It’s been three years since See Tickets planted its flag in the United States and after several years of sustained growth in the music and live events space, the Vivendi-owned ticketing company is going all-in on marketing and service by hiring industry veterans from its top competitors.
From A UK Record Shop to Los Angeles
See Tickets North America CEO Boris Patronoff is working with See Tickets founder Rob Wilmshurst, who created the company inside a Nottingham, U.K. record store in 1990 and grew See Tickets into one of Europe’s largest ticketing companies, eventually being acquired by Universal Music Group owner Vivendi in 2011.
“We acquired Flavorus last year, restructured and rebranded the business and are now investing heavily in people, service and technology. It’s very exciting,” explains Patronoff, who has seen his company grow its client base by more than 50% in 2017.
“We feel really good about where we stand,” Patronoff said. “We have a strong platform that’s not just solid technology — it’s also the team and the services we offer.”
See Tickets differentiates itself against other ticketing systems by adhering to its core belief: Be a service company, not a software company. In an industry full of software vendors, See Tickets has worked hard to become a true partner with its clients, offering best practices collected over two-and-a-half decades of experience ticketing some of the largest events in the world. The company believes that no two promoters are the same, and tailoring it’s offerings is crucial. See Tickets offers custom marketing and reporting solutions, web design and development services and the ability to tap into Vivendi’s larger pool of resources.
“We’ve got a good heritage and an even better backstory,” Wilmshurst said. “People want to work with us because we have credibility and they know we’re not going to say “here’s our platform, call us when you need something.” “We’re going to show up at your planning meetings and on site to help make sure the ticketing process runs smoothly,” adding that his hard work ethic comes from operating independent record store chains in the U.K. and competing with big box retailers.
“We’ve won business because we’ve focused on service because we are independent from any large promoter,” Wilmshurst said, adding that unlike their competitors, See Tickets is not seeking funding or new investors. It’s supported by a group that has been in business since 1853.
“When we talk service, we’re talking from A to Z,” Patronoff tells Amplify. “We’re providing services for ticketing, marketing, financing and more. People call me directly to talk about their event, how we can help drive more tickets sales or fund working capital needs, etc. – we’re here to help and whatever the promoter has a need or an issue with, we’re going to try to address or fix it.”
“We’re here to complement the hard work that promoters are already doing,” Patronoff explains. “We’re never going to be the promoter. It’s the hardest job in the world and we know that. Our value is to be a true partner and help them.”
Technology and innovation plays an important role in enabling new services and driving efficiencies. But for Patronoff this is not enough, “we complement the technology with service that comes from the great people we have, not automation. We’re not just handing over software and expecting our clients to push a button.”
The company first launched in 2014 focusing primarily on artist ticketing with Universal Music Group before shifting the business following its acquisition of Flavorus. See Tickets has grown its onsite staff teams with seasoned professionals to help with event set up, onsite access control, box office management, fraud protection and marketing which is a big area of support for promoters.
Client Led Innovation
“We invest constantly in our platform and service through development and partnerships. We always do that with our clients in mind to address their main concerns like how to sell more tickets, prevent fraud or eliminate scalping,” says Patronoff.
One example is the pre-registration system with photo ID that See Tickets developed specifically for Glastonbury de facto eliminating scalping entirely.
Patronoff adds “We have many exciting things coming in our roadmap, including new partner integrations that will prove very valuable for our clients. We are also working on some very interesting projects, from custom research to proprietary tools with Havas (one of the world’s largest global communications groups, owned by Vivendi) to sell more tickets and drive more marketing value to our clients.”
Strong Financial Resources
“We’re backed by a $30+ billion market cap company,” Patronoff said. “We’re not a start up looking for financing. We’re a solid business and are as safe as a bank. While we have lots of resources, we are careful in how we allocate our capital.”
“It’s not just about ‘how much do you have?’ We want clients who are going to come and join the family and stay with us because they are excited about our story and understand that we are well positioned to help them grow for years to come.”
The company is looking for talent in business development as the ticketing industry continues to shift and adjust to big changes. Patronoff believes music venues and festivals will be the key area of growth for See Tickets in 2018, but the company is pursuing all opportunities. It recently signed the Queen Mary in Long Beach and will ticket their summer concert series.