Mobile ticket purchases will be one of the concert industry’s biggest growth areas this year. The ability to buy tickets from a phone is just a small component of what’s possible — CRM, Apple Pay and beacon technology all have the potential to revolutionize the box office. Below we look at six trends in 2015 that will have a big impact on the mobile landscape.
Google Maps Takes the Reins
Google Maps has become one of the most popular navigation tools on iOS & Droid — now fans can search venues and easily buy tickets with a simple click. Google has developed a deep integration with a number of ticketing companies that allows mobile users to link directly to landing pages where fans can purchase tickets and learn more about an event. Ticketing companies like ShoWare, Ticket Alternative and Ticketweb, along with Ticketmaster and TicketFly, have completed the integration.
“The new functionality from Google is simple,” said Joe Wettstead, VP of Sales and Marketing at Showare. “The events are now listed on Google Maps so anyone who integrated with Google Events will benefit from the new map listings.”
Bottom Line: Event discovery had been the catch-phrase of 2014, but Google is doubling down on organic search and hoping the simplicity of this integration boosts sales and gives Google a foothold into the event space.
The explosion in mobile ticket purchases has brought with it a whole new subset of consumer data. But ultimately who controls that data? Ticketing firm Etix has developed a number of tools to help its clients leverage and protect their consumer data. Etix CEO Joe Kustelski estimates that each email in a venue’s database is worth $17 — not just in ticket revenue, but premium upsells. Last year, online parking purchases accounted for an average $600,000 in incremental revenue, while online bundling (merch and tickets) led to a 7-percent increase.
Bottom Line: Etix is starting 2015 strong with two major client acquisitions — the Tyson Events Center and the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa. “Etix’s expansive in-house digital marketing program, flexible ticketing system, hands-on approach to customer service and lower convenience fees for patrons went into our decision,” said Erika Newton with Sioux City’s Events & Facilities Department.
The Connected Venue
Ticketfly acquired the WillCall app earlier this year, and now CEO and founder Andrew Dreskin is developing some very cool consumer features using beacon technology. Venues and clubs using the BarTab app can recognize a patron when they walk into the venue, open a tab for the fan at the bar, have the customer order drinks to their “tab” by simply telling the bartender their name, and easily close out their tab — all without having to pull their phone out of their pocket.
Bottom Line: Beacon technology has the potential to completely change the venue experience and gives venues powerful new ways to communicate and interact with their fans.
The mobile revolution has also led to the growth of back-end mobile applications for CRM and box offices. Vendini’s Patron Connect iOS platform was developed for busy venue professionals working a major event — using a tablet, executives can see which patrons have scanned into the building with their seating location, overall spending and quick links to email or call the patron. Patron Connect users can assign tasks, set SMS notifications for VIPs and get a 360-view of their customer on any tablet or device
Bottom Line: Mobile CRM applications help professionals make sense of their large databases with simple to read dashboards that allow them to tailor the right message to the right consumer.
Simple Event Registration
Not all events need complicated reserved seating applications. A number of companies have developed powerfully simple tools for event planners of all sizes. Atlanta-based Ticket Alternative has developed Freshtix, a sleek new interface for GA events that allows organizers to easily post, promote, and track event registration. Similar to Eventbrite’s core product offering, Freshtix doesn’t require its users to sign exclusive ticketing contracts and only charges .99 per ticket sold, plus 2%. And Freshtix doesn’t require users to buy expensive hardware — organizers can use their mobile devices to scan tickets and track customers.
Bottom Line:: Small event organizers and party planners are increasingly looking for more sophisticated registration applications, but don’t want to pay the fees associated with most ticketing contracts.
There’s been much made of Apple Pay and the hesitation of retailers to adopt the near-field communications (NFC) payment system. The real power of Apple Pay isn’t at the checkout counter — it’s online, where fans are increasingly purchasing more and more tickets on their mobile devices. Ticketmaster’s adoption of Apple Pay makes it simple to finalize a sale with a thumbprint, as opposed to pulling out a credit card to type in 16 tiny numbers plus an expiration date. It will make the sale of tickets through mobile phones much simpler.
Bottom Line: Last-minute purchases and impulse buys will certainly increase for any ticketing company that utilizes Apple Pay. Typing in a password can slow you down, but a simple thumbprint makes it so easy to say yes.