Leadership / 11.21.18
The Live Events and Entertainment Industry Is Thankful for You!
Do you ever feel underappreciated? We all do, from time to time. Expressions of gratitude can lighten our load, renew our purpose and simply put a smile on our faces.
With that in mind, we spoke with an artist, athletics director, industry influencers and a fan to celebrate ticketing professionals. We are delighted to share their thoughts — and thanks — for all the work you do.
It’s also our way of wishing our U.S. members, colleagues and friends a Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you from Richard Koons
Richard Koons is an actor and singer who performed as Squelch in the first national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Love Never Dies.
“The audience experience starts with the ticketing professional. Whether a patron is buying tickets online or calling in, however they are doing it — from the moment they book a ticket to the moment they pick up a ticket to the moment they go into the theater — it’s all one experience. If at any time the audience isn’t having a good experience, it impacts the outcome in the end. I think it’s really important what you do on the front end before the show ever starts, because it gives the audience a feel for what it is going to be like in that theater, what their total experience will be for the show.
“I can’t overstress how important it is, how integral your job is and how it impacts what we do on stage. The experience starts with you and ends with us. How the audience relates to that whole process, through dealing with ticketing professionals, impacts how they enjoy what we do. If they’ve had a bad experience on the front end, it is very hard for us to win them over. But, if they come in and have a great experience — from looking at the seats, to getting a seat to actually being in their seat — it’s much easier for us to communicate with them on the stage.
“I would like to thank you for all the hard work you do. Without ticketing professionals, nothing would run as smoothly as it does … and the experience would not be as enjoyable for our audiences.”
Thank you from Bernard Muir
Bernard Muir is Director of Athletics at Stanford University.
“Our student-athletes want to perform in front of people. They want people to delight in their success. Having that energy just adds to their overall experience and propels them to play at an even higher level.
“Our ticketing operation is critical to our overall success, especially in terms of telling the stories of what our coaches and student-athletes are accomplishing on the playing surface. They are a team that I always try to recognize when we have our all-staff meetings.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is build a community. Every time that we compete, it’s a chance for our community to come together. Obviously, there’s a business aspect to this as well too. The resources that we derive from our sound ticketing practices help us fund the overall experience for our student-athletes and enhance the overall experience. To have this group of service providers who are assisting and building relationships with our fan base and developing those relationships as we go along is critical to the overall success of the department.
“What a great way to start a career, especially if you are thinking about sport. You can learn so much about various facets of the organization by being in the ticket office. I tell young people, often, if they are trying to get into sport, there’s no better way than to get access into the areas of ticketing, sports information or development. I’m thinking about the college athletics sector, but that could be true to a degree in the pro sector as well, because you can observe, learn and understand how to deal with people, which is the most important thing. It’s a diverse audience too, which will benefit you with whatever you decide to do in your career.
“With great gratitude, we thank ticketing professionals for the services they provide. One thing that is really beneficial is that the groups tend to share information with each other and practitioners tend to share best practices, which only enhances our organization. From what I’ve gathered, there’s a sense of trying to help your fellow ticketing professional to share the best industry practices to better enhance each other’s organization. For that, we are super grateful, because it has made each of us better moving forward.
“I’m thankful, because ticketing professionals allow us to engage with our fan base and provide a better environment for the student-athletes we serve. At the same time, ticketing professionals allow people to display their passion about our teams and our programs. This builds a stronger sense of community. It really starts within our ticketing group and expands to a number of different areas in our department as we work as a united front to better service the constituencies that we do.
“I am grateful that we have a dedicated group of ticketing professionals, and I know I probably speak for other athletic directors around the country that have the same. We are building this wonderful experience called college athletics, and if it was not for our ticketing professionals, it would be a much different challenge to get people out to see these contests.”
Thank you from Linda Deckard
For those in ticketing circles, Linda Deckard needs no introduction. She’s a veteran trade journalist plus the founder and former editor of Venues Today, which was acquired in late 2016 by Oak View Group and rebranded as VenuesNow. She has recently founded a new company, Deckard and Associates, with plans to tell the industry’s story through books. Linda also is now publishing the blog Based on Truth, which presents vignettes about behind-the-scenes decision-making and emergency response in the daily lives of venue managers over the years.
“With all my years at VenuesNow/Venues Today, one of my goals in life was to recognize all the professionals that make this industry so good and strong. Ticketing professionals are essential. From the good old days when you had hard tickets, counted them and made sure there was a seat for the ticket … to the digital ways of today. You have to have a seat that matches up with the ticket. You need to have a package that matches up with the experience. The ticketing professional is the one who does that manifest, who does that seating chart, who makes sure what we’re selling is real, there, usable and available. If there is a problem with the seat because of sightlines or maybe it’s broken or dirty, you’re the ones who make sure there is an alternative. You are essential to making the live event happen.
“Linda Forlini, who was a Ticketing Star last year, told me a great story about a mother who brought her kids to the final show of Nutcracker. This was going to be their memory, this was going to be a holiday event that they would remember always, but it started early because it was the last show at the Kimmel Center [before closing for Christmas Eve]. So, she got there thinking the show was starting at a particular time, but actually that’s when it was ending. When she walked up to the door with her kids, the ticketing professional was empowered and got them into another show in another theater in the complex so that they still had a memory. The logical thing, the normal thing, the right thing if you want to think that way is to say ‘Sorry, you screwed up,’ but that’s not what we do. We try to make it right for everybody and make it the experience they came for and paid to see. It’s not who’s at fault; it’s how can we solve this problem.
“If you’re just starting out, I’d say keep your eyes open and realize ticketing is a career. That’s one of the big issues with ticketing and venue management. It has been for 20 or 30 years. People don’t know it’s a career choice, that there’s something other than being the usher or the ticket taker. There’s actually a career here if you really enjoy it. So, keep your eyes open and volunteer to do anything over and above what you were hired to do and see if you like it. If you like it, then there are plenty of opportunities for those who are passionate about it and who are skilled and eager.
“The important message to ticketing professionals who have been around a long time in particular is to embrace change. This industry is changing so quickly, and everybody knows with technology it’s still customer service; you’ve got to have a person there to interact with the other people, but you have to embrace change. It’s becoming more corporate, it’s becoming more professional, but … it’s going to change, so embrace that. See where you can make things better other than saying ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ Those are terrible words. You have to embrace ideas and keep trying things and change with the times.
“I’m thankful for ticketing professionals because they make our world work. There wouldn’t be music and sports without tickets. Tickets are the essential element. Of course, there’s the talent, but without the ticket, there is no show. I think we should be thankful, because ticketing is what it’s all about. It’s not just the Ticketmasters and the Tickets.com — it’s the individuals. Ticketers make a whole industry tick.”
Thank you from Brad Mayne
Brad Mayne, CVE, started out in ticketing and today is President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Assoc. of Venue Managers.
“I started my career back in the ‘70s as a ticket seller in the athletic department at the University of Utah. I worked my way up through the industry to where I was fortunate to have designed a couple of NHL and NBA arenas, and then worked my way to become the CEO of MetLife Stadium. The start of my career in the ticket office was the catapult for me to understand what the event business is.
“There are some people who fully recognize the importance of ticketing professionals, and there are others who take them for granted. It would be great for everybody to really understand just how important these individuals are.
“The ticketing professionals are the ones who create the manifest that starts everything moving forward in order to create the seating for the event. And, in many ways, they are the first line of professionals with whom the general public comes into contact, whether it’s personally or through the work they do. Without ticketing professionals, our industry would be struggling to create the opportunities for individuals to come and enjoy the events they want to see.
“Ticketing professionals are the cog in the wheel that makes the events happen. Ticketing is central to everything that takes place within the event. Ticketing is the opportunity to create unexpressed wishes for the general public in the way that you serve and take care of them. We all should be grateful for our ticketing professionals in all that they do for us. Without them, we would not be a successful industry.
“Always be proud of what you do. Always be proud of who you are. Always be that consummate expert, and you’ll continue to prove your worth. Don’t be afraid to celebrate your successes and let individuals know just how important you are to the organization.”
Thank you from Anne Choy
Anne Choy is an avid consumer of all types of live events. She lives in Toronto but travels to venues across North America to enjoy the best the entertainment world has to offer.
“I go to concerts, opera, lectures, sideshows, art galleries, museums and sports. I even attend events at the zoo. I’ve traveled to events in Vancouver, Quebec City, New York City, Montreal, Chicago and Wisconsin's Alpine Valley. I’ve met many of my best and lifelong friends at concerts. To this day, we continue to share experiences and bond over all types of music and live events.
“Because my life is stressful enough, knowing I have ticketing professionals who have the experience and are often fans themselves means I am in good hands. I know that having a ticket assures me entry to the events that matter to me, that I am guaranteed a spot or seat. I appreciate help in selecting seats at different venues. And sometimes, when life gets in the way, ticketing professionals have been kind enough to help me change dates for shows for a nominal fee or reprint the tickets if I mislaid them, which is easy when I am exhausted from overwork or just forget where I stashed them for safekeeping.
“Ticketing professionals — from the box office to those who work in management — work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure you can go online and buy tickets. I’d like to tell all of you that YOU ROCK! Thank you for keeping me from going crazy. And, if I am ever lucky enough to win the lottery, I expect to keep you all even busier!”
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Tags: Sports , Music , Theater , Stadium , Arts , Musicals , Broadway , Venues