A few months ago Vodafone announced the launch of its new ‘Vodafone VIP’ service. I’ll admit, I snorted rather cynically when I read about it on the website (and via the subsequent spammy press release), but earlier this month I was able to experience it first hand.
Orange has been beating its Glastonbury drum for a good while now and, combined with O2’s very own Priority pleasantries, it’s about time the last of the big three got involved. If you’re new to the UK operator market, it’s worth explaining that these value-add services are where the battle will be fought and won over the next few years. Minutes and text messages will only ever get cheaper so, as the main players finally settle on an industry-accepted price for data (nearly), it falls to the extras that will or break a sale.
This may manifest itself in device exclusivity (how many customers did O2 gain for having the iPhone as long as it did?), great customer service (thanks Voda) or other offers such as Orange Wednesdays (text 241 from an Orange SIM to get 241 entry at your cinema).
But events, it seems, are currently à la mode.
Not as big as Glastonbury (38,000 people vs. 137,000), but still very much a headline event of the festival season, I was intrigued to see what being a Vodafone VIP really meant.
First, there was the charging camper van.
Like I said earlier, Orange does something similar at Glastonbury each year with its ‘Chill n Charge’ tent. This is, as I may have mentioned before, totally and utterly useless. No one in their right mind wants to stand around waiting for their phone to charge while they’re missing some of the greatest music this planet has to offer. No one.
Vodafone, it seemed, had gone down the same route. Unless of course, you were a Vodafone customer. With your red SIM in hand, you could stroll past the people standing around under umbrellas trying to scrape an extra few minutes of power (before they had to get off to the next gig) and hand your handset over to the kind reps behind the counter. These kind folk not only charged your phone for you, but also placed it under lock and key, allowing you to wander back to the music without having to worry about someone stealing your phone while you’re gone.
Did I feel like a VIP? Yes. I did. Good job Vodafone.
But that’s not all.
There was an extra string to the VIP bow and this, is the Vodafone Viewing Platform –
That’s it there, on the left of the above image. Open to Vodafone customers only (with a plus one per SIM), the platform provided an unmatched view of the main stage and its surrounding area. We made it up there on the first day of music and it was amazing.
If I wasn’t already on Vodafone, then this would’ve signed me up. When it says ‘VIP’, that’s exactly what you get. The only thing missing was some kind of champagne reception waiting for us at the top.
Well done Voda. I for one am looking forward to seeing how you build on this next year.