Live Nation looks for a hit with Vibee music-travel mashup

This November at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas, fans of Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow and Nile Rodgers will dance in the sand, revel at pool parties and be able to chat with Richie during a Q&A session.

The event is among the first being launched by Vibee, Live Nation’s new “music-led destination experience” arm.

Although the entertainment heavyweight has dabbled in travel in the past — with some Live Nation-produced events featuring hotel package add-ons, for example — Vibee is the company’s first major foray in the space.

Harvey Cohen, president of Vibee, said that Live Nation’s need for a dedicated travel platform became clear as the pandemic began to wane.

“As the world opened back up, we witnessed a renewed appreciation for community and real-life music experiences, especially at more of a boutique level,” Cohen said. “So we saw a real opportunity and demand to build out-of-this-world trips for music fans.”

How does Vibee work?

Under the Vibee business model, travel experiences are developed in two distinct ways. The first involves forging partnerships with existing concerts, festivals and other events under the Live Nation Entertainment umbrella, with Vibee coming in to create exclusive travel packages for attendees. The second model centers on curated experiences that are “built from the ground up” by Vibee.

In one example of the plug-in partnership model, Vibee has been tapped to handle all hospitality and VIP packages for the U2:UV Achtung Baby shows at the Sphere, a new venue opening this fall at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.

“U2 is one of our biggest projects right now,” Cohen said. “And as opposed to just flying into Vegas and figuring it all out, we’re saying, ‘If you buy this package and get yourself to Vegas, you can leave the rest to us.'”

In addition to early ticket access and priority entry at the venue, attendees purchasing a U2 travel package through Vibee will get two nights at the Venetian, access to restaurant reservations at the resort and access to a dedicated fan portal, which will have details on immersive experiences and offer limited-edition merch available exclusively to those who have purchased the package. Prices for the U2 packages start at just over $1,700.

Among Vibee’s curated experiences this year is Richie’s Dancing on the Sand event, running from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 at Atlantis. Headlined by Richie, the three-night experience will also feature guest performances from artists including Crow, Rodgers and Vanessa Carlton. The event capacity will be limited to a relatively intimate 3,000 fans.

Entry-level Dancing on the Sand packages, which start at just over $1,900 per person, are inclusive of accommodations and various events and pool parties, including a Rewind Revue ’80s dance party and the Q&A with Richie.

Plans to work with travel advisors

While Vibee has yet to launch a formal travel advisor program, Cohen said the group is already getting inquiries from advisors and hopes to develop “a more in-depth plan for travel agents and travel partners.”

“We’re always open if anybody wants to connect with us,” he said, adding that any interested partners should reach out via the Vibee website. “We’re happy to discuss everything on a case-by-case basis.”

Cohen said Vibee is also fielding a wave of requests from hotel partners and tourism boards looking to collaborate on events.

“A lot of properties use entertainment as a leisure driver, but generally, they’re never going to benefit from the same sort of economics of scale that Live Nation does,” Cohen said. “Working with Vibee allows more of these properties to tap into a level of artists that might otherwise be out of their reach. And it also allows them to tap a completely different market of leisure guests.”

Cohen said Vibee is making sure not to pigeonhole itself in terms of music genre or format. Vibee’s 2023 lineup, for example, includes a 1990s country music experience in Nashville in September dubbed the Honky-Tonk Homecoming as well as its EDSea electronic dance music and cruise festival, set to take place aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy in early November.

Another priority, said Cohen, is ensuring packages are customizable, with a wide range of accommodation options available at different price tiers. 

“The guy who always wants to sit front row doesn’t necessarily also need the five-star hotel,” Cohen said. “And we never want to price people out of opportunities wherever possible.”

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