Attracting more people?

Route 66

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 17, 1997
Location
Minnesota
TDI
2005 VW
I look at the number of registered users on Freds and I have to say that we were not even scratching the return of people that show up at the yearly fest. For example, the Minnesota Street Rod Association needs to use the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to make room for all the cars. This post is not to say that bigger is better but do we need more exposure by some form of media, print,or TV. Or perhaps contact through the VW website which may help them sell more VWs as people see the unity of diesel drivers. Please post your thoughts. There is nothing like discussion to keep ideas moving. My closing thought is do most VW owners look at their cars as more of a tool than an interest in their social lives?
 

bluenb1

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2003
Location
Wisconsin, USA
TDI
New Beetle, 98, Blue
I couldn't agree more D. If we have 36K+ registered users...then where are they? Or is this number ambiguous?
Are diesel folks "misers" where they want something for nothing? Here they get a free web site and knowledge with no fees. Are we all too busy in our everyday lives? Believe me, after watching the registration and how it has 30 or so registrants up till the last 2 weeks and ends up in the 150+ with 30 or so on sight registrations....I have often wondered this myself. Shouldn't we be drawing 1% of our members? 10%? What have we got to do in order to appeal to a larger group of people? We really should be no different than the Street Rod Association and we should be booking fair grounds. Do you have any idea on their number of members? Chalk this one up to the "things that make you say....Hmmmmm". Maybe it'll get there some day?
J
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
none, 2014 Chevy Volt, 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
I suspect that Fred's membership numbers are quite higher than the true number. Some have multiple screen names and are thus counted more than once. Some have ceased regular viewing or contributions as their TDI ownership ended, but are still counted. Some have signed up once to post "for Sale" items and never returned.
Street rod associations shouldn't be the metric used for comparisons. Street rods are seldom the prime mode of transportation in the household. They are much more frequently third or fourth vehicles in a household. That implies a greater level of disposable income.
Many TDI are the prime mode of transport for a family. These vehicles were purchased with low expenditures in mind (or at least hoped for). We want the lowest price fuel and the most distance from that fuel. We want the lowest price hotel rooms and ask about camping facilities to further lower costs. We want discounts for bringing our own food to the banquet.
OK, that last one was a stretch, but not by much.
We buy cheap cars that are cheap to fuel because that it what we choose to afford. We have no incentive for early registration, and no penalty for late registrations.
VWoA doesn't approve of over B5 biodiesel. How do they feel about chip tuning? Would they allow either at "their" festival? Would they imply acceptance of liability for on road performance tests (TSD rally)? What would they think of a warranty claim due to a damaged transmission incurred during their slow speed driving test?
The dates have traditionally been early to mid September. This may not be the best time with young families thinking of first day of school. It's not a coincidence that the six time attendees are empty-nesters or D.I.N.K.s.
 

bluenb1

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2003
Location
Wisconsin, USA
TDI
New Beetle, 98, Blue
I don't disagree with any of your thinking here. However, I still think the numbers should be higher. If we all like our cars like we state we do, then why wouldn't there be a few hundred or a thousand? I don't know what the "magic" number is. I would think that 1% of the supposed 36K is pretty conservative though.
It just makes one ask what it is that can be done to generate the desire and interest in going.

I'm sure that the "incentive"/"penalty" insight should be looked at. We "Ed and myself" were looking at the number a month prior to the event and asked Fred if we should cancel the fest!
This was due to the lack of registrations (we only had like 35 a month before the fest). Folks really have NO IDEA what is involved in putting something like this on. Trying to accomodate even our small numbers is EXTREMELY difficult. Now try and realize when another 150 or so all need t-shirts, pig roast meals, banquet space and meals, lanyards, name badges all accounted for all within a week of the event. I was litterally calling on Sunday at noon with counts (which rose) for the banquet meals. We were extremely fortunate (lucky) where we had a facility that was willing to work with us. As it was, only 1 person was turned away at the banquet (yes one was turned away). Ask him if he feels there isn't a penalty. I felt awful but there wasn't anything I could do. The day will come where folks will be dissapointed because they held off till the last day or two to register. Keep that in mind for future fests. Start spreading the word on the upcoming fests. Plan ahead and register early.
 

tomo366

TDI Lifer, Member #131
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Location
Kensington, Maryland USA
TDI
2015 Jetta SEL TDI
Jeff,
I sincerely hope that you don't think this is unique to you guys......
I have been to 5 of the 6 Fest's and your very situation has plagued each and every one
The First 2 were virtually pulled off by one Person!!
Rene(Valois) did the 1st Mickey did the 2nd one.....
The Club Members here love to wait until the last minute.
I don't believe that will ever change and I believe your numbers will never waiver either.
And if you will note with the exception of the few Diehards you will be basically hosting a regional event.....
You guys stated that 85% of the sign-ups were from Midwestern states!
With the exception of your Fest in which I stated early on that I wasn't intending to attend because I didn't care for the Format I was always one of the first to sign up and pay!!
As It was it seemed to have worked out great!
I have been attending GTG'S since early 1999 and I have never witnessed the variety and number of TDI's present at your Fest.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Perhaps some current events slowed some last minute "pop-ins" that were not registered.

I attended '02 in Grand Rapids and had a decent time, but it was a far drive, and of course much farther for some others.

I think perhaps a better list of events, vendor participation, and some magazine coverage as well as VOA's blessing would help immensely.

I attended a water-cooled show at VOA's HQ a few years ago and they hosted a really nice event. Tough to say if they would turn the other way if Upsolute, RC, biodiesel folks, etc. were in their lot, but they seemed to have no problem with Nuespeed and others there.
 

eschady

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2002
Location
Milton, WI
TDI
2003 Jetta GL Black w/gray int.
I think perhaps a better list of events, vendor participation, and some magazine coverage as well as VOA's blessing would help immensely.
I can't say enough for the job Jeff did lining up vendors. I think he put together a really good list. And this isn't something he could really control. We were obviously looking for vendors the whole time.

We did all we could to get press coverage. We sent out press realeases to all the local papers and news stations, as well as to magazines. We did make WI Public Radio which did lead to quite a few emails from people interested mainly in the biodiesel portion of the Fest.

As for a better list of events, this is almost a catch-22. It is hard to come up with more events unless you KNOW you will have more people. We took a big gamble in getting the Dyno. We came out ahead a little, but could have easily lost money on the Dyno. If we KNEW 185+ people were going to come, we probably would have done a lot of stuff differently. But a month from the Fest, we only knew 35 people were coming. We didn't want so many events people were scattered around (plus we'd end up having more volunteers than Fest participants).
 

leicaman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
TDI
2015 Golf TDI SE, 2005 TDI GLS, RIP
Being a member of the media, talked to several media types who would be on the job on Saturday. Apparently it was more important to be at the Badgers game than to learn about becoming self reliant as a nation (ala biodiesel). I didn't offer anything to my paper other than the press release. We generally do not use anything that isn't in our direct circulation area. I did see we got two Sheboyganites (myself included) to indicate attendance. On the good side of things, my former landlord of 6 years when I moved to town has a jetta TDI now when I bumped into him today. I sent him links to the club, http://www.tdiparts.com, http://www.frostheater.com, and
http://www.worldimpex.com/ He was looking for a winter heater and I am sure this type of heater will be his shopping list. It was good to give back to a great landlord.
 

ymz

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 12, 2003
Location
Between Toronto & Montreal
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI Wagon, 2003 Jetta TDI Wagon
The TDI is a niche car... best suited for certain types of people - in general, ones who drive a lot... Many of them may have rather hectic schedules, which may prevent them from planning too far ahead for events such as this...

In my case... logistics and timing conspired! During the Toronto Fest, I was in Boston... during the Boston Fest, I was in Toronto...

Sometimes you just have to get the word out, and hope that folks show up (yes, I know, it's difficult to plan things that way...)

Wish I could have found the time to trek down to Wisconsin this year, but... life gets in the way, often...

Yuri.
 

251

TDI Owner/Operator
Joined
May 11, 2002
Location
NW IN
TDI
2015 Passat TDI SEL
We want the lowest price fuel and the most distance from that fuel. We want the lowest price hotel rooms and ask about camping facilities to further lower costs. We have no incentive for early registration, and no penalty for late registrations.
I buy my fuel according to quality, not price. If you run biodiesel then you are not getting the same distance from it compared to dino diesel which still shines in that area. My incentive for early registration was a $55 per night room - it was about $68 with Fest discount IIRC. If I really wanted to save money I'd sleep in the car.

Since this same subject keeps coming up every year maybe a large annual Fest event is better off not being done and instead regional gatherings where proceeds go to Fred's (such as the Michigan group's Memorial Day GTG event does) are more suited to the masses here. As we are all specualating here there is no clear answer on what to do. The fact does remain that every year the Fest looks like it will fail to pull in the numbers and yet at the last minute somehow makes it. If I had the answers I would tell you so things could be done that way to insure success.

BTW my main criteria for attending a Fest is if it's within one day's (1000 miles or under) drive but may consider furthur off destinations as well depending on where they are held.
 

bluenb1

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2003
Location
Wisconsin, USA
TDI
New Beetle, 98, Blue
I think perhaps a better list of events, vendor participation, and some magazine coverage as well as VOA's blessing would help immensely.
Ok, I'll ask. What kind of better events? Let's see, we had a rally, slow speed skills course, shop time, pig roast, ice cream social, banquet, dyno, show-n-shine...what else? Help me, I'm getting old. Everything listed above was FREE except for the banquet and dyno and those were pretty inexpensive. I'm curious.

As far as vendors go...I approached nearly EVERY single TDI vendor that sells here at TDIClub.com. Look at the list! I even had tdiclub stickers, hats, oils, you name it. A lot of it came from smaller vendors that only sell that one item like the hats and stickers. I ordered the last of the stock of the TDI lapel pins from blue_camel (I probabaly am spelling his screen name wrong so please correct me and I apologize) There were a lot of vendors that I approached that sold outside TDIClub but they opted not too participate. People like Crutchfield, VWoA and many others. So, I don't know what more I could have done? I think we had a good assortment of vendors and the key players were all there including the VW rally race team.

I sent out numerous announcements and copies of the press release. We got in a few of the local papers. I had a radio interview with Wisconsin public radio. They were the only ones that showed any interest. Believe me, I sent the release to a slew of media folks, newpaper, radio and TV alike. I even sent it to the Vortex, newbeetle.org and .net among others asking for them to simply post the fest on their news pages. I had the Vortex and one other contact me...but they never put it on their web sites. Makes me want to visit them that much more. Maybe if I was to state that there was going to be 3000 VW's (TDI's) coming they may have perked up their ears a bit more but when I put in the press release that there was going to be 100-150 atendees from the TDIClub they turned their noses the other way? Like Ed states, it's a catch 22. I'm sure it will grow in size as time goes by. Later, J
 

stevesalick

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2005
Location
Menomonee Falls, WI,United States
TDI
Golf GLS, 2000, Green
I think it's just the day and age we live in. I used to work for a very large company that had many social events. Back in the 40's 50's and 60's, they had tremendous turnouts. It started declining in the 70's and by the 90's hardly anybody came. People are just "TOO BUSY"

I know your frustration, for some of you "I feel your pain" I have tried also to organize events and been disappointed, it can hurt.

Streetrod guys, it might be more like hunting, fishing, gambling. They will show up in large numbers.
 

Hamsterdiesel

TDIClub Enthusiast , Veteran Member & HO5G CoFound
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
Location
NH
TDI
1999 Golf IV, Black and now 2015 Reflex Silver Passat SE
Are diesel folks "misers" where they want something for nothing? Here they get a free web site and knowledge with no fees. Are we all too busy in our everyday lives?
The short answer is yes. Not everyone has the time and money to commit to a long distance drive on a holiday weekend. Not everyone's 'significant other' will agree to spend the last holiday of the summer with a bunch of dieselheads - no matter where the Fest is located.

What might help in the future is an additional link added to the Fest info page for those who want to donate to Fred's in lieu of travelling to the Fest. Maybe catch them in a generous mood while they are reading about all the fun we're about to have in the name of TDi's. Then we could list those names as "Here in Spirit" or some such thing, to get the 'numbers' up. I know in the Northeast there were several people unable to attend, but instead hungrily watched the fest threads and lived vicariously through the pics we've all posted. They probably didn't think about donating to the 'cause', but if approached they might have been inclined to give.

Ideas for the future...
 
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