the ticket factory

The Ticket Factory launches Expoware service

The Ticket Factory has announced the launch of  Expoware service, a new solution that offers a complete range of registration services designed for the exhibition industry.

Expoware was developed by the ticketing agent following extensive research, which saw the team work with the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and a range of offsite organisers to understand how it could create a seamless registration service for clients.

Following a development and testing phase, where Expoware was trialled by several of the ticketing agent’s existing clients, the product is now being officially rolled out to the wider industry.

Matt Evans, head of conference and exhibitions at The Ticket Factory, said: “We look at ticketing and registration in a very different way to other providers. It’s not just about the online journey and getting your customers through the door – we use detailed insight to establish how different audiences need to be communicated with before and after receiving their ticket, maximising customer engagement wherever possible.

“The Expoware service allows us to bring ticketing for consumer and trade exhibitions together under one roof, taking the hassle out of ticketing hybrid events for our clients.”

The Big Bang Fair

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the first new client to sign up for the Expoware service.

Taking place from 14-17 March 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham, the event is deemed the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. It is free to attend for those aged 7-19 with the last day of the event also open for the public.

The Big Bang Fair will benefit from a range of Expoware services including:

  • A fully white labelled registration system for those wishing to attend the free event
  • Onsite scanning with real-time counts of visitors at the event
  • Integration with The Ticket Factory’s CRM and data systems
  • Accurate pre-show and on site reporting and analytics
  • Bespoke marketing support to promote the public attendance day

Naomi Franklin, event manager for The Big Bang Fair, said: “We required a ticketing solution that catered for the 70,000 plus visitors that attend our event every year. This includes large groups of school children – primarily aged between 7-19 – in the week, and members of the public on the final day. The Ticket Factory’s new Expoware service fitted the brief perfectly, accommodating our trade registration requirements while also having proven on-site experience and a strong database to market the public event on the Saturday to.”

With the launch of the Expoware service, The Ticket Factory is said to be the first agent in the UK to provide a fully functional hybrid ticketing solution that caters for B2C and B2B audiences.

Tickets please

Access speaks to five ticketing companies on the influence of tech and the issues in the secondary market

Behind the excitement of purchasing a ticket for an event or a festival, ticketing companies are advising and leading the industry.

Without the secure sales of music and live event tickets or the support from ticketing associations combating the secondary ticketing market like FanFair Alliance, this side of the business can fall under the radar. But Access sat down with leading ticketing companies to ask our burning questions to gain an insight on the advance of the sector. But first we asked them to talk to us more about what they offer for the live events scene.

“TICKETsrv provides cost effective online e-ticket sales for events and attractions combined with onsite ticket scanning as a complete out-of- the-box solution,” says Sally-Ann Jay, sales and marketing director at TICKETsrv, the e-ticketing solution company for outdoor events.

“With nearly 40 years’ experience in the live events industry,” says Stuart Cain, The Ticket Factory MD. “The Ticket Factory sells for a variety of events ranging from comedy, concerts and sporting events, to exhibitions, theatre performances and visitor attractions.” Cain explains to Access that the Ticket Factory provides solutions with bespoke products and services with a customer-first approach. “We focus on technology and digital marketing backed by exceptional service and operational delivery.”

“The Ticket Factory adds further value through its creative marketing approach,” Cain adds.

“In 2008, I founded Ticket Arena to provide consumers and gig-promoters with a better
way to buy and sell tickets online,” says Reshad Hossenally, MD at Ticket Arena. “Over the years that have followed, the company has developed its own online platform called Event Genius, and has increased its market share to become one of the largest online ticket agents and event technology providers in the UK.” Th
e business of Ticket Arena is split into two brands. Ticket Arena and Event Genius, which is the industry technology and services side of the business.

On the radar

“Intellitix provides festivals and live events with game-changing tech solutions that increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve the guest’s experience,” explains Eric Janssen, chief revenue officer at Intellitix, Motreal. But the company has offices situated in Toronto and Chatham, as well as representatives across the globe.

“We’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest and best events including Tomorrowland, Coachella, Comic-Con, and UEFA Champions Festival,” Janssen adds.

“We tend to work with the outdoor events sector,” says Jay. “Large agricultural and county shows where traditionally secondary ticketing hasn’t been an issue. For events where secondary ticketing is a problem, tickets can be assigned to a single name ticket-holder so that photo ID can be checked on the gate.”

Eventbrite is a leading platform with nearly three million events powered around the world each year. “We process two to three million tickets every week,” explains Marino Fresch, marketing director at Eventbrite UK.

“Hundreds of thousands of organisers, like Showmasters, Telegraph Events, The Guardian, WOMAD music festival and many more, use Eventbrite to boost ticket sales, promote and manage events, handle onsite operations, and analyse results across multiple sales channels,” Fresch adds.

The conversation of technology is one that everyone 
in this industry
 has an opinion about, and with good reason. These are the companies that the advance and influence of technology directly reflect upon.
 Jay tells Access that for events, TICKETsrv can now see up to 67 per cent of advanced tickets being purchased on a mobile device. “The mobile revolution is already here. Mobile optimised sites and super-easy purchasing are a must for today’s events. It’s just a case of events getting them organised and ensuring they are up to speed as soon as they can.” This means an increase and heavy focus on that particular sector, to make it quicker for customers to book on the go.

“There are a number of technology solutions that we have enabled to help service our larger event organisers,” explains Fresch. “We partner with peer-to-peer exchange platforms and continue to explore other partnerships that help fans sell tickets they no longer need, and secure tickets at fair prices. It is crucial to understand where, when and how to meet potential ticket buyers today.”

“The average event can expect up to 20 per cent of sales to come through social media channels,” adds Fresch. “The significant number allows both ticketing suppliers and organisers of live and outdoor events that the audience they target are often influenced though their screens.”

“The speed and adoption of new technology
has been transformative for the ticketing industry in delivering greater efficiency and profits,” says Hossenally. Technology that offers benefits can be massive for organisers who are trying to remain pro table in the face of rising costs. In the race to provide the best possible technology and services for organisers to use, it often goes unsaid just how much money and time is spent on research, design and development on the technology that they are provided with.”

“Ticket agents are now faced with the need to continually adapt and update software to block fraudulent activity without damaging the sales process for genuine fans,” explains Cain. “We’re fighting a war with ticket touts on a daily basis and have invested significant resource into trying to combat malicious bots and to educate our customers about the importance of buying from STAR approved sellers.”

Hossenally explains tactics that Ticket Arena have introduced in a bid to battle the touts. “Our fair queuing technology for high demand events helps protect us from the automated bots that online ticket touts use, and we are currently developing our own innovative tout beating solution to tackle the issue in a way that’s fair to fans and promoters,” adds Hossenally. “We’ve also been vocal supporters and signatories of FanFair’s campaign to create stronger legislation to protect fans and consumers from the pitfalls that have emerged with the secondary market.”

A stronger system

“We empower event organisers to sell more tickets, to improve the marketing for their
events, allow for faster access control and cashless payments, and we provide organisers with real time and in-depth intelligence on their events and attendee,” says Fresch.“The secondary ticketing issue widely discussed today is focused on large sports and music events held in huge venues and arenas. These events are the most attractive to commercial resellers looking to profit from the high demand for tickets. These customers are largely outside the scope of our customer base, and therefore not an issue for us today. That said, as leaders in ticketing, we care about this deep- rooted industry issue.”

“Our technology has definitely changed
 the ticketing sector for good,” adds Fresch. In 2006, when Eventbrite began, the industry saw the ticketing market dominated by less than a handful of providers. “We took modern online technology and developed a professional yet affordable ticketing service for mid-sized and long-tail event. For the first time, an organiser could just go online, set up their event and start selling tickets.”

“There are so many ways that tech is infiltrating live events – access control, VR, social media, cashless payments – and guests are embracing it. Not only that, but they expect it. They want to be wowed by a cool experiential activation. They want to use their phone or wristband as a ticket. They want to leave their wallet at home and use their wristband to pay for beers,” says Janssen. But he believes there is a better way.

He believes that event organisers and consumers are frustrated with secondary ticketing and ticket fraud. “But we have a solution. RFID is not only the solution to ticket fraud, it comes with countless other benefits as well. If you want to get guests in the door quicker so they can start buying food, beer, and merch – then you need RFID. This is the future of live events and it’s happening now,” continues Janssen.

“We wish organisers knew how simple and timesaving their ticketing should really be,” says Jay on behalf of TICKETsrv as she describes her most treasured corners of the sector. “The outdoor events sector is the most vibrant, exciting sector to be in. There really is nothing like helping organisers get the most out of their ticketing, helping to increase sales year on year and that feeling on the morning of the show as the buzz builds before happy customers are scanned into their favourite events.

“We work with such a wide range of events – sports, concert and music 
events, conferences, 
food, wine, and beer festivals. There’s never a dull moment,” agrees Janssen.

Working in events, specifically outdoor, it’s undeniable that the opportunities arise for everyday office days are quite extreme. Attending a festival and calling it work is something that it an odd obstacle to overcome. The same goes for those working to get that festival together, like the ticketing companies that work closely with these events.

Fresch tells Access quite simply that ticketing is more than the transaction of a ticket purchase. “We help people find events to discover new passions, and to fuel existing ones. We help organisers sell more tickets, and in turn grow their events. We help grow live experiences and ultimately, we help bring the world together through live experiences.”

“The excitement and energy is the best thing about this industry. There’s nothing like the thrill of helping organisers put on a great show for their customers and us providing all our technological services to make the event better for them and their customers,” concludes Hossenally.

The Ticket Factory nets England Netball contract

The Ticket Factory has secured a new sporting contract with England Netball. The national ticketing agent, which sells tickets for various sporting events and venues, will be the exclusive ticketing partner for England Netball’s Vitality Netball Superleague: The Final Four.

The Vitality Netball Superleague concludes on 10-11 June at Manchester Arena, calling an end to The Final Four.

“As a boutique ticketing agent focusing on driving sales through the customer experience and smart use of data, we’re offering sporting bodies, rights holders and NGBs a credible alternative to the traditional operators that find it harder to develop bespoke solutions,” says Stuart Cain, managing director of The Ticket Factory.

“Our blend of technology, insight, digital marketing and old-fashioned operational service is really starting to hit home in the sports market. Over the last 12 months we have significantly strengthened our position within the sports sector, working with a number of national governing bodies and high profile sporting events. This new contract with England Netball takes it a step further.”

Sports ticketing has become one of The Ticket Factory’s strongest sectors, with experience providing services to events such as the European Aquatics Championships 2016, the British National Squash Championships, the Lawn Tennis Associations’ Davis Cup and Aegon Classic tournaments, Horse of the Year Show, Autosport International and the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championship.

Matt Cook, director of marketing and commercial for England Netball, said: “We are delighted to be working with The Ticket Factory on what we hope will be our biggest event to date. The sport of netball continues to grow and we look forward to, with The Ticket Factory’s help, welcoming a record crowd to the Manchester Arena in June.”

Two new sports wins for The Ticket Factory

The Ticket Factory has partnered with two UK sports governing bodies, British Swimming and England Squash.
The ticketing agent has secured a four-year contract with British Swimming, a body that represents swimming, para-swimming, diving, high-diving, synchronised swimming, water polo and marathon in the UK. The Ticket Factory will be responsible for five of the association’s national events each year.
As the official ticketing partner for England Squash the Ticket Factory will also work on major national events including The British National Squash Championships and the Allam British Open Squash Grand Prix.
The two governing bodies join The Ticket factory’s existing sports clientele, which includes Lawn Tennis Association, European Aquatics Championships, Matchroom Sport and Yonex Badminton.
Stuart Cain, managing director of The Ticket Factory, commented: “Over the last 12 months, we have strengthened our position within the sports sector, and winning these contracts put us one step ahead of our competitors yet again.
“One of the reasons we have won these contracts is because we’ve showcased how committed we are to putting the customer first. We believe ticketing is central to the customer experience and is often the first and most interactive touchpoint with the event.
“Thanks to our experience of working with national governing bodies and marketing reach, we have built up a large database which we have no doubt will allow England Squash and British Swimming to reach a new sporting audience and profile their events to a larger database.”

The Ticket Factory partners with Trinity Mirror

The Ticket Factory has announced a partnership with Trinity Mirror Midlands, which has a portfolio of titles including the Birmingham Mail, Coventry Telegraph and Birmingham Post.
The partnership programme offers partners of the ticketing agent a range of benefits and additional market reach, and also drives benefits for customers themselves such as discounts.
The addition of Trinity Mirror Midlands reflects a strategic move by The Ticket Factory to expand its presence in the West Midlands region. As part of the NEC Group, The Ticket Factory is the official box office for the group’s venues, including the Barclaycard Arena and the Genting Arena, which sells around 2.5m tickets a year.
Tarah Gear, consumer sales and marketing director at The Ticket Factory, commented: “Our partnerships programme looks at ways in which we can add value for the ticket buyer and set us apart from the competition. As well as offering a range of benefits, we want to make buying tickets as simple as possible for customer, reaching them through the channels that they enjoy reading daily.
“Joining forces with Trinity Mirror Midlands will allow us to reach even more people locally who love live events – it’s now even easier for them to buy a ticket from the point of discovery.”

The industry must clean up its act, says Stuart Cain

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee met yesterday (15 Nov) for a one-off evidence session into ticket touts and the problem of using software to harvest tickets from primary sellers’ online sites.

Stuart Cain, managing director at The Ticket Factory, says action needs to be taken now to stop future generations of fans missing out.

This is a £1 billion industry that will only grow if government and the wider ticketing industry doesn’t wake up and act now.

Government has to wake up to the digital age. Legislation can control the bots that attack legitimate primary sites to rob fans of tickets.  Then it has to enforce it, and work with the music industry and ticketing companies to prevent touting on an industrial scale.

The systematic pillaging of tickets by touts using malicious software to harvest tickets and sell them on at inflated prices via the secondary ticketing market is diverting revenue from the UK’s live events industry – already under threat from a lack of funding – and lining the pockets of touts with no intention of investing in the industry.

Touting has evolved drastically over the years; it’s no longer the stereotypical ‘dodgy dealer’ on the street but global, well-financed organisations and cyber-warriors who are leading the charge. At The Ticket Factory, we’re fighting a war with touts on a daily basis and have invested significant resources into trying to combat the issue. We’ve implemented intelligent software to actively block malicious attacks and fraudulent activity without stopping genuine fans buying tickets.

As far as we’ve come in battling automated bots, we need policymakers to work with us and follow in the footsteps of the New York State Assembly, which has made the use of ticket buying software illegal.

It’s also high time that the secondary ticket industry was held to account along with the people who feed it, inside and outside of the industry.  We need to shine a light on this faceless, largely unaccountable sector, which leaves fans no choice but to pay well over the odds when legitimate routes have been turned over. We’re proud to say The Ticket Factory was the first agent to take a stand against profiteering in the secondary ticketing market through a pioneering partnership with Twickets, an ethical secondary ticketing agency that allows genuine fans to buy and sell tickets at no more than face value.

While the fans, who face increasingly stiff competition to secure tickets at face value for in-demand events, are the immediate victims, not taking action today will damage the industry irreparably in years to come. Ticket agents, venues, artist managers and all those operating in the ticketing sector have a moral responsibility to clean up the market or risk fans losing faith in the UK live events industry.

Initiatives such as FanFair Alliance are a great step towards one coordinated voice across the industry, and are having a vital effect in making policymakers sit up and listen. What we need now is action from government to take measures and commit resources to enforce existing legislation.

The Ticket Factory partners with TeamRock

The Ticket Factory has joined forces with rock and metal website TeamRock to give the ticketing agent access to a platforms attracting a large number of rock, metal and prog fans.

The partnership will result in TeamRock Tickets, powered by The Ticket Factory and existing under the TeamRock brand as part of its online portfolio.

Stuart Cain, managing director of The Ticket Factory, said: “This deal means we’re now the go-to national agent for any event promoter looking to reach rock and metal fans. We’ll now have the opportunity to promote TeamRock Tickets and all of our rock and metal inventory through TeamRock’s online channels and their industry renowned magazines.”

TeamRock MD Tony Dowling added: “This is an exciting initiative which will help cement as the home of rock and metal. Our audience is built of loyal and passionate people, who will soon be able to buy tickets under our brand, meaning we can provide an even better TeamRock experience.

“The Ticket Factory’s technology and systems mean we’ll deliver a reliable service to our customers which will integrate seamlessly with the TeamRock brand. Their proposition of standing ‘for the fans’, developing their product with a customer-first approach and strong stance against secondary ticketing, aligns closely with our ethos as a credible and authentic media owner.”

“Music should be open to all”: The Ticket Factory partners with Twickets

The Ticket Factory has announced a partnership with Twickets, an ethical ticket reseller that allows genuine fans to buy and sell tickets at face value to events they can no longer attend.

The partnership will ensure that customers and clients are protected against ticket touts and various unreliable secondary ticketing websites.

The Ticket Factory customers are now directed to the Twickets website for sold-out shows; later phases of the partnership will see deeper integration between the websites, with customers selling tickets they can’t use simply by re-listing via their Ticket Factory account.

Leading figures in the music industry have praised the move, including Ian McAndrew, CEO and founder of artist management company Wildlife Entertainment.

“It’s fantastic to see a partnership between a primary agent like The Ticket Factory and Twickets that will further enable genuine fans to see the artists they love without paying above face value for a ticket,” McAndrew said. “It becomes increasingly frustrating when we see our fans being ripped off by ticket touts; this partnership will continue the drive to ensure they are better protected.”

The ticket industry was rocked late last year by consumer watchdog Which?’s damning report on ticket reseller sites.

Stuart Cain, managing director of The Ticket Factory (pictured above with Twicket founder Richard Davies), commented: “I saw an article quoting £24,000 for an £85 Adele ticket with a four-figure booking fee. Not even the toughest of street touts would ever have dreamed of asking such prices. The faceless, online secondary market in its current form is hurting the industry. There’s a blurring of the lines between traditional agents with a growing interest in secondary sites and increasing noise about where these tickets are coming from in the first place. I’m all for an open market, but as things stand there’s only one loser in this – the live gig-goer and they will only take this sort of abuse for so long before turning their back on the industry and then where does it leave us? Live music can’t become the exclusive reserve of the fickle rich. Music should be wild and rebellious and open to all.  It’s the stuff that memories are made of.

“Partnerships like this are the right move for anyone who cares about keeping the industry healthy and making live music open to everyone.

“It’s dead simple. You can’t make the gig? Then sell your ticket to a like-minded fan at a fair price. With Twickets, nobody loses out and nobody gets screwed. That’s got to be the fair way to go. The only people who would disagree are those inside and outside of the industry that are exploiting fans and they deserve to be exposed.”

Ticket Factory to cancel Adele tickets sold on secondary sites

The Ticket Factory has announced it will cancel Adele tickets that appear on secondary websites for resale.
Pre-sale tickets for the award-winning singer’s 2016 run sold out within ten minutes, with many immediately appearing on resale sites for up to £2,000.
Stuart Cain, managing director at The Ticket Factory, said: “We genuinely want to make sure that the tickets we sell fall into the hands of genuine fans and so if we are aware of any of our tickets making their way to a secondary site, we will take steps to cancel them.
“If customers do choose to buy them from secondary sites and they are found to originate from The Ticket Factory then they also run the risk of losing their money and being unable to attend the event and we will cancel those tickets where possible.”
 These measures are part of a government-coordinated effort to make secondary ticket sales more transparent.

UPDATED: The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration sells out

The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration, due to take place in May, has sold out of public tickets.

The Ticket Factory, which handled ticket sales of the celebrations, reported that more than 7,000 tickets were sold within the first hour, with peak sales of over 400 tickets a minute after they went on sale at 9am yesterday (24 November).

The ticketing agency’s Contact Centre in Birmingham’s NEC also reported receiving calls from more than 2,000 people hoping to buy tickets.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response from the public for tickets to celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday and we aren’t surprised at how quickly they have sold out,” said The Ticket Factory’s managing director Stuart Cain.

The Queen’s Birthday will take place in Home Park, Windsor Castle on 12-15 May 2016, with thousands gathering to celebrate.

UPDATE: Organisers have announced a second chance grab for tickets to The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration.

Simon Brooks-Ward, producer and director, confirmed: “We’ve been working hard to make this a most unique birthday celebration. We’re especially delighted with our plans to offer an extra 5,000 people the chance to be part of the celebrations through our balloted system for tickets on The Long Walk.”

The free ballot for tickets will open sometime in early 2016. This second wave of tickets is for a pre-performance party on the final night, 15 May.