Creating ‘The World’s Largest B2B2C Platform For Live Events’: Q’s With Festicket CEO Zack Sabban & Event Genius MD Reshad Hossenally

Annie Mac Presents Lost & Found Festival 2019
Luke Dyson
– Annie Mac Presents Lost & Found Festival 2019
Event Genius provided access control, ticketing, cashless wristbands etc. to the festival in May of this year

Festicket has acquired ticketing and cashless company Event Genius for an undisclosed sum in a sale that also includes Ticket Arena, the consumer facing event marketplace of the Event Genius platform.
Festicket enables music fans to discover and book tickets and travel packages for more than 2,000 music festivals worldwide, bringing together a network of close to 6,000 accommodation and travel suppliers. 
The new brand, known as Event Genius by Festicket, promises to function as “an end-to-end platform for organizers and fans alike,” combining both companies’ businesses, which includes ticketing, accommodation, travel & packages, marketing, data insights & analytics, access control, POS and cashless payment services, fan engagement tools and more.
Event Genius provides its chashless event technology to promoters across the UK and Europe, including Wales Rally GB, Motion Bristol, Annie Mac’s Lost & Found Festival, Summer Daze, Ibiza Rocks and BPM Festival, and also owns event discovery and ticketing site Ticket Arena. The company won the Production Innovation Award for its cashless event solution at last year’s Ticketing Business Awards.
Pollstar reached out to Festicket CEO and co-founder Zack Sabban and Event Genius founder and managing director Reshad Hossenally, to find out what the deal really means for their companies, which have collectively served more than 4.5 million customers from over 120 countries by their own admission.

Zack Sabban
– Zack Sabban
CEO and co-founder of Festicket

How exactly does Event Genius enhance Festicket’s business?

Zack Sabban: At Festicket, we’ve built an extremely powerful B2C platform for discovering and booking festival trips. But, to continue our hyper growth trajectory, we needed to invest more in B2B tools to scale operationally the way we work with our global network of 8,000 suppliers (i.e. 2,000 festival organisers and 6,000 travel & accommodation providers).
Event Genius has built a great product they have good reason to be proud of – including a self-service ticketing system, access control, POS and cashless payment services, fan engagement tools and more to complement perfectly our current offering. With their technology and expertise, we can now serve festivals and events of all types right from the beginning of the journey with the organizers, through to delivery and post event. 
The vision is now to create the world’s largest B2B2C platform for live events!
Can you now supply events of all kinds with Event Genius cashless technology? 
Sabban: Yes, that’s right. Festivals are of course a focus as the product is a great fit for festivals of all kinds but we’re also excited to begin rolling out our new integrated solution to wider markets. 
Event Genius have already experienced successes with other live music events, food and drinks events and clubbing events and we’ll be looking to develop this further targeting sports, family attractions and resorts and more. 
I’m assuming the data insight you will gain from people paying cashless will help you target customers in an even more personalised way, is that correct? 
Sabban: Yes, having a single platform for ticketing, accommodation & travel, onsite & cashless, helps us tailor the best offering for each customer, and provides the most seamless experience for both promoters and customers. This is actually very unique in the market today.
We’ll be able to utilize both online and onsite data (like customer-spending patterns, concession performance, best-selling products and more) to help improve our communication with customers. This is actually very unique in the market today. 
Annie Mac Presents Lost & Found Festival 2019
Luke Dyson
– Annie Mac Presents Lost & Found Festival 2019
Event Genius provided access control, ticketing, cashless wristbands etc. to the festival in May of this year

To sum this all up, it’d be great if you could break down a best-case scenario of how Festicket could now accompany a festivalgoer on their journey: from searching for events, combining them with accommodation and travel, purchasing the tickets, travelling to the event, entering the event via wristband, paying cashless via wristband, receiving offers on site, up to the point when they leave again.
Sabban: In an ideal world, festival fans will browse on to take advantage of our numerous discovery tools (guides, magazine, Festival Finder using Spotify integration, etc.) to find their perfect festival. Once chosen, they’ll be able to combine their tickets with our diverse selection of accommodation, travel and cashless credit options & add-ons in one simple booking, even saving money when booking as a package.
Once booked, they’ll then be kept up to date with all festival news, such as lineup announcements, as well as magazine features on the festival and of course any booking info, hopefully getting them even more excited for the festival. We’ll be able to use this same thread to provide festival-goers with information needed about accessing the event and paying via cashless, as well as utilising the data insights associated with this to better personalise our communications. 
By partnering up with Event Genius, when customers arrive at the event their tickets will be authenticated and wristbands will be topped up with any previously purchased cashless credit all in one seamless process.   
Post event, the wealth of data we have collected will allow us to provide the very best recommendations for the customers next event experience. 
In short, we’re aiming to reduce the number of pain points involved with the fans’ experiences. Right from their initial purchase and travelling to the event to accessing the event itself, reducing queueing times across the site and making sure people are able to discover amazing new events. 
Pool Party at Annie Mac Presents Lost & Found Festival 2019
Luke Dyson & Matt Eachus (Manc Photo)
– Pool Party at Annie Mac Presents Lost & Found Festival 2019
Event Genius provided access control, ticketing, cashless wristbands etc. to the festival in May of this year

In what ways can Festicket enhance this experience, especially now that it is part of the purchasing processes on site as well?
Sabban: The discovery element has always been at the forefront of what Festicket is all about. From our festival guides and online magazine, to our Festival Finder tool and Artist Pages that allow fans to be notified when their favourite artists are announced for a festival, we want to be the go-to place for festival fans to discover their next favourite events. We believe this part of the festival experience is arguably the most fun.
Beyond that, we’ll also be bringing our global network of accommodation and travel suppliers into the mix, combining that with Event Genius’ POS and cashless technology to create an unbeatable product for festival-goers. 

Reshad Hossenally
– Reshad Hossenally
Founder and managing director of Event Genius

The press release says “joining forces with Festicket’s global marketplace will help us collectively become a big disruptive player in the industry”. Can you elaborate on the ways this is actually going to play out in reality?  What does disruptive mean in this context? 

Reshad Hossenally: As separate entities, Festicket and Event Genius have lots of competitors across ticketing, accommodation, travel packages, marketing, cashless systems and beyond. When we join forces we have a truly unique offering. No other company will be able to match this and we feel we can really disrupt the current festival and live music industries and change what organisers look for in their suppliers. Our new offering will allow organisers to drop lots of single service providers and streamline their processes significantly. 
How exactly will it enhance the customer’s event-going experience?
Hossenally: Attending events of all kinds and securing all the things you need in order to do so can be a difficult process for anyone. Having to browse multiple websites to locate tickets, accommodation, travel and other essentials for some event such as cashless wristband set up and crediting is often stressful, expensive and time consuming. 
Event Genius by Festicket will allow event organisers to offer all this and more through one place. Purchases will be made from a single account, customer support for all elements will come from the same team and as such, each event-goer will benefit from a personalised experience. We’re streamlining the whole process for fans and organisers alike.