Leadership / 01.25.18
7 Ticketing Industry Trends: What to Expect in 2018
The New Year is a time to reflect on what has happened and what is coming in the next 12 months. In entertainment ticketing, change and progress are the only constants.
Since this time last year, we’ve had U.S. tax reforms nix deductions on donations related to season tickets, seen music festivals experimenting with chip implants for attendees and learned email remains the most important source of information across all age groups of performing arts patrons.
We asked attendees at this year’s INTIX Annual Conference & Exhibition to share the biggest game-changers they see in the pipeline for 2018.
Here are seven predictions for ticketing industry trends that we’ll see ramping up in the coming year.
- Subscription Ticketing Takes Off
Anthony Esposito, VP of Ticket Operations for the Atlanta Braves, predicts we’ll see subscription-based ticketing skyrocket. For the past two seasons, the Braves have been testing the waters using the INWEGO app powered by Experience. Like Netflix and Hulu, INWEGO offers unlimited access for a monthly fee — and you can cancel anytime. Subscribers can go to any events in Atlanta that have a partnership with Experience — from professional and college sports to concerts, festivals and more.
“In the summer in Atlanta, over the course of a month, you can use your subscription to attend all Braves games (average of 13 per month), visit the College Football Hall of Fame, check out the summer series races at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, go to concerts all around town (both indoor and outdoor) and check out beer festivals. Then in the fall/winter months, when our season is done, you pick up the Atlanta Falcons (NFL), Atlanta Hawks (NBA), Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL), Georgia Tech Athletics and much more,” says Esposito.
“There is always plenty to do, and an INWEGO subscription is only $29 per month, which makes it simple to justify the cost by attending just one event each month,” Esposito continues. “In an era where people just want access, this product is a perfect fit for them.”
Read an INTIX Interview with Anthony here.
- More Emphasis on “Memberships”
Mike Evenson, VP of Strategy for AudienceView, sees organizations shifting their terminology to embrace customers who are willing to make a commitment on their own terms.
“You’ll start seeing the word ‘membership’ replace ‘season tickets’ and ‘subscriptions’ more and more in an attempt to create a more inclusive feeling for customers who might sign up for any size of ticket package,” says Evenson. “One-size-fits-all isn't what people want, so organizations are evolving to build and offer a variety of ways you can be a package holder. Therefore, using the word ‘membership’ and creating different levels that include unique benefits will become the method the industry uses to pool their customers together.”
- Spotlight on the Secondary Market
“As the influence of the secondary market on primary ticketing becomes more and more significant, it is certainly forcing box offices to make strategic changes to compete. Business as usual is no longer an option,” says Baker Koppelman, SVP of Ticket Sales and Operations for the Baltimore Ravens.
Brian Butler, Director of Ticketing Technology and Operations for Playhouse Square, thinks the secondary market has been a little quiet, but feels we are at a real crossroads in terms of whether it will be accepted or truly challenged.
“The latter will take a lot of man power and time,” Butler says, “but accepting it is hard to swallow. I also believe there is a definite separation between the words ‘broker’ and ‘secondary market.’ Many industry leaders are partnering with secondary market providers to help move tickets. This is where I see the challenge — defining the ‘partner’ and the service needs.”
- More Sales via Social and Strategic Advertising
“More than 550 million people use Facebook Events every month. [It’s] a huge market,” says Emmy Gengler, CEO of Softjourn. “At this point, only Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, Ticketfly and Spectra can sell tickets through the site without a redirect. In 2018, we expect that more ticketing services will join this list and make it possible to buy tickets through Facebook without being redirected to an outside event website page.”
Crystal Clinton, Director of Ticketing System Administration for Opry Entertainment, agrees that the push to sell via social media will increase. She also believes organizations must consider advertising strategies beyond Google.
“We will see more and more use of social media and secondary advertising sites to drive ticket sales,” predicts Clinton. “Simply having your site as the top return on a Google search is no longer enough to ensure you get your slice of the market. It will be important for marketing to be strategic not only in location of their advertising but also in the timing.”
Read an INTIX Interview with Crystal here.
- Leveraging Fan Data to Create Experiences and Upsell
“As promoters and venue owners, we want to know every fan and guest entering our venues. We put so much money, time and interest into marketing these shows and until recently we have really only known the ticket purchaser, not the other two or three people entering with the person that bought the tickets,” explains Amy Graca, Vice President of National Ticketing for Caesars Entertainment. “With the new scanning functionality enabling each fan to enter with their own mobile ticket, we are able to capture that information. We want to create unique experiences for each fan and be able to upsell all the amenities we have to offer, and we need to know these fans in order to do so.”
Read an INTIX Interview with Amy here.
- Simplified Access Control
“The trend this year will be to use technology to ease the access process through biometrics, face or voice recognition and Bluetooth,” says Gengler. “With a Bluetooth-enabled gate, such as iBeacon, a ticketholder entering a line will be detected and validated quickly. Further, it is possible to adjust settings to allow one or more entry per attendee or VIP ticketholder and to support attendance at multiple venues within an event.”
Gengler also predicts 2018 is the year that we’ll see more widespread use of RFID — and that it won’t just be for the big guys anymore.
- Amplified Distribution
Graca also predicts that we will see more open distribution in 2018, which she describes as a fancy term for selling a ticket anywhere, anytime and to anyone.
“Fans are looking for the easiest, quickest and most mobile-friendly way to purchase a ticket. There will always be people that only shop on the primary channels, then there are those that shop around on the secondary sites and a growing population of savvy fans that are looking for the best price and don’t care where they buy the ticket,” she says. “In order to keep up with the ever-changing fans and how they want to buy a ticket, we have to stay nimble and be willing to use an open distribution type of methodology to reach every fan no matter how they choose to shop.”
INTIX Access wants to hear from you. Are there other trends that will emerge in 2018? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep on top of the latest ticketing trends at INTIX's 40th Annual Conference in Texas on Jan. 29-31, 2019. Gather with ticketing professionals from all corners of the live event sphere to discuss challenges, ideas for solutions and case studies in success. If you found this article valuable, you won't want to miss the panel discussion "Ask the Consultants – Facts, Figures and Crystal Balls!"
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Tags: Social Media , Ticketmaster , TicketFly , Digital Marketing , INTIX 2018 , Secondary Ticketing , Memberships , AudienceView , Spectra , Eventbrite