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.