Online platforms have changed the game of event ticketing. While droves of platform developers are welcoming the opportunity to deliver the convenience and instant gratification of online ticketing to customers, the proliferation of new entrants into the market has left event organizers feeling overwhelmed. Although selling tickets has never been easier, the choices for event producers are becoming ever more complex.
There are a number of reasons why more organizers are turning to online ticketing. Consummating a transaction in the cloud is faster and easier for both buyers and sellers than managing paper tickets. Selling via the Internet has vastly reduced the costs and the amount of time it takes to deliver tickets according to Jayesh Parmar, CEO of Vancouver-based Picatic. Plus, he says, “Online ticketing allows almost immediate access to funds.”
The Time is Right for Online Ticketing Platforms
Why are there so many event-ticketing platforms? The consensus is simple: the market is huge, financial incentives are attractive, and the technology is available for developers to build better platforms more quickly.
“There are so many different types of events in general: sporting, concerts, big events, and small events. It seems like there are platforms for every type of event,” said Ben Hawes, marketing intern for San Francisco-based ticketing company Eventbee.
According to Sean Hurley, inbound growth manager of Uniiverse in San Francisco, the monetary benefits of event ticketing (most charge a commission on ticket sales) are appealing to would-be entrepreneurs. “There is a lot of money in the industry, especially if you’re selling really expensive tickets.”
Cloud technology and the popularity of mobile devices are helping ticketing companies to push the envelope. “It’s not a simple thing to build a ticketing platform, but cloud computing is a big part of it, and storage has become a lot less expensive,” says Hurley.
Hawes points to advances in mobile technology: “It’s possible to use a tablet [to sell tickets] at the front door. People can buy and sell tickets on their phones while they’re walking around,” he says.
What To Look For In An Online Ticketing Platform
Too many event-ticketing options can overwhelm event organizers. Nevertheless, developers say, there are ways to differentiate among vendors. The cost of the software, amount of fees charged on ticket transactions, and whether or not the company is a third-party service provider or offers software for the event website are only a few of the considerations for buyers.
Positive user experiences, data reports, and check-in tools have become the baseline features of a solid online ticketing platform provider, Picatic’s Parmar says.
Taku Harada, the founder and CEO of global ticketing company Peatix, believes that client empowerment plays a big role in differentiation. “Instead of having to contact a sales rep at a ticketing company, a lot of services these days are completely self-service. Within two minutes you can start selling tickets to your event,” he says.
Harada also asserts that status reports are another must-have feature of any platform. “With a traditional paper company, you only get stats once a week. But with a cloud-based system you can login 24-7 and understand what is going on with your ticket sales and where the traffic is coming from.”
“There have to be listings and search functions for users and organizers need to be able to process payments in a quick, easy, and most importantly, secure way,” says Sean Hurley of Uniiverse.
The Ticketing Process Is About To Change Dramatically
What’s becoming abundantly clear from all of the interest and activity in the online ticketing ecoverse is that paper ticketing is likely on its way out. According to Hurley, event organizers are less inclined to work with paper tickets these days.
“There is a new generation of event organizers who are more sophisticated. The decision makers for events are the technical teams, the web developers—at least in terms of platforms and tools,” Jayesh Parmar explains.
“[The ticketing process] has been stagnant for the longest time. You set up an event, take money, and give a ticket,” says Parmar. Not so today. To remain competitive now, he adds, ticketing companies have to offer more software tools to their clients, preferably of the type that help them sell more tickets. Event organizers stand to benefit significantly from the innovation, if they take the time to do their homework.