Fresh from its success this summer with Europe’s renowned Sziget Festival, TheTicketingBusiness caught up with Tickething’s CEO Bence Töreky.
The Budapest-based operation has been pushing its “take control of your secondary ticket market” campaign this summer – driving awareness of its transparent fan-to-fan resale platform.
“When you look around at the headlines, the proposed legislation, the legal threats and so on, it’s clear that there is growing momentum across all sides of the industry for a fan-friendly solution but, we believe, any solution should retain control for the event owners,” says Töreky (pictured). “With our platform, promoters can set the resale and exchange rules. From resale only at face value, through to a range of options for price capping and the fees, and who pays them – it’s the promoter who decides.”
For example, EFOTT – a music festival on the shores of Velence Lake, Hungary with a strong university student audience of over 110,000 visitors – has historically banned resale but this caused a degree of friction for its customers.
“Students want to share,” comments Töreky, “and were often vocal when they couldn’t swap or exchange tickets.”
This year the Tickething solution was offered by the festival’s organisers – for face-value resale with the fee on the seller of approximately €7. Over 500 personalised tickets were re-sold with the organisers benefiting from more customer data and a clearer picture of resale opportunities.
Ticketing’s solution also caught the eye of another Hungarian festival but also one of the most respected in the world – Sziget. The week-long festival on an island outside Budapest hosts more than 1,000 performances and uses its own ticketing platform to service the needs of more than half-a-million guests this year.
TAKING BACK CONTROL
Sziget’s management company has long-resisted the resale channel but it’s tickets selling out months in advance – and a rise in fake tickets and unauthorised, invalid resale – have created negative experiences for festival-goers.
“Of course, nobody likes to be turned away from a festival when they’ve made the journey,” says Töreky. “But Sziget really cares about its guests and wanted to reduce the risk of such disappointment at the gate. This year we operated the system – only in Hungarian and without much fanfare – as certified ticket exchange for guests who had tickets to offload.”
Thousands of tickets were resold on the platform during the festival season, with the seller paying 5% commission and buyer 10% – with the charges including all transaction fees.
“When you consider that nearly two-thirds of visitors to Sziget come from outside Hungary, the results are impressive,” says Töreky. “The key message is that organisers who care about their guests should be providing an authorised exchange or resale channel – and be setting the rules by which it operates.”
In fact, Töreky goes so far as to claim that Sziget is “ probably one of the first festivals in Europe to directly integrate with a resale platform.”
SETTING THE RULES
Tickething’s growing list of clients include other leading festivals in Hungary – such as Balaton Sound and Volt – and it also has a co-operation with TIXA, one of the country’s leading primary ticket seller. An API provides TIXA with the opportunity for its clients to establish a resale channel under “their own rules,” explains Töreky. This can help keep prices down for the fans but also block out the touts. Personalised tickets are a big step in this direction with clients increasingly wanting to out names on tickets and provide price capping rules on resale.
To its advantage, Tickething is operating in a market where some 60% of tickets are sold online as e-tickets with plenty of events only selling via pre-sale. The firm has three large-scale festivals (within the Sziget family) and several mid sized festivals now as clients and the country’s leading primary seller on board. It’s a different scenario than say Germany were close to 80% of tickets are still paper-based.
Credit card fraud is also a big issue and Tickething has been running AI technology to detect potentially fraudulent transactions before payment for the past two years.
‘If there is no API connection between an event and Tickething, we make sure to only pay out sellers after the event has passed, in order to be able to offer a 100% money back guarantee.’ explains Töreky. Thus, ‘in case there is an API partnership between the event and Tickething, there is no need to hold back the payment from the sellers, as the resale via the API is 100% secure, there is no chance for the sellers to sell fake tickets or selling the same e-ticket multiple times.’
Having developed a solution which is tried and tested – and one that has cornered a significant chunk of the vibrant Hungarian market – Tickething’s management is now looking overseas.
“We are looking for strategic partners on the international landscape, such as primary ticket sellers and rights holders – including festivals, venues and so on,” enthuses Töreky. “Effectively we can offer the same solution as those being touted by new blockchain startups but without promoters having to switch tech.”
“We return control to the rightsholders. Organisers cannot ignore the fact that customers are demanding – for a multitude of reasons – the right to swap, exchange or re-sell tickets. This is taking them to unauthorised sales channels,” summarises Töreky. “Surely it’s better for the event organiser to take control of the situation? It’s a win-win.”
And numerous festivals and venues are starting to agree with him.
Pic credit: Sziget Cultural Foundation