Technology / 05.31.23
How easy-connect Wants to Make It Easy to Digitally Engage With Next-Gen Audiences
The future is here, both with regards to ticketing technology and appealing to a younger demographic coming out of a pandemic and eager to spend on live events and experiences. Consequently, one of the more intriguing Inspiration Stage sessions at INTIX 2023 was easy-connect’s “How to Digitally Engage With Next-Gen Audiences: Experiences and Learnings From Europe” workshop.
Event speaker Sophie Garzon-Lapierre, Head of Business Development & Marketing for easy-connect, found the experience a highly positive one. “It’s always lovely being at INTIX and meeting all the amazing people in the industry,” she says. “Our session felt like hitting the nail on the head, as this topic seems to be relevant for most institutions. Questions like: ‘How to attract new and young audiences?’ and ‘How to preserve the cultural heritage and ensure that people will still be coming to the halls in 50 years' time?’ are on everybody’s agenda. So, the feedback was great, and attendees were encouraged by our NextGen App solution in helping them solve challenges they are currently facing in increasing customer retention and diversifying their audiences.”
The session’s description mentioned ahead of time how the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Vienna State Opera have used next-gen apps to increase engagement and put people in seats. For those member-readers who were unable to attend, Garzon-Lapierre was happy to recount: “The Berliner Philharmoniker and the Vienna State Opera amongst many other leading German and Austrian cultural institutions decided to have their U27/U30 (under-27/under-30) ticket program for pre-sales exclusively mobile-only via an app solution (ClassicCard App, Ticket Gretchen App) in order to further diversify their audiences and make sure next-gen audiences get in touch with their halls.”
She continues, “Our apps all come with an automatic and digital age verification, safely enabling the venues to sell young audience members tickets in advance. Via our real-time interfaces, all data is stored in their ticketing systems. Another focus are the social and community features, which make it easy for users to connect within the app, share wish lists, book tickets for each other, etc.”
Garzon-Lapierre and easy-connect founder and CEO Wolfgang Graf used the newly launched app for under-30 patrons as a best practice/case example at INTIX 2023. “The ClassicCard Berlin App is a membership app for everyone under 30 with highly discounted tickets from the leading Berlin cultural institutions — Berliner Philharmoniker, Concert Hall Berlin, Berlin State Opera, and many more,” she says. “The previously papercard membership had been available for over 20 years, with ticket sales only possible last minute at the ticket office. During the past [several] years, the membership numbers decreased. So, the institutions decided to go for a 100% digital solution and open the ticket purchase for presales.”
The easy-connect technology enables automatic age verification upfront, so the venues don’t have to check IDs at the ticket office or entrance anymore. The company’s live interfaces to the ticketing systems ensure live inventory and real-time booking, so that the venues receive all relevant data regarding customers, transactions and usage behavior.
Garzon-Lapierre says, “Users see all upcoming events at a glance. Once the age is verified digitally within a second, they can buy their membership directly in the app and purchase discounted tickets within a few taps. We’ve also implemented social and community features to encourage customers to bring their friends, add them to the app, buy tickets for them and more. Our data shows: it works! Young people bring other under-30, but also full-price, companions. On average, every customer brings 1.5 new people to the venues. Outliers bring up to 15 new people, which previously weren’t even accounted for in the ticketing system. The reasoning behind this is, that these days consumers, especially new audiences, trust people more than brands. With our social and community features, arts organizations have a built-in influencer tool and sales force at their fingertips and can easily activate them for the benefit of all people involved.”
So, what is easy-connect? Garzon-Lapierre describes the Vienna-based operation as a tech-company that “wants to see performing arts stay relevant and increase their visibility.” She and her colleagues work with performing arts organizations worldwide to digitalize their sales and communications channels and strengthen their customer retention and audience development strategy. “At easy-connect, we build white label apps and streaming solutions to increase customer loyalty and retention, reduce customer acquisition costs, boost ticket sales, revenue, and donations,” she says. “Our technology is based on real-time interfaces to existing ticketing systems, enabling seamless integrations and providing organizations with all available customer data and analytics.”
In her years working for Graf and reaching out to easy-connect’s clientele, Garzon-Lapierre has come to learn that younger people want to experience culture according to three primary values: social value, educational value and entertainment value. Regarding social value, she says, “Younger people want to experience culture together with their friends. So, ticketing and live event professionals should enable an ease-of-use ticket purchase without overcomplicating the registration process and make it easy to bring along friends and book tickets for them as well.”
Educational value means younger audiences want to know what to expect, and they also want to learn something. Consequently, she advises, “We should provide them with short descriptions, trailers, audio samples, fun facts and so forth to help them with their purchase-making decision. Last but not least, the entertainment value. Make sure people enjoy the stay at your venue, and they feel welcomed. It's all about hospitality. Young people are curious and love getting to know the venues. Invite them to a reception before the show, give them behind-the-scenes insights, organize meet and greets with the cast, etc. Young people want to have a full experience!”
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Tags: Technology , Digital Engagement