Last week my colleague and I had a chance to attend and sponsor the World Ticketing Conference in Las Vegas. It was a great event, and my first ticketing conference. As a first-timer, there were quite a few observations that I had of the event that I wanted to share.
Spreedly has had the chance to work with many of the leaders in the ticketing space. Festival and event companies like SXSW and Gingerbread Shed, as well as ticket marketplaces and sellers like Ticket Fairy and SeatGeek.
Traditionally a venue, rights holder, or contracted agent would be the primary market for tickets. Consumers would buy tickets from one of these parties, and payments would be processed directly. Surplus, bulk purchased, and resale tickets would then be offered by brokers or other agents. Consumers could also shop these brokers for last-minute deals, hard to find tickets, and in other situations. Payments would be processed directly with the seller, who had generally already previously purchased the ticket. Online marketplaces became a vital market for selling tickets in a secondary mode. Brokers and other ticket holders were able to place tickets for sale on both their website and traditional channels ‚Äì and via marketplaces. Marketplaces, like SeatGeek, StubHub, TickPick, GameTime, Ticketmaster Resale, TicketCity, Ticket Fairy, and others, became powerful aggregators of consumers. The rising influence of marketplaces meant that consumers were increasingly prepared to go to those sites first when looking for tickets. That has led to a blurring of the lines between the primary and secondary markets. So, venues and rights-holders (e.g. sports teams) saw an opportunity to sell more tickets via these channels.
A customer attending an event is looking to have a great experience. And that experience often starts with the purchasing of the ticket itself. Is the selection of the ticket a smooth process? Is the payment process simple? Are they able to choose where they want to sit easily? What about buying at the last minute or on mobile device? And how about actually getting (electronically or not) and using the ticket? Ticket vendors have recognized this need and have invested heavily in creating a great customer experience. The selection and checkout processes have been simplified. And even though the relationship between the venue, ticket owner, marketplace, and consumer might be complicated, the payments process must be easy. When a customer purchases a ticket for an event, especially when it is not directly with the venue or its agent, there traditionally could be a concern over the ticket‚Äôs validity. Consumers prefer to deal with an entity that they trust. Delivering a great customer experience enhances that trust and keeps consumers coming back.
Live events are increasingly important for artists and right holders ‚Äì especially musicians. That has led to a shift toward providing more ‚Äúexperiences‚Äù that better monetize the event and increase satisfaction of the customers. And customers are increasingly demanding these kinds of add-ons that make an event more memorable. These kinds of add-ons might be seat upgrades like those offered by Experience. It could be meet and greets, behind the scenes access, or additional food options, for example. While these are valuable to provide, they can be a logistical challenge. Some of these add-ons could be via third-parties, and that means that processing payments to the various vendors can be complicated. Ticketing companies should look to solutions that enable them to process payments for customers and pass transactions back through partner companies. That‚Äôs an area that Spreedly can help support.
Ticketing pricing is increasingly dynamic and changing over time. And tickets are often sold through a complex network of marketplaces and other channels. So, coordinating payments is vital to get right. That is, being able to smoothly transact with a venue, rights-holder, partner marketplaces, and brokers. That‚Äôs another area where Spreedly‚Äôs payment infrastructure is valuable. It helps businesses to efficiently manage the process of transacting across even complex networks of partner and affiliate companies.
This is an incredibly innovative and entrepreneurial space. And the conference provided a great opportunity to dive deeper and learn more about the industry.