Leadership / 11.15.23
Julio Alvarado Enjoys Family Nights and Vegas Lights on the Journey from Ticketing Employee to Entrepreneur
In a world driven by connections, Julio Alvarado stands as a testament to the power of relationships, seamlessly blending the warmth of family ties with the vigor of professional networks. He credits his success in the world of ticketing to his mother, who, in the 1970s, made the decision to emigrate from war-torn El Salvador to the United States.
“In her early twenties, she came to a country that she knew nothing about and was able to make it,” he says proudly. “That one decision put me in the place and in the position that I am in today.”
Julio and his mother.
Today, Julio is Managing Owner of BravoTickets.com, a Las Vegas-based secondary ticket seller and online ticket service offering premier access to events across the United States.
“I think my most memorable moment was the day construction finished for the Bravo Tickets office and we started that new chapter as an owner for the very first time. I was 33 years old. We opened in 2012,” Julio reminisces.
He continues, “Being an owner of a company, it was a very memorable moment for me, especially looking back to where I grew up and where I come from. I think that goes back to the decisions my mother was able to make, not knowing that it would lead to this, giving me the opportunity by moving me out of Los Angeles into Las Vegas, and me taking that opportunity. It is not like we had a plan, but it grew into that. So, my most memorable moment is definitely the day I was able to walk into the office that I was able to build with my partners and start working, not as an employee, but as a partner and owner.”
Julio is also the Managing Owner of Bravo Hospitality Management, founded in 2021. He says what he loves most about his work and the industry is that every day is different.
“It is so fluid. It is never the same. One day you might be working on F1, the next weekend it is a concert, and the following weekend, it is a play. Or it could be all three in one day. And because everything is so digital now, it is not what it used to be that you are tied down to your desk eight to 10 hours a day … [I like that our industry] is ever-changing. That whatever works this year doesn't mean it will work next year. The evolution of how everything works and intertwines with itself is amazing. Just as you think the industry has hit the ceiling, it breaks through that and keeps going, and you're like, oh my God. I think that's what I love the most, that it just keeps evolving and evolving and evolving.”
Before establishing his businesses, Julio served five years as Director of Operations for LasVegasTickets.com. Before that, he was the Assistant Box Office Manager for Aladdin Hotel and Casino. During his early years and still to today, Julio says the one thing that brings him the most joy is putting a smile on someone’s face.
“I think that is something that I really take to heart because you never know what somebody is going through. Putting a smile on their face might be just what they needed. To me, that is one of the biggest things [in life], if I could put a smile on somebody for whatever reason. If it is because I told a stupid joke, or I was able to send them to a great show, or it is for any reason, as long as I am able to put a smile on somebody's face, it brings me the most joy.”
Julio found himself smiling broadly in Jan. 2018 when he went to Baltimore for his first INTIX conference. It was a time that he will never forget.
“I worked in the box office industry for numerous years,” he says. “I was never at a level where they allowed me to go to INTIX and that was something that I always wanted to do. [I didn’t hesitate] when I became a secondary market ticket broker and I was able to have my own office and make that decision … I think it is a great way for me to go out there and learn.”
Julio’s most memorable INTIX moment came that same year when Amy Graca, [then] the VP of [Global Ticketing for] Caesars Entertainment, made a presentation [for] the very first time about dynamic pricing.
“I was sitting in the back of the room listening to her speech … It was a packed house. It was the only room that was overflowing. There were people standing up against the wall coming out to the hallway. Everybody wanted to hear [the presentation] and it blew my mind that … the mindset was that you set the price and you let it sell out … When it came to questions, I was in shock about how [some] colleagues were at that time so against dynamic pricing. I think that was one of the most memorable things that I have from INTIX to see how [people really were not] seeing eye-to-eye at that time. Of course, the following year everybody loved that idea.”
Julio says he is a member of INTIX for two main reasons: education and networking.
“For me, it is all about learning. Now that the primary and secondary [markets] are so intertwined, learning is the best thing that I could do in order to proceed. Being a member of INTIX gives me that opportunity to speak with members from the ticket office and get their feelings about how the landscape has changed for them as it has for us.”
Julio says, “Developing relationships is big in our business. And I think once [other INTIX members] realize that I am the same person, I'm Julio at Bravo Tickets or I’m Julio at dinner, it's the same person who doesn't change. They get to see the real person. Sometimes that is what it takes to develop a relationship. It is just saying, hey, this guy is no different than me.”
After more than two decades in the industry, Julio has developed relationships with countless people and the one quality he most admires is honesty.
“Honesty in a person means a lot, even if that honesty is ruthless per se or not something you want to hear,” Julio says. “Honesty goes a long way in telling the character of a person.”
He says, “The one thing about me that I hope [rings true] if you ask anybody is that I stick to an old tradition where my word is my bond. I make sure that if I say something, I always come [through] no matter what the cost might be to me. I live by that creed of my word is my bond. As soon as I say something out of my mouth, I make sure that I 100% complete whatever I just said or keep my word to whatever I just said because I feel like once … you break your word [one time], then your word doesn't mean anything. And that is the only thing nobody can take from you and nobody can give you is your word. That is the only thing you have full power over, sole possession of, so that is one of those things that I think defines me, that my word is my bond.”
When it comes to colleagues, Julio appreciates those who understand change, flexibility and the importance of going the extra mile when needed.
“[Our job] is not a straightforward job,” he says. “Every single event, every single ticket, everything changes on a day-to-day basis, so having that understanding that it is not a 9-to-5 job, having the understanding that there are some events that we have to work longer for, it is a good quality on top of the honesty, of course, for a colleague.”
While he is now himself a leader, there is a quality that Julio highly values in all those who lead. It is something he has learned to do himself over the years, too.
“I think for a leader, one of the most important qualities is listening,” he emphasizes. “Listening and observing what is going on to be able to take everything in before making any decisions [is very important]. I think sometimes it is one of the hardest abilities or qualities to have, just to sit back and listen and observe what is going on before making a decision because, as humans, we are emotional. We like to make decisions on the spot based on our emotions, but I think listening and observing [are] tremendous qualities that you need in order to be a good leader.”
He says, “[If I could go back in time], I would tell myself to learn the ability of listening, reading the room and learning as much as you could take in. My younger self was very impatient, and I think if I go back and really pay attention to how the world moves and the news that you thought was boring, just listening and paying attention helps you in your everyday life. That would be something I would tell my younger self for sure.”
When asked what he thinks his greatest achievement has been to date, he quickly turns to the personal side of things.
“My greatest achievement is being a father and I think being able to realize that no matter what happens on this earth, you have that undivided love from your children. My greatest achievement is being a father to my children, being a mentor to them and being able to guide them on what I think is the right path so they can succeed and hopefully outdo what I have done in my life … I have three children, a 31-year-old, a 22-year-old and a 20-year-old … and they are really the greatest love of my life. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them.”
Julio with his wife, Mayumi, and children.
To maintain that close bond, Julio says he spends as much of his spare time as possible with those he loves.
“It all goes back to my family and being able to do off-the-cuff stuff with them, just saying, ‘Hey, let's go to California for the weekend,’ and just spending time with them. At this age, I enjoy [my spare time] more, being with my wife and best friend Mayumi, being with my children, spending the time with them, spending the time with my mother. It is one of those things that is meaningful now with the spare time, especially as much time as we spend with work and events and everything pops up so much, and work really takes over your life. I feel my spare time that I spend with my family members is what I like to do the best.”
Julio and Mayumi.
Julio will never forget the best live event he ever attended because he was there with his kids and wife and because it was an incredible show.
“It was iHeart 2014. I went on Friday the 19th and was sitting second row from the stage, right by the catwalk. [We had] all the artists walking right by [us]. Usher, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj being five feet from you, it was an incredible show. Taylor Swift was there too. For me and my family to experience all these artists doing all their top songs on one stage on one night was something to remember.”
The show was likely all the more remarkable because it was at Julio’s favorite venue.
“T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas gives you pretty much everything you need,” he says. “It has great suites, great loge boxes and great hospitality if you want something like that. It gives you great club seats with your own lounge … When it comes to an arena, it has everything anyone could be looking for.”
Another favorite place for Julio is Disneyland. It is, he says, the place he most likes to visit.
“It takes me back to being a child inside again,” he gushes, “and it is okay to be a child once you walk in through those magical gates. Even though you have ridden the same rides so many times over two decades, it doesn't matter. It is still like you rode it the very first time … when they say it is magical, it takes me back to being a child once I walk through those gates.”
And does he have a favorite ride?
“I do,” he laughs. “My family makes fun of me, but my favorite ride is Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and I don't know why. It is one of the smaller rides, but Mr. Toad's Ride is my favorite.”
Although we did not talk much about football during the interview, one gets the impression that Julio is a big fan.
“My favorite player is Kurt Warner, the NFL quarterback [who] played for the Rams, played for the Giants for one season and ended his career with the Arizona Cardinals, which eventually became my team. His background [and the] story of how he endured and never gave up on his dream of becoming one of the great quarterbacks in history is something that you look at and admire. [You admire] that someone is willing to push and push, and even if the odds are against you, you know deep down inside you could do something and you accomplish it. Kurt Warner is definitely one of those people that live that life and it is a great story.”
No matter what Julio is doing or how busy he is, he likes to keep in touch with his friends and especially enjoys it when they call him out of the blue. That reliability is what he values most in his friends.
“What I mean by that is not to say, ‘Hey, it's your birthday,’ not to say, ‘Hey, what's going on? You had a great day. You had a great year.’ But just calling out the blue and saying, ‘Hey, how's your day going today, man? How's it going?’ or being able to pick up the phone and calling that one friend, knowing that one friend is going to answer you, even if it is to say, ‘Hey, let me call you right back,’ but they take the time to answer you at any given time, no matter what time you call them or they call you.”
Sometimes, Julio takes time to sit back and relax. When he does, he may read a book by his favorite author, Stephen King, the revealing of which drew a slightly darker side out of the otherwise always affable ticketing professional.
“I’m into fear when you’re reading and my imagination at least goes crazy … Sometimes I just have to put the book down because I let my imagination get away from me.”
It is no wonder, then, that when asked what talent he would most like to have, Julio laughed and said he would like to be able to tell the future, in particular, “when is my time to leave this earth … Everybody wants to know that, but I think it is the scariest thing to know. If you know when your time is to expire on this earth, I think that would probably be the one thing I would like to know. If I only had one chance to know one thing in the future, I think that would be the one.”
And, in the meantime, if he had three wishes, what would they be?
“I think the first one is to let everybody know at the end of the day, we are humans. We are all pretty much the same person with different pigmentations. That would be my first wish, to let everybody know, listen, we are all the same, and to live in harmony. That is far-fetched, but at least to live in some kind of peace with one another and not see each other for what we think we are but to see each other for the humans that we really are. That would be my first wish. Then of course, the second place, to go to selfishness, would be to be financially secure for the rest of my life. The third wish should be for me and my family to live a healthy life.”
He loves living that life where he is today, in the world's entertainment capital.
“I don't think there's another city in this world that compares to Las Vegas,” he says. “Las Vegas has grown in leaps and bounds. I think we have the most seats per square mile to fill on any given night compared to any city in this world.
And while Julio is still far from retirement, he is looking forward to it eventually. It is perhaps no surprise that he is considering following backwards in his beloved mother’s footsteps.
“I most likely want to move to El Salvador where my parents are from and live a quiet life.”
It would undoubtedly be a very different life away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas, but there is no doubt that Julio would continue loving everything he does there as he does today. And putting a smile on our faces.
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Tags: Leadership , GTKY