The Rise of the Experiential Consumer

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As any race director who’s been in the business for awhile will tell you, what participants expect from events and races has changed quite a bit in the past few years. The good news is that there are more people who are participating—the number of U.S. race finishers has increased by 80% since the year 2000*–but keeping them happy is getting harder. In other words, participation is on the rise but so are the demands of participants.

colorThese participant expectations all revolve around gaining a quality and unique experience—we are dealing with experiential consumers.  Experience is the new luxury and people are Instagramming pictures and strapping Go Pro cameras to their heads to capture and share their experiences.  ACTIVE Network and RaceHQ decided to partner up because we recognize the impact this trend will have on event directors.  Both of our companies provide technology to make the lives of event directors easier—we handle the details, automating and organizing them—because you have more pressure than ever to create those filter-worthy, camera-ready experiences.

So how do you build a quality experience for your participants, whether they’re newbies or veterans?  Here are three event elements that will make the experiential consumer happy:

1. Be Social
There has been a huge increase in team and group participation, largely due to the popularity of

“fun” events (non-competitive, Mob™-style events), which encourage teams. But now this phenomenon has permeated more traditional and competitive events and it’s more important than ever for your event to promote a collective experience. People want to try something new with their friends and post about it on Facebook, using the event as an extension of their social life. Offering team, group, charity, and relay options when registering will help you increase your numbers and reach people who wouldn’t normally participate in races.

3. Go Mobile
Approximately  58% of smartphone users don’t go one hour without checking their phones!** If people are staring at this gadget for hours upon hours a day, then your event needs to be on that screen in some form or another. Here are a few ideas how:

  • Optimize your results page to be mobile enabled. Participants want results asap, and odds are they’ll have their phones or tablets with them as soon as they finish the race. Deliver results to the palms of their hands versus making them track down results printouts on boards at the finish line.
  • Offer training apps like the Couch-to-5K or 5K-to-10K app to keep participants engaged and excited about your event.
  • Use QR codes on marketing materials. With just a quick scan of that black-and-white box using their smartphone, people can access your registration page, results, and more.
  • Encourage mobile sharing on social media channels, which brings us to #3…

3. Encourage Facebragging

Facebragging, more formally known as “wanting social proof,” is something we’re all prone to. It’s no longer enough to have completed something—it needs to be shared on social media for the experience to reach its full potential. For events, this means you need to think about more than just the finish line hero pose. Encourage participants to capture and share every step of the event lifecycle, from registering to training to the course to the post-race celebration.  Hold social media contents for best photo or video, make event day as visually vivid as possible, sell creative merchandise, etc.  Engaging participants online and getting them to Facebrag will ultimately increase your event’s exposure and help it go viral.

However you decide to do it, the most important thing is to make your event an experience to remember because that is what participants are expecting.


ACTIVE Network’s event management technology makes it easier for event directors to create experiences participants will love to Facebrag about. Learn more




Shannon Fiack is the Senior Writer for ACTIVE Network, Endurance and also manages and writes for ACTIVE’s Event Director Blog, a free resource for industry news, best practices, and new ideas.



*Running USA, State of the Sport – U.S. Race Trends

**Mobile Mindset Study by Harris Interactive, June 2012

Announcing the Partnership of ACTIVE Network & RaceHQ

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From the Official Press Release


SAN DIEGO, Calif. — July 1, 2013 —The ACTIVE Network, Inc. (NYSE:ACTV), the leader in cloud-based Activity and Participant Management™ (APM) solutions, today announced a strategic partnership with RaceHQ™.  RaceHQ is a first-of-its-kind project management tool built specifically for event directors.  RaceHQ’s comprehensive set of features includes templates featuring built-in event planning tools, the ability to sync external calendars with tasks and milestones, and advanced permissions that allow users to collaborate with other members within their organization. With access to more than five million endurance participants, ACTIVE Network continues to cultivate a legion of enthusiasts and provides a robust technology platform, ACTIVE Works® Endurance, to power the online registration and membership management for race directors.  The ACTIVE Works platform helps race directors manage their events more efficiently while helping streamline the process for athletes throughout the participant journey.

“ACTIVE Network is in the business of helping organizers create great experiences and encouraging consumers to engage with them, and by identifying and working with partners like RaceHQ we further our commitment of providing the best resources to race directors in order to accomplish their goals,” said Eric McCue, general manager of sports, ACTIVE Network. “Companies such as Ruckus Sports, organizers of the Ruckus Obstacle Racing Series and The Walking Dead Escape, as well as VAVi Sport & Social have leveraged both RaceHQ and ACTIVE Network to orchestrate mass participatory race events – moving forward, we are very excited to be working with RaceHQ on ways to co-promote and integrate our technologies to better support event directors in producing great events.”

“Our strategic partnership with ACTIVE Network allows us to get our tool into the hands of a broader audience of event managers and will have the ability to raise the bar on how mass participatory events are managed by creating standard operating procedures within our industry,” said Anton Villatoro, president and co-founder, RaceHQ. “We look forward to leveraging ACTIVE’s deep relationships within endurance sports to take more events to the next level.”

About RaceHQ
RaceHQ is an online project management, collaboration and task management tool for participatory events. Developed specifically for event managers, RaceHQ incorporates a comprehensive set of features to more efficiently operate and execute events within budget every time. RaceHQ replaces the clipboard and yellow notepad by allowing race directors to easily take control of their events online using any device, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. Learn more at and engage with us on Twitter @Race_HQ and on Facebook.

About ACTIVE Network
ACTIVE Network (NYSE: ACTV) is on a mission to make the world a more active place. With deep expertise in Activity and Participant Management™ (APM), our ActiveWorks® cloud technology helps organizations transform and grow their businesses. We do this through technology solutions that power the world’s activities and through online destinations such as® that connect people with the things they love to do. Serving over 55,000 global business customers and driving approximately 90 million transactions annually, we help organizations get participants, manage their events and build communities. ACTIVE Network is headquartered in San Diego, California and has over 30 offices worldwide. Learn more at or and engage with us on Twitter @ACTIVEnetwork@ACTIVE and on Facebook.

About Forward-Looking Statements
The Active Network, Inc. cautions you that the statements included in this press release that are not a description of historical facts are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Any such statements are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. More detailed information about The Active Network, Inc. and the risks and uncertainties that may affect the realization of these forward-looking statements is set forth in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These filings may be read free of charge on the SEC’s website at You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and The Active Network, Inc. undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.


© 2013 The Active Network, Inc. All rights reserved., ActiveWorks, are registered trademarks of The Active Network, Inc. ACTIVE Network, Activity and Participant Management is a trademark of The Active Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Read the letter from RaceHQ President 

View original press release