My Experience with the LA Crawl (@TCA_LA) and Creating a Tri-City Impact

12:29 PM

This past summer a friend and I participated in the LA Crawl "a celebratory event to socially connect the tri-city region [Santa Monica (SaMo), Culver City, and Los Angels] utilizing the expanded Expo Line". Two types of tickets were sold
  • General: $22 - pub crawl ticket + Metro Tap Card, or 
  • VIP:  $30 - pub crawl ticket + Metro Tap Card + Post Wrap Party + LA Crawl T-shirt + Spa Certificate valued at $40
The process went something in the ways of entering in your zip code, and then the site would create a crawl for you in a neighborhood outside of your own. This could be done as an individual or as a team; we chose the team option. However, if you were on a team there was no specific "leader" nor way to sync crawl routes, so my friend and I had two separate routes, hers in SaMo and mine in Downtown LA (DTLA). After a series of phone calls to the number provided by the site we just decided to go with her route since there was no way to correct the situation. We chose the VIP option and obtained our materials at the designated pick up locations indicated in our confirmation emails.

The day of the event, we took the Expo Line to the last stop in Santa Monica and proceeded to follow the route provided by the site; there was not an app component so we had to log in to the site to view the map. Though we wore VIP bands, none of the locations we patronized knew about the Crawl or had any real special rates for the event. The spa certificate was for first time visitors, which my friend was not, so it was of no use to her, and the wrap party moved venues and ended up being about 10 of us in a small pub. (This is only for the SaMo crawl, there was also a party in DTLA that I do not know the outcome of.)

Needless to say the event itself was not what I would consider a success, though after speaking with the creator of the crawl he explained to me that their main objective was creating a data base (which mostly consisted of emails). Since I paid $30 for something I could have done on my own I decided that my two cents were also welcomed. Below is a comprehensive view of that two cents. There was a meeting with council members planned for Tri-City Alliance (the creators of the Crawl), but I don't know if it happened or what the outcome of that meeting was in the event it did occur. I took to their social media pages, which have not had any activity either at all, or since the time of the Crawl.

Creating  a Tri-City Impact

The basic idea behind the Crawl was great, it was the execution that was incomplete.

Metro Partnership - Have a Tap Card with the LA Crawl Logo
The founder informed me that due to the event promoting the consumption of alcohol there could not be a formal relationship with Metro. (as a citizen I would think that it would be the opposite to keep people from driving while intoxicated, however I never looked further into this). However, if the main objective is to create diversity in these three cities and the new expanded Expo Line, then promoting the exploration of these cities without the specific emphasis on the local bars could remedy that.

Homelessness - Have an Accountability of Funds
The site states that the event was to benefit LA's homeless, however there was never any information (before or after the event) that provided in detail:
  1. If any portion of the ticket purchase was tax deductible
  2. A formal partnership with any city initiative, shelter, or other organization that supports homelessness 
  3. How much was raised and where those funds were sent. 
Technology - Creating Accessibility
Having an option for the creation of teams on multiple accounts would have been ideal. Without the necessity of a team leader, patrons should be able to:
  • Create a team, 
  • Invite members to the team
  • Look up/join a team
  • Sync routes for team members 
  • Receive push notifications in the event of any changes like with the Post Wrap Party
I understand that apps are not cheap, so the creators of the event may have not had that capacity, however, while building their site the above would have been ideal. Also a partnership with FourSquare, Yelp, Open Table and/or any other "check-in" site that allows for location identification to provide stats of participation.

Logistics and Metrics - Mutual Benefit for Businesses and Tri-City Alliance
The part that I understood least was why there were no metrics put in place to determine success of the event. There were basic logistical measures I recommend to put into place:
  • Signage outside of each venue to distinguish participating businesses 
  • Informed hostesses and staff of the event to acknowledge VIP-band wearing patrons, in the event they do not have a reservation for that specific venue
After the event select data could have been recorded and reported to the necessary local officials in order to receive wider support and promotion of the next event (no next event has been advertised. Both local businesses and officials could have also benefited from the below: 
  • Demographic information of participants by zip code: 
    • Age and Gender 
    • How far from their zip codes where they willing to travel (I was around 25 miles from my current zip code) 
    • Average dollars spent in these areas 
  • Revenue from the Crawl Alone: 
    • With a prix fix menu, or Crawl specific designation for revenue recording from each participating business would allow them and the city to have a tangible number of the event's impact on local business. 
    • Elimination of the $20 and $30 fee and partner with an organization to donate a portion of the proceeds to homelessness alleviation efforts in LA, or have the Tshirt available for purchase with 100% proceeds being donated. If we have to pay for food and drinks at each of the places there is no need to also charge $30 for a tee and $7 metro card.
Again, the Tri-City Alliance has a good idea and concept, however, the execution can stand for revisiting. This can be a great idea for not just restaurants but for local art galleries, boutiques, and other services that are normally looked over by tourists who migrate to big businesses and chains they are familiar with.

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