Pollstar Live! Future of Ticketing Technology

There may always be a few dominant forces in the ticketing world but the playing field has begun to level out in recent years thanks to technology.

“One of interesting things in ticketing and technology is that a lot the barriers continue to shrink,” said SHO Services’ Ross Hollman. “Where you used to have to have massive amounts of capital to invest in servers and shopping carts and things on the transactional side, now you can buy a shopping cart, now you can rent server capacity. Now you can scale as you need to.”

See Also: Extended Pollstar Live! Coverage as well as Pollstar Live! Facebook and Twitter

Not that ticketing revolves around shopping carts anymore. What was once a matter of a simple transaction is now anything but with the additions of data capture, social tools, marketing, branding, and experiential opportunities.

Front Gate Tickets’ Jack McCarty explained his company worked to establish a solid and reliable ticketing solution over the years before branching out into other areas including social and mobile integration, applications for talent buyers and partnering to offer RFID solutions for its clients.

“Ticketing is kind of the gateway for a lot of folks to engage with technology and build their business,” he said. “A ticket company is in a position to do those things and lead their clients and their customers into the future.”

Ticketfly’s Gannon Hall echoed that sentiment, noting promoters are looking for much more than tickets from their ticketing companies these days.

“In many cases ticketing providers are their primary technology partner to a large degree,” he said. “Some of the things we do include building out their web infrastructure. Data is king and is kind of the asset that is the most valuable, given that ultimately this is a commerce exercise we’re talking about, so as much as we can provide to our clients around analytics so they can hone and optimize better, I think that’s very big.”

Creating a user experience that allows brands to tap into an event is another big part of ticketing these days.

“We look at the user and the profile of that user as the key driving force to get value and revenue to promoters – to give a reason for brands to be a part of the event,” EITS Global’s David McWilliams said. “It’s all about social experience and allowing that user to interact with the event, the venue and the brands that are present.”

Intellitix’s Serge Grimaux has a similar perspective, and sees RFID wristbands as a way to generate new revenue by creating interactive environments that can help with brand activation on a festival site like his company has done for Coachella and Bonnaroo.

“This technology makes it extremely interactive for the people on an event site to share with their friends that aren’t there and to share with friends that are there and for the ones that aren’t there to share with ones that are on the event site,” he said.

But RFID wristbands aren’t the only way to enable branding for an event. Access Pass & Design s Seth Sheck has been designing credentials for the concert industry for years and is now embedding similar technology into his laminates.

“Anybody with a [near field communication] enabled phone could tap this pass to the device and have access to a game that’s driving traffic to our website,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense to have something fun going on that engages the fan and brings more value to the event producer and also to the sponsor before and after the event.”

Fans are also being tapped for as a valuable component of the ticketing equation, Anderson Bell of FanFueled pointed out.

“Beyond just a Facebook like or an email address, there’s a lot your fanbase can do online to help promote your events, support your sponsors and just get the word out in general. … We make it easy to reward fans for supporting sponsors. In return for that we get a deep understanding of the ripple effect of each fans’ influence on revenue.”

Blaine LeGere explained how AXS is getting fans can help promote events through AXS Invite, which allows a consumer to purchase tickets, reserve adjacent seats and invite friends to join them.

“By doing that we’ve seen an incredible change in the data we’ve been able to collect. Instead of one person buying 2.7 tickets, it’s going to 4.1 people now and we’re collecting another 1.5 names in our database. So you’re creating more revenue, you’re growing your database and you’re still being social in the process,” he said.

And if fans are hesitant to get social with their ticket purchases, TicketMob’s Scot Richardson offered a bit of advice.

“When you don’t give a discount for sharing on social media, we see people sharing about one percent of the time they’re buying tickets,” he said. “You give a discount as little as $1 in our system you see that go up to about 12 percent. You give a discount around $3 it goes up to about 45 percent of people and you’ve turned that buyer into a marketer.”