Technology / 04.05.23
How Ingresso.com and Queue-It Rocked the Ticketing Process in Rio
Rock in Rio (RiR) is not only the biggest music festival in Brazil, it’s easily one of the biggest in the world. This citywide experience fills Olympic arenas, multiple stages and the streets of Rio de Janeiro with music and the performing arts.
Through the years, Ingresso.com has been Rock in Rio’s trusted ticketing partner and has played an integral part in ensuring the premium experience of Rock in Rio has been reflected in the ticketing process. Roberto Jose, CTO of Ingresso.com, not only works Rock in Rio. He’s a big fan: “Besides the fact that it is truly an incredible experience to attend the festival — attractions lineup, the organization itself — there is also a very well-planned marketing strategy behind it that goes from announcing the lineup all over the city to informing fans of relevant details through the voice of the most important TV news anchors. Once the high expectation has been set, it’s time for Ingresso.com to deliver the best service possible to let fans from all over the world purchase their tickets in a fast, secure and fair way.”
But, sooner or later, a recurring onsale this large inevitably was going to begin posing risks even to one of the best ticketing sites with cloud-based infrastructure and autoscaling. Ingresso.com’s ticketing platform had been impacted by third-party payment processing, which resulted in a delay in ticket sales.
After trying several solutions and still hit with snafus on their biggest days, Ingresso.com reached out to Queue-it in 2016. Their solution was detailed in a 15-minute Inspiration Stage presentation at INTIX 2023 in Seattle. The chief aim of Queue-it’s virtual waiting room solution is to improve the customer experience by managing sudden traffic peaks like those Ingresso.com was dealing with. The waiting room was integrated for Rock in Rio’s ticket sales, which gave Ingresso.com complete control over the rollercoaster-like traffic.
Phil Hanson, CEO North America for Queue-it, says, “For an event like Rock in Rio, fans’ anticipation is through the roof. The ticket onsale is one of the first customer experience touchpoints fans have, and it’s an especially high-profile one. When we’re talking a festival the size of Rock in Rio with 700,000 tickets, the onsale cannot be a mad scramble. The ticketing provider needs to control that level of demand and allocate tickets in a fair manner. Queue-it’s virtual waiting room helped Ingresso.com remove the unpredictability and flow visitors through the onsale in a controlled, fair way.”
Jose concurred, adding, “When you’re in a bullpen, you need something to manage and control the bull. It’s unpredictable and can come rushing at you at any time. Queue-it lets us control the bull that is sudden traffic peaks. It’s not just about selling a lot of tickets. It’s about having more control and safety in what we do. Rather than having that line keep climbing and crashing down, Queue-it lets us put it firmly in the middle, so we could sell smoothly and reliably. We’re able to sell many more tickets this way than when we’re dealing with huge spikes and falls.”
Queue-it has helped Ingresso.com gather early visitors together on a customized waiting room with a countdown to the onsale. When the onsale goes live, all fans in the pre-queue are randomized and assigned a spot in line. This ensures that everyone who shows up on time for the sale has an equal shot to secure a spot. It has also allowed Ingresso.com to protect their systems before the onsale even starts. For any new fans who show up after the onsale begins, they’re simply placed at the end of the queue in a first-come, first-served order.
Hanson says, “Instead of crashes, cart timeouts and payment failures, Rock in Rio fans are given a fair, transparent wait. They’re able to relax, knowing their spot in queue is secured, and the ticket buying process won’t be a mad rush to the finish line.”
The virtual waiting room hasn’t just helped with ticket sales. It’s given Ingresso.com’s team some much-needed peace of mind. Hanson says, “Our ticketing partners have so many things to get right on a big day like a 700,000-ticket onsale. Peace of mind is huge, and we are happy to help free some headspace to address everything they have going on that day. You’ve got to remember that ticketers are juggling [so many] stakeholders: artists, venues, fans, promoters. The stakes are high. They’re all invested in fair, smooth onsales. So, if things go south and bots scoop up tickets, or the site crashes and tickets aren’t sold, it’s incredibly stressful.”
Rock in Rio 2022 was an especially big challenge considering it was the first year COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted in the pandemic era. With a two-year break and stars like Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Post Malone and Guns N’ Roses hitting the stage, Rock in Rio 2022 was bigger than ever. And six years after initial contact with Queue-it, Ingresso.com continued to use the virtual waiting room solution in their front end.
According to Jose, “The city of Rio de Janeiro officially dropped COVID-related restrictions less than a month before the festival took place! Among the new features Ingresso.com delivered for 2022 RiR edition was the first-ever big event in Brazil that operated 100% with digital tickets for general admission tickets. From turnstiles to fans’ digital tickets downloading processes, we had some challenges that turned out to be a success.”
So, what was the most rewarding part of their collaboration with Rock in Rio 2022? Hanson was quick to answer: “In Queue-it’s 13-year history, we’ve worked work with many of the largest ticketing events in the world. But the scale, impact and cultural significance of Rock in Rio makes it really stand out. At this point, Rock in Rio has been held 22 times. It’s had over 11 million attendees and generated 28,000 jobs for the Rio economy (source). It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of such an important event for Brazil. Both Ingresso.com and Rock in Rio are forward-thinking organizations always looking for new ways to innovate and grow, so it’s been a pleasure to work with them.”
Jose adds, “As Ingresso.com products are part of a complete solution for any given entertainment content, we had some quite rewarding — and unsolicited, most of the time — feedback from presales to the physical operation with turnstiles and digital tickets at the ‘City of Rock’ entrance. From social media posts telling the fans ‘boring’ journeys about their purchase experience — it was so predictable and easy that it became an ordinary mission — all the way through fans scanning their tickets for the first time in an access control device using their smartphone … we became part of the experience, and that’s what it is all about.”
Technology, though, is always evolving. And both interviewees expect plenty of innovation on the horizon. So, where do they see ticketing tech headed in both the short- and long-term? Again, Hanson was first to reply: “One area we’re focused on is how we can help organizations reward their real-life, loyal customers while blocking bad bots. Many acts start ticket sales with invite-only or early-access onsales to help nurture and reward loyal fans. Think about an opera house giving early access to the season’s shows for patrons and members, or concert pre-sales only available to fan club members or holders of a certain credit card. It’s key for ticketing organizations to have the control they need to create the exclusivity customers want. That’s why we’ve introduced an invite-only feature that lets organizations choose exactly who can access a given onsale. This creates a fair, smooth experience for loyal fans, but also powerful protection against bots and abuse.”
Jose concludes, “Innovation is a core value for us and has been helping Ingresso.com succeed over the past two decades. For us, it’s not a matter of what is coming next, but why will technology play a central role to solve real problems. Having a great team, awesome partners and an incredible business to serve make our mission much easier.”
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Tags: Technology , Ticketing