Ticketing is dead

Tore Totland

Tore Totland

Tore Totland, chairman of the Norwegian ticketing company TicketCo, reacts on our feature on paperless ticketing and comments on the future of this sector. 

“The paper ticket is not dead. Long live the paper ticket!,” claims Ticket Zone COO Wayne Munday in an article by Access All Areas. As a newcomer in the UK ticketing market, we couldn’t disagree more.

As far as TicketCo sees it, it is not only the paper ticket which is dead. We consider ticketing as we know it as dead, and quite frankly we are surprised that Ticket Zone, Skiddle and Eventbrite sees it otherwise.

So who is TicketCo?

TicketCo was established as a simple self-service ticketing solution in Norway a few years back but has grown to be much more.

Driven by a firm belief that event payments should be easy to handle by both organisers and their vast audience, we have developed what we consider will be the first global standard for all event payments.

Of course, it can be nice to keep a slick paper ticket in the wallet for a week or two after a great concert or football match, as a souvenir, like Ticket Zone suggests, is amongst the benefits with paper tickets. Far more important though, is the event itself.

It’s true, like Joel Crouch of Eventbrite states, that some countries still struggle with a somewhat tech-resistant population, but overall people love their smartphones.

We have experienced nothing but good in the years we’ve been serving the Norwegian audience with digital tickets, and we have the same impression of the UK audience after our launch here a few months back.

More important though, is the broader picture. Whether the ticket is on paper or on the phone is not that much of a difference, as long as it’s just a ticket. That is why we consider ticketing as dead in the long run.

While our competitors are offering ticketing systems, TicketCo offers a unified platform for efficient event payments. This is, in fact, a major difference.

Up until today, organisers have struggled with diversified sales systems, leading to loads of additional work and cumbersome customers journeys. We have killed this pain point and developed a truly user-friendly system that handles all kinds of event payments.

This means that our organisers can offer both food and beverages, transportation, accommodation, merchandise and whatever else as an integrated part of their tickets, which of course leads to increased sales.

We launched this innovation in Norway last summer, as a test, limited to a few selected festivals only. The feedback from both the organisers and the audience was overwhelming, and for the upcoming season, this unified platform will be available for all our organisers – both in UK and Norway.

That means that ticketing (as we know it) in fact is dead and that there now is a new ball game going on. Frankly, this is what should concern Ticket Zone, Skiddle and Eventbrite the most right now.

Space race: How disruptive spaces put events one step ahead

Tracy Rusbridge, regional business development executive at The Jockey Club, on looking beyond conventional event spaces. 

The demand for non-conventional, bigger and better event spaces just keeps growing. Purpose-built venues have traditionally been an attractive option for businesses to entice increasing numbers of exhibitors and visitors. The benefits are simple; the buildings were designed to host events, and so all the facilities required for a successful show will be included.

But the sector is seeing a move towards more unique venues, in a bid for shows to stand out in a crowded market.

With competition rife, conferences and exhibition organisers need to work harder than ever before to not only impress attendees but also convince repeat business and further investment. This pressure to outperform is what has ushered event organisers to consider multipurpose, flexible venues.

Whether based in a football stadium or racecourse, by supplying an idyllic backdrop to an event, imagery and film will naturally attract shares on social media, helping to extend the reach of the show further than those that attended. This kind of engagement provides organic marketing as visitors spread-the-word, providing authentic endorsements for the event space and encouraging more people to sign up for next year.

Indeed, in September 2017 Sandown Park Racecourse hosted the launch of Festival and Outdoor Events Show (Festout). The choice of venue, which is first and foremost a racecourse, provided flexible exhibition space, both indoors and out.

Another example of utilising a space designed for an alternative purpose is Sandown Park’s Business Adventures, which packages activities such as ‘Sky walking’, dry ski sloping, golf, footgolf and go-karting together to capitalise on corporate team building opportunities.

As the events industry becomes more crowded these alternative event spaces allow organisers to instantly stand out and provide visitors with a unique experience.

And by impressing both potential exhibitors and visitors from the get-go with the choice of venue, event organisers are giving themselves a head start against the competition.


Is ticketing close to paperless?

Three ticketing suppliers to tackle the elephant in the room – is the future completely paperless?

Wayne Munday, COO of Ticket Zone, Ben Sebborn, co-director and founder of Skiddle, and Joel Crouch, general manager of Eventbrite UK and Ireland have their say.

Wayne Munday.COO Ticket Zone

Wayne Munday

“Ticketing will never go completely paperless. It’s not a matter of whether the paper ticket will disappear, but rather if the ticketing industry is ready, or fully appreciates the potential disruption to the current business model,” says Munday.

Munday says Ticket Zone has observed a number of indicators that may impact on the widespread adoption of paperless tickets.

“Firstly, there has been a resistance by promoters and venues for ticket agents to print e-tickets. If venues allow paperless ticketing they relinquish a certain amount of control – subsequently, the chances of errors and customer services issues increase. e current procedure of paper tickets being printed and issued by the venue provides another ‘safety check’ within the entire process.

“Secondly, the technology platforms and APIs of many ticket agents and a liates is not only diverse, they are – on the whole – not su ciently joined up to trade in paperless tickets. For example, how do customers share tickets in a group? What security features are inbuilt to prevent unauthorized access?

“Thirdly, a paper ticket still remains a controlled and proven media to venues, allowing customer access without any additional technology expenditure, especially during a period of funding cuts.”

Muday continues: “We don’t believe consumers will support a purely paperless ticket. Instead, souvenir tickets will remain a valuable and integral part of the customer experience. ere will always be a segment of people who want a souvenir ticket as a personal memento. Physical tickets can be easily passed on to other members of their party, or to someone as a gift. Or if there is a power cut, scanner malfunction, dead battery on a mobile phone, the ‘old school’ physical ticket can still provide access. The paper ticket is not dead. Long live the paper ticket!

Ben Sebborn

Paperless ticketing is slick

“In short, yes. Ticketing is ready to go entirely paperless. As well as contributing to the crackdown on touting, paperless ticketing is slick, convenient and hassle-free,” says Sebborn.

The Skiddle founder says, however, that before the industry resigns paper tickets entirely to the recycling bin, we need to ensure that the positives far outweigh the negatives.

“We are close. In recent weeks, it was announced that some venues are now promoting mobile-only ticketing. For many, this may be classed as an innovative (and perhaps long-overdue) step forwards. However, we need to ensure we don’t exclude fans who like using other channels to buy tickets – for example, via their computers.”

Sebborn says the figures are interesting. “Although Skiddle has the highest-ranking events app on iTunes, 63 per cent of customers still opt to buy on the mobile web and 23 per cent on their desktop computers. is is presumably because it’s very easy to access and requires no downloads. For that reason, it’s vital that venues and promoters don’t create unnecessary friction and reduce impulse purchases by requiring a download of an app first.

“That’s why at Skiddle, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to attend the gigs, clubs and festivals they love. at’s why we support mobile-only ticket redemption to prevent touting, but in combination with allowing purchasing across all channels for convenience.”

Joel Crouch

Consumer preference

“The technology to go paperless has been out there for years: in 2011, Eventbrite was among the first 
to introduce apps for storing digital tickets and for scanning ticket barcodes,” says Crouch.

“One year later, we created the functionality to store tickets in the iPhone’s passbook wallet the day it was introduced in 2012.”

Crouch says the comapny’s latest move in paperless is its proprietary RFID technology, which Eventbrite premiered in 2015.

“The wristbands are designed to make not just paper tickets, but cash, wallets and long entry lines, a thing of the past at events,” he explains.

However, what’s keeping the industry from going completely paperless is the speed at which consumers adopt the new technology that is presented to them. Crouch says: “In Germany, for example, many consumers still have a preference towards ‘proper’ paper tickets which are posted to them, and paying with cash is still widespread.

“We have seen that the UK is one of the fastest European countries
to adopt new technologies, including mobile only tickets and cashless payments, so if I had to pick a country in Europe that’s closest to going for paperless tickets only, I’d say it’s the UK.”

Eventbrite, Crouch adds, likes to enable its event creators to offer their attendees the format they prefer, be that a mobile ticket, print@home, paper ticket, Apple Watch or Android Wear ticket, Facebook ticket or as a smart wristband or lanyard.

“In short, the opportunity to go fully paperless is already there; the speed at which we’ll get there depends on consumer preference, and meanwhile we o er an exhaustive variety of ticket formats,” he concludes.

Editor’s note: The original article appeared in the December/January issue of Access All Areas. The digital edition is available now.

Meet the editors at Festout

Access All Areas editors

Annie Blinkhorn and Murielle Gonzalez

Group editor Annie Blinkhorn has confirmed her attendance to the Festival and Outdoor Events Show, Festout (27-28 September, Sandown Park).

Annie boasts almost two decades of experience in mainstream, trade and niche publishing including B2B, B2C, art and antiques and consumer interest titles.

“The outdoor and events industry is varied, vast and thriving. It’s a very exciting time to join Access All Areas!”, Annie said.

Also attending Festout is online editor Murielle Gonzalez. Murielle has over 10 years of work experience in newspapers and B2B magazines.

Murielle commented: “I can’t wait to meet and greet events profesionals at Festout and I look forward to learn more about this industry.”

Register to attend and make sure you shake hands with the editors.

Safety Review: how was it for you?

Let’s face it, festival and outdoor event organisers work very much like architects. Pick a plot of land, build a small village or town, shepherd in a few thousand or more people, lay on a splendid array of entertainment, send everyone home and break down. Safely.

With a plethora of regulations, from CDM to LOLER and all manner of guidance, there are still lingering doubts and questions, especially when it comes to responsibilities and duties.

Good news: Gavin Bull, HM inspector of Health and Safety, is taking part in a Q&A session to be held on Thursday 28 September, at Festival and Outdoor Events Show (27-28 September, Sandown Park).

Light on presentation, heavy on Q and A, this session is set to clarify and enlighten visitors in all aspects of health and safety related to live events sector.

Bull has spent the past few years within the sector, overseeing the introduction of CDM into the construction activities. Beyond his duties as inspector, he has provided insight and encouragement that has led to better dialogue and guidance for clients and contractors.

The Safety Review – 2017, how was it for you? is part of a content-packed programme to be held at The Main Stage sponsored by The Ticket Factory. Reserve your place and register now.

Editor’s note: Contact Access’ editorial team if you would like to send your questions in advance or leave it in the comment section below.

Dive on in

Now that a vast blue whale skeleton has replaced ‘Dippy’, the Diplodocus cast that stood in Hintze Hall for 35 years, the Natural History Museum is keen to highlight what else the venue has to offer event professionals. Head of venue hire, Robert Wetherell answers Access’ questions.

What areas of the Natural History Museum are most popular for events?

The museum and galleries are split nicely into three main spaces. This roughly fits in with the amount of entrances we have into the museum, so we’re pretty flexible on how event planners can use the space.

Fossil way is popular as a pre-dinner drinks area before guests enter Hintze Hall. However, saying that, if anyone wants to use Fossil way for an event coming through from Earth Hall, then we can switch to Hintze Hall where guests can use the dinosaur gallery for reception drinks. We are very versatile.

How often do you host events at the museum? 

Most nights. Our busiest periods are autumn and Christmas; we could easily be running two or three events on the same night.

We share the spaces with the public events team at the museum, hosting mainly sleepovers and launches. We also stage a popular New Year’s Eve party. It is our ambition to host an event every night of the year after we close our doors to the public, and we’re not that far off.

Natural History Museum’s official opening of the newly designed Hintze Hall.

How has the blue whale’s move into Hintze Hall been received?

The reaction has been incredible. We launched it on 13 July, which was the first time guests could see the blue whale in its diving pose in that space. It was the first time anyone was able to have dinner and drinks underneath the skeleton too so it was an awe-inspiring evening.

The following day, we had our members’ launch and the following week, we held our first corporate event in there.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the first wedding of the summer. It’s sure to create an extraordinary experience and be really exciting for the lucky couple.


Editor’s note; This is an excerpt of the feature published in 214 issue of Access All Areas. The digital edition is available now.

EventFlash UK: Darlington-based theatre receives grant

Making headlines this week:

– Darlington-based theatre receives grant: Theatre Hullabaloo has welcomed a £140,000 grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation towards the costs of programmes to engage young audiences and families.

Other news making the headline this week:

– Kerrin MacPhie has been confirmed as the new head of business events at VisitBritain/VisitEngland.

– FaceTime to announce survey findings at AEO Conference

– Event weather

EventFlash UK is produced by Mash Media in partnership with LiveBuzz. It is the only weekly video round-up solely for the events industry.

The programme is presented by Martin Fullard with videography by Karam Dhillon.

Festout 2017: What’s on the stands?

The Festival and Outdoor Events Show (Festout) is brought to you by the organisers of the Event Production Show and the publisher of Access All Areas. It is a brand new launch event aimed at bringing together suppliers and organisers from the entire outdoor events industry.

The two-day show will take place 27-28 September at Sandown Park, Surrey and will see suppliers, venues and organisers of events across the music, sport, cultural and public spectrums come together to do business.

What’s happening on the stands?

A collection of exhibitors tell Mash TV what they are planning on bringing to the inaugural Festout show.

The director of Luker Rowe, Peter Tilsed, says he’ll win over the crowds with a few sweets and a lot knowledge. Harry Sloan, director and co-founder of Beetle Juice Events Ltd will be showcasing the bar set up at the event with music and cocktails taking centre stage.

Greg Lusk, founder of Liveforce AS, will be talking all things future, with product demos and audience feedback. And event sales manager for Site Equip, Adam Gilbert, announces that it is releasing a brand new product at the event.

Be sure to ‘Meet the exhibitors’ with Mash TV before the launch of the show this September.


Festout 2017: Meet the exhibitors

Mash TV has produced the Festout series, a range of videos to highlight some of the features both exhibitors and visitors can get out of The Festival and Outdoor Events Show.

In this video, exhibitors from Beetle Juice, Liveforce AS, Luker Rowe, Site Equip, and Telenet Global Logistics talk about their companies, products and services.

Two-day event

The inaugural Festival and Outdoor Events Show (Festout 2017), is a new trade show brought to you by Mash Media, the organiser of the Event Production Show and the publisher of Access All Areas.

The two-day show will take place on 27-28 September at Sandown Park, in Surrey.

Festout 2017 will see suppliers, venues and organisers of events across the music, sport, cultural and public spectrums come together under one roof.

Registration for the Festival and Outdoor Events Show 2017 is now open. Get your complimentary ticket today.

EventFlash UK: Olympia London to host charity boxing match

Making headlines this week:

– Olympia London to host charity boxing event for those affected by Grenfell Tower fire.
Hammersmith-based gym State of Mind Fitness, has announced that a special boxing event will be taking place at Olympia London on Friday 15 September.

Other news making the headline this week:

– Association of Independent Festivals calls for investigation into Live Nation;s business model

– Korean organisation sets up company in Oxford offering new concept for exhibitors

– Event weather

EventFlash UK is produced by Mash Media in partnership with LiveBuzz. It is the only weekly video round-up solely for the events industry.

The programme is presented by Martin Fullard with videography by Karam Dhillon.