How Magical Winter Lights Became a Multicultural Staple
of Texas Holiday Festivals

Magical Winter Lights (MWL) is a two month annual holiday celebration featuring larger-than-life lantern masterpieces developed from Chinese lantern-making techniques. Every year, 150 artists and builders work together to create an enchanting journey through more than 100 authentic lantern sets reminiscent of landmarks of the world, skylines of Houston, traditional Asian culture, and much more. As the largest lantern festival in the nation, Magical Winter Lights presents 20 acres of lantern attractions, cultural performances, character entertainment, Chinese arts & crafts, and carnival rides and games each season.


Since its inception in 2015, this festival has been a staple of Texas holiday attractions, drawing tens of thousands of attendees to the Houston area every year. After a resounding success in its inaugural season, MWL fully immersed itself in the Houston community by participating in the city’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, joining the Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting, and helping the Galveston Food Bank in their efforts to provide meals to those affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.


Today, Magical Winter Lights continues to create immersive works of art to present a fresh, multicultural take on holiday light shows. “I wanted to create a festival that took a unique approach to traditional Christmas light shows,” said Yusi An, Founder and Executive Producer of Magical Winter Lights. “I had never curated an event before, and it was a huge undertaking, but I was very passionate about making this dream a reality. I’m really happy with what this event has become.”

Illuminating the Need for a Better Solution


As MWL grew into a massive hit with Houstonians, An and her colleagues quickly realized the importance of employing the services of a reliable ticketing partner. After working with two different ticketing partners over the course of their first two seasons, Magical Winter Lights found that neither could provide them with the data, insights, and time they needed. “There was a lot of data we wanted to dig into,” An said, “but our previous ticketing systems were so clunky and hard to use, it was impossible to get the accurate insights we needed.” For the sake of their continued success, they knew they would need a solution that offered not only a user-friendly, modern system, but also advanced marketing knowledge and robust reporting tools. However, not many ticketing partners were able to handle the demand their unique festival attracted.


Underwhelming Reporting

When hosting an event that welcomes tens of thousands of attendees every year, being able to harness and understand the constantly-evolving data that comes with it is crucial. The MWL team needed complete assurance that the data they were pulling was accurate and easy to understand, but their previous ticketing partners fell short in real-time reporting, providing visualizations of ticket trends, and maintaining constant access to customer information. “To us, ensuring our numbers are correct at any given time is so important,” An said. “During event hours, for example, I need a real-time breakdown of the scan logs at every gate to keep track of our capacity hour-by-hour. Without a ticketing partner that can provide that kind of in-depth data, we’re lost.” That being said, few systems could provide that level of granularity for that amount of data.



“Our first two years were really hard. It was such a relief when we found ShowClix.”

- Yusi An, Founder and Executive Producer of Magical Winter Lights



Outdated Hardware

With thousands of people pouring through their gates within a short 3-hour window every day, Magical Winter Lights needed advanced, easy-to-use technology to welcome each guest quickly and efficiently. They wanted a ticketing partner that could offer fast, intuitive hardware their seasonal staff could easily master. “The ticket scanners provided by our previous ticketing partners were disappointing,” An explained. “They were really bulky, and too often the scanning didn’t work, so we’d be forced to manually enter ticket barcodes. We simply couldn’t continue like that.” With continually growing interest in their event, they needed better tools to create a streamlined admissions process that would minimize queuing and wait times.


Lacking Marketing Support

Being able to track their customers’ purchase paths across their entire website and third-party marketing accounts was a top priority for An and her team, but they didn’t have the time to oversee the implementation process. With so many moving parts, An and her team needed to be confident enough to trust the set-up of their marketing analytics to an outside team. “Our customers are the center of our entire operation, so knowing how they think and what they want is essential. Finding the right team to entrust that responsibility with is a big decision that we didn’t take lightly,” An said.

A New Technology Partner Shines Through


After two seasons of less than stellar ticketing partners, Magical Winter Lights finally found a solution that could provide everything they were looking for. “Our first two years were really hard. It was such a relief when we found ShowClix,” An said. She and her team were originally drawn to ShowClix because of the system’s infinite reporting capabilities, but they quickly realized the event technology solution had so much more to offer. “I asked a lot of questions before we sealed the deal with ShowClix, and the knowledge and experience of everyone I talked to blew me away.”



“This is what a modern ticketing system should look like. Every year, ShowClix provides training and tools to my team to ensure that we have the best event possible, and the difference is noticeable from both a staff and attendee standpoint.”

- Yusi An, Founder and Executive Producer of Magical Winter Lights



Granular Reporting and Insights

When it came to reporting needs, ShowClix stood out far beyond the rest. Their robust Report Builder tool allowed Magical Winter Lights to create infinitely customizable reports that provided highly granular data in regards to financials, scan logs, coupons, and much more. “Reporting is the backbone of our operations,” An said. “During event season, I look at our data by the half-hour. So having a reporting tool that can give me both real-time and retroactive information is a godsend.” ShowClix’s data and reporting capabilities also enabled MWL to pull segmented daily attendee lists, allowing them to run regular email campaigns to select customers, and to ask those who already attended to complete a survey about their experience.

Streamlined Admissions

Tapping into ShowClix’s powerful technology, Magical Winter Lights was able to completely transform their admissions process. Attendee information was now easily searchable via handheld devices, and the ability to scan a single QR code for multiple tickets made it much easier to quickly admit families and large groups. By utilizing more sophisticated ticket scanning hardware, the festival could easily manage massive crowds, get excited attendees through the gate faster, and monitor capacity from night to night. “This is what a modern ticketing system should look like,” An said. “Every year, ShowClix provides training and tools to my team to ensure that we have the best event possible, and the difference is noticeable from both a staff and attendee standpoint.”


Marketing Guidance

Where other ticketing partners offered little to no marketing guidance, ShowClix provided a team of experienced marketing experts to advise Magical Winter Lights on best practices to drive ticket sales, engage their customers, and gain new insight into their business. The ShowClix Marketing Services team worked directly with Magical Winter Lights’ marketing agency, so An and her team never had to lift a finger. “The Marketing Services Team is always there to give us a new perspective or a second opinion when we need it. I could really trust them to work with our agency and act as representatives of our business,” said An. The teams worked together to integrate tracking pixels across Magical Winter Lights’ entire website and event listings, as well as ensure all their third-party marketing accounts were properly set up and optimized for success.

ShowClix Delivers Results



19%

Average YoY increase in ticket sales
since partnering with ShowClix

7+

Hours saved per week with
ShowClix’s reporting tools

<1

Second to scan orders
with multiple tickets

100%

Visibility into all online marketing
activities and customer records

ShowClix is the Trusted Event Technology Partner


As Magical Winter Lights looks to the future, they will continue to connect people from all backgrounds with their enchanting Chinese lantern attractions. They trust that ShowClix will always be by their side to offer expert guidance, help them dive deep into customer data, and enhance their attendee experiences.



“Every member on their team goes above and beyond. I truly believe they always have my event’s best interest in mind, and that I can come to them for advice about anything.”

- Yusi An, Founder and Executive Producer of Magical Winter Lights



Offering much more than just ticketing, ShowClix will continue to be the go-to event technology partner to Magical Winter Lights, providing them with exceptional reporting capabilities, powerful tools to improve access control and admissions processes, and dedicated marketing support from experts in the field. “Every member on their team goes above and beyond. I truly believe they always have my event’s best interest in mind, and that I can come to them for advice about anything.”

“Out of all the ticketing partners I’ve used and known, ShowClix has been, by far, the most advanced. Their reporting and access to extremely granular data is something I really value, and it’s the reason I'll keep using their system for years to come. If you value recording attendance, understanding your data, and great people, this is the solution you need.”

- Yusi An, Founder and Executive Producer, Magical Winter Lights

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