As part of my job and as part of my life I naturally seek out new experiences, I also like gin! so was delighted when someone told me about The Mad Hatter’s (gin &) tea party coming to Manchester.
I looked it up on the internet and found it was being sold though a company called Fever whom I had never heard of but seemed massive, promoting events in cities all over the world.
I didn’t have a lot of detail regarding the party but it involved gin cocktails, wasn’t ridiculously expensive (c£30) and Fever seemed to have a reasonable reputation (3.5 stars on Trust Pilot) so decided to book.
Fever is the leading entertainment discovery platform, with a mission to inspire people through experiences.
Fever combines its marketplace and Secret Media Network through technology to reach over 50 million people per week. Fever has also rolled out the Fever Originals, which are proprietary events in which we follow a data-driven content creation strategy, using analytics to understand audiences and develop new experiences.
Fever is present in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Lisbon, Manchester, Chicago and Spain, and is in process of expanding to new markets. Fever is also backed by top-notch institutional investors, including Rakuten, Atresmedia, Accel Partners, Lab-Tech and 14W Ventures.
I didn’t find the website the easiest to use. Like many companies these days it seems that Fever’s priority for a smooth customer experience is via their app rather than website but eventually I managed to book 4 tickets.
COVID then hit so of course the party was postponed several times. Fever were good in communicating this but the e-mails were very standard. There was no brand personality in them either aligned to Fever or, what would have been better still, The Mad Hatter!
Typically, I was unable to make the final date that came through. After several e-mails to Fever I managed to change the date and get a credit for the one person who still couldn’t make it. They were fine about me changing the date but used some emotional blackmail (actors having a hard time at the moment) to persuade me not to apply for a refund. Once again, I found the system of cancelling the date I had been allocated and re-booking quite complicated, not helped by contradicting e-mails from customer services.
Although Fever say that their mission is to inspire people through experiences, they also mention technology, data and platforms in their description, and this comes through in dealing with them. They certainly expect a degree of technical sophistication from their customers.
The ticket confirmation e-mail was informative and sort of on brand but was strange as gave the location whilst also saying the location was secret! I was surprised and a little disappointed not to have any further engagement before the event. Seemed a good opportunity to build excitement.
There were branded standing spaces on the pavement outside the venue and a metal Mad Hatter’s hat above a discrete door which was a nice touch. Our names were checked on a list and temperature taken then went down steps to a themed corridor where we were met by an actor in costume – the Doormouse and taken to our allocated table.
We were right by the stage and told we were special which made us feel good though a little nervous. The room was very well themed in a reasonably sized basement area. There were only about 30 people there at well spaced out tables so felt quite personal and intimate but safe.
Each seat had a hat with a name on it – it was only after I had put mine on that I realised I was Alice! We were served a cocktail each and a plate of little savouries and cakes.
Costume characters were going around all the tables saying hello and having photos taken. Very good atmosphere. The next 90 minutes were filled with entertainment which was quite fun but a bit haphazard. There was a vague story running throughout it to do with time standing still and some quite random interactive ‘games’ – like drawing a Doormouse and singing the end of songs. This could have been more themed to Alice In Wonderland.
They very cleverly used the names on everyone's hats to interact which made it all feel quite personal (needless to say as Alice I got mentioned a bit!) – it was all very light hearted and friendly and they encouraged interaction between the tables (though ensured everyone stayed seated).
We were served two more unusual cocktails – one in a tea pot which was a nice touch. Time cleverly moved on at 9pm and it was time to leave.
Staff were friendly but made it clear they wanted everyone to leave quite quickly and were cleaning up around us.
Have received one standard e-mail asking to rate the experience with a smiley face emojis but nothing deeper.
In summary an enjoyable evening which was certainly quite different. There were some nice touches but also opportunities missed which would have made the whole experience from booking to leaving, but especially the entertainment, more aligned to the Mad Hatter theme.
Would book again with Fever but there are certainly opportunities to make the whole process smoother and more inspirational in line with their brand. Judging by comments on Trust Pilot some people have also experienced issues with re-booking, getting responses to queries and refunds.