Technology / 05.22.18
8 Predictions From the C-Suite: Forecasting Ticketing Trends and Innovations
Ticketing is a diverse and rapidly evolving industry. With so many ways for people to be entertained, new ideas to get fans through the venue door and keep them coming back are more important than ever. Here are eight ticketing industry trends that C-Suite software executives predict we’ll see ramping up this year.
- Data security and compliance
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on May 25, 2018, and it has implications for ticketing companies and their clients around the world.
“With the GDPR deadline looming and Congress looking into the misuse of personally identifiable information, our industry is going to be required to provide solutions that give ticket buyers confidence that their data is being protected and used properly,” said Eugene Carr, president of Patron Technology. “In the past, data security was something that most ticketing organizations didn't have a lot of internal competence in, but that will change as the press continues to report on data breaches and the protection of personal information.”
This is no buzzword or short-lived trend. Blockchain is here and it’s already making waves in ticketing.
Together with a cryptocurrency pioneer, former Ticketfly president and co-founder Dan Teree has launched a startup that could help transition ticketing to the same type of distributed ledger technology that powers Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. The startup is called Tari, and according to Billboard, “Tari will have its own cryptocurrency — called 'Tari Tokens' — and plans to tackle ticketing as one of the first use cases for the open source platform.” Ultimately, Tari aims to help consumers trade and monetize digital assets, like trading rewards program points and prizes won in video games for event tickets.
The NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings are both now accepting cryptocurrency for ticket purchases. The distributed ledger technology also has the potential to drive positive change in the secondary market by guaranteeing the authenticity of tickets, confirming ownership and offering pricing transparency.
Patron Technology’s Eugene Carr calls it “a transformative new technology in our industry,” and says that regardless of what you think blockchain is or may become, none of us will escape the hype that surrounds it. Carr also predicts we will see an increasing number of companies experimenting with proof-of-concept solutions built on blockchain platforms.
- Continued push toward mobile and digital tickets
Today’s consumers want instant gratification when it comes to purchasing tickets. Ideally, that means discovering an event and securing their seats in just a few clicks on any mobile device.
“Mobile devices are faster, more powerful and have larger displays that make both browsing and buying easier than ever,” said Kim Damron, president and CEO of Paciolan. “Ticketing companies are now delivering a better, more enhanced customer journey on mobile. For example, all of the digital marketing efforts that venues are deploying are fully mobile optimized to drive sales. Customers are then able to use a pick your own seat map on their mobile device to easily select and buy tickets.”
From there, Damron says, instant delivery to a mobile wallet gives customers a convenient way to enter the venue or, if they can’t attend, instantly transfer the tickets to friends or family.
“We will continue to see ongoing innovation and progression in mobile ticketing in the future,” she predicts.
Lynne King Smith, CEO of TicketForce, agrees we are trending heavily toward the mobile purchase experience. But, she cautions, there is a lot of room to improve as an industry and get it right for ticket buyers.
“There are many options for ticketing providers, and the buying experience is so incredibly varied from technology to technology,” said King Smith. “Some have interactive maps that help the buyer; others could be best described as a mess. In our efforts to try to do everything in one place — arts in particular — [we] are not focused on how people buy today and as technology providers. We really need to get that right. [We need to focus on] easy browsing experiences for seat selection, shorter checkout pages, cleaner and easier shopping carts, and everything mobile.”
Ticketmaster says there is a continued push towards mobile and digital tickets and believes this is the hottest trend in the ticketing industry. One example that is working well for Ticketmaster is its new partnership with the National Football League (NFL) through which Ticketmaster Presence is replacing paper tickets with digital passes. Next season, the NFL will have a fully digital ticketing infrastructure.
More than anything, this change is being driven by fan behavior and expectations,” said Justin Burleigh, Chief Product Officer for Ticketmaster. “Take the airline industry for example. Travelers used to have to buy their tickets through a travel agent, arrive to the airport, check in at the front desk, get their tickets printed up, head to their gate, and stand in line while the ticketing agent took their ticket. Compare that experience to 2018, where travelers are able to buy their tickets, check in to their flights, and get their ticket scanned all with their mobile device. It’s an evolution that has made travel easier and safer. That very same kind of tech advancement is happening for live event ticketing right now.”
Burleigh also told Access that fans will soon be able to receive alerts when there is a more efficient way to enter a venue by using another door or gate.
- Reaching wider audiences via distribution channels
The ways that customers find things to do is becoming increasingly fragmented. Leveraging the power of multi-channel distribution amplifies entertainment offerings so that venues and promoters can sell more tickets.
“One of the trends we are seeing right now is an expansion of integrated distribution channels that enable patrons to buy tickets directly from venues,” said Paciolan’s Kim Damron. “A good example of this is Facebook, where ticketing companies are allowing customers to buy live ticket inventory directly through Facebook and deliver a barcoded ticket instantly to their mobile device. At Paciolan, we are also partnering with StubHub to allow venues to publish primary inventory to both their branded website and StubHub simultaneously. With the integrated system, once the live inventory is purchased, the ticket is instantly removed from both StubHub and their venue website. This gives greater reach for the venue to connect with more customers and [it] protects both the patron and the venue with integrity of the ticket.”
At the same time, TicketForce’s Lynne King Smith is “concerned that there is a lot of ‘outside and uninformed’ money and interest driving companies to build stuff that doesn’t really do anything for anyone. For example, SeatGeek and others attempt to have an aggregate site that will allow people to browse cross-platform for tickets. This doesn’t work unless you have 100 percent buy-in, which didn’t happen. I get calls and emails regularly from someone who is going to revolutionize our market with a new technology that is most often misinformed. Yet, we chase these things down and at the end of the day, they deliver little or no value to our box offices and most importantly, our patrons.”
- Right price at the right time to increase sales and margins
“Dynamic pricing is not a moral dilemma. It is an imperative to raise more revenue,” said Jack Rubin, CEO of Tessitura. “Organizations have figured out how to offer a wide-range of prices and thus always fulfill their purpose to reach a broad audience, and they are using data and tools and appropriate communication to micro-target specific seats, times and performances based on data that is continually updated.”
- The truly unified database
Tessitura’s Jack Rubin says we can expect to see more entertainment organizations using a single data repository to improve service, sell more tickets and raise more money. Being able to identify a patron’s purchase history and engagement pattern, he says, allows for precisely targeted communications and fundraising asks.
“It is virtually impossible to operate an organization efficiently with multiple databases that do not talk to each other,” he said.
- Personalization in a cookie-cutter world
“Ticketing companies are being asked to provide their customers with deeper and deeper insights into ticket buyers than ever before,” said Patron Technology’s Eugene Carr. “That's why CRM, data analytics and analysis will become an increasingly important topic in client conversations.”
Tessitura’s Jack Rubin says organizations will increasingly use data to understand what consumers value, and then create experiences that deliver. “Organizations need to be careful in their communications and service delivery so that all are highly personalized. There are too many alternative forms of entertainment, that consumers will vote with their time to go elsewhere,” he said.
- Continued industry consolidation
“The growing consolidation of many ticketing companies, via acquisitions by private equity companies and conglomerates, will see dramatic changes, sunsetting of products, and demand for higher returns,” said Tessitura’s Jack Rubin. “Owners will demand high return on their large investments, and ultimately the disruption will cause many organizations to switch systems, due to the fact that what they thought they were buying or contracting for is no longer there.”
Access is always interested in hearing from its readers. If you have predictions about trailblazing changes that are emerging in ticketing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore the state of live event ticketing at the INTIX 40th Annual Conference, taking place Jan 29-31, 2019, in Texas. Don't miss this three-day event that includes a comprehensive educational program highlighting industry trends and innovations, an exhibition featuring companies that offer a wide range of ticketing products and services and opportunities to network with peers and business partners. We hope to see you in Texas!
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Tags: Paperless , Security , Blockchain , Mobile , Digital Marketing , Personalization