotel confirmation, ground transportation to and from the airport, VIP passes, and tickets to the festival. As the festival approached, each guest was sent a full itinerary of the weekend.
I wasn’t expecting the behind the scenes atmosphere to be as chaotic as it was. The “war” room, was nothing short of a battlefield. Our strategies, however, did run smoothly. All (15) hands were on deck for separating credentials, labeling envelopes with each guest's name on it. Being that it went so smoothly we were all willing to give an extra hand to whoever needed it.
The full week in Las Vegas required a full week of reconciliation and also a full week of sleep. We went through a two-step process of airfare and hotel spend when we arrived back in NYC.
Freelance coordinator's Emily O’Reilly, Emma Cheon, Giselle Hernandez, and Carly Maestas handled 300 contest winners and their companions from all over the country. The winning process happened over a two month time period where the winner either texted in the “winning word” to their local radio station or called in at a specific time to win. After they won, Pop2Life was notified of the winner with their phone number and email. Just like the invited guests, winners were contacted through Ribyt — and the process began with booking their flight and hotel room.
Reactions of contest winners varied. Most of them thought it was a prank phone call or a scam after receiving their phone numbers to call them. Once we started giving them more information though, they were incredibly excited! At the ticket-pick up in Las Vegas, everyone was so grateful for the experience and the special relationships they formed with our team from the back and forth interactions to prepare for their travels to the festival. They also followed up thanking us for taking care of them and raved about all of the performances.
One lucky contest winner won the experience of a lifetime, being the Grand Prize winner. Jocelyn Kuleck from Clarksville, TN won by texting in to her local radio station - iHeartRadio’s The Big 98 in Nashville, TN. Her prize included first class airfare to Las Vegas, front row tickets to both nights of the festival, three nights in a penthouse at the Aria Resort and Casino, a $10,000 gift card courtesy of Capital One, artist meet-and-greets, and much more — all tax free.
Not only did Jocelyn get chosen to be the Grand Prize winner, but she also was #winning when Thomas Rhett helped with her surprise engagement. Jocelyn and her boyfriend Adam had the opportunity to meet country music's hottest artist Thomas Rhett for a meet and greet, when Adam got down on one knee and popped the question. She never could have guessed that she was going to leave the happiest weekend of her life as an engaged woman.
What happens in Vegas, "stays in Vegas"
Our trip was certainly not your average Vegas vacation. It was my first time in the city and we were there for eight days, but spent most of the time either in the war room, my mountain-view hotel room, or the Starbucks on the way to work.
Our team handled all of invited guests, meaning contest winners, national sales and marketing partnership guests, local market level guests, strategic partnership groups, networks, press staff, working staff, and promotional staff. From the start of the project, all of the freelancers were assigned a group to work with until the big weekend. Our jobs were to contact the members of each division and stick with them until they picked up their tickets and credentials for the show!
Once we were on-site, our days consisted of sending our guests their itineraries for the weekend, making sure all of their traveling went smoothly, and locking in their hotel reservations (whether they would be checking-in early, switching the name on the reservation, or upgrading their room type as needed). All these last minute details were especially important to serving our guests to the highest standards. Thursday night was our first live ticket pick-up station where guests that checked-in a day early had the opportunity to pick up their credentials for the weekend.
Laura Ferraro (above, from left), Renee Georgatos, Anthony DeCandia, Gabriella Prieto, Meredith Kasabian, and Emily O'Reilly getting ready for the first night of VIP ticket pick-up.
The iHeartRadio Music festival, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, kicked off with P!NK, on September 22nd, flying high in the air doing acrobatics throughout the T-Mobile arena, all along while singing ‘So What’ live. The weekend ended with DJ Khaled performing with guest singers, Demi Lovato, French Montana, and Chance the Rapper. All in between those outstanding performances was the rest of the line-up, which included: David Guetta, Lorde, Chris Stapleton, The Weeknd, Coldplay, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Kings of Leon, Big Sean, Niall Horn, Miley Cyrus, Harry Styles, Thomas Rhett, and special guest performance by Kesha. Guests were truly spoiled.
Saturday's Daytime Village presented by Capital One consisted of many more artists: Migos, Halsey, Flume, Little Mix, French Montana, Niall Horan, Bleachers, Kelsea Ballerini, Judah & The Lion, Bebe Rexha, Noah Cyrus, Hey Violet, Cheat Codes, All Time Low, Khalid, Julia Michaels, and Macy's iHeartRadio Rising Star winner, James Maslow.
Veteran and fellow event concierge freelance coordinator, Anthony DeCandia, compares this year's festival to last year, "Our team this year had a strong bond and that was everything to make it more successful. Everything on site ran smoothly, and we all got along and loved working together to see the end result. It was a very rewarding experience."
Some of the event concierge services team before the Saturday night concert at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.
And, that's a wrap #iHeartFestival17