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Ticketing firms launch range of initiatives to support industry

As the live events industry continues to suffer losses amid the coronavirus pandemic, ticketing companies are finding ways to support the people in their industry.

Ticketmaster UK has created a comprehensive information portal that will be kept up to date with changes to the status of all impacted events. The page has an A-Z list of all the firm’s cancelled and altered events.

Meanwhile, cloud-based payment platform TicketCo has launched new functionality to enable event organisers to offer customers a voucher instead of a refund. It has also created an option for ticket buyers to ‘forgo’ a refund or a voucher and pledge the money to the club or event to support them at this time.

TicketCo UK country manager David Kenny said: “A world without an event industry is an unbearable thought, and it’s in everyone’s interest that the event organisers make it through this crisis. One way to achieve this is to accept a voucher instead of a cash refund for a cancelled event.

“This way, every ticket buyer can make a small contribution and together these contributions hopefully will make a difference. We hope this will help organisers during this crisis and we will continue to do our best to devise further solutions that can have a positive impact.”

International arts management consultants TRG Arts and UK arts data specialists Purple Seven have teamed up to provide intelligence and advice to the sector in the wake of the closure of most of the nation’s arts venues.

The partnership brings together Purple Seven’s live sales feeds from hundreds of UK arts venues and the data analysis and counsel of long-established data driven consulting firms.

Following the first day of theatre shutdowns, advance ticket sales fell by 92% and income by 92% with TRG’s chief executive Jill Robinson encouraging fans to make donations and continue to purchase advance tickets. She added the recovery will be “a marathon, not a sprint.”

She continued: “It is vital that the UK arts sector works together with robust, real-time data to understand and react to the rapidly changing landscape. On the day after the Government imposed shutdown, leaders of theatres and concert halls were focusing on managing a phenomenal onslaught of requests for refunds. This in itself will have a huge impact on cashflow, but it will be multiplied if advance bookings dwindle.

“To safeguard the UK’s world-renowned cultural sector, the Government needs to ensure the sector has grants to deal with the immediate crisis. At the same time arts lovers need to show support for their local venues not only by making donations but also by purchasing advance tickets.

“We’re already seeing wonderful examples of support for organisations who are positively engaging with their audiences to minimise the short-term impact. But this will be a marathon, not a sprint, and with our colleagues at Purple Seven we will be monitoring the financial ‘advance’ for the sector and encouraging venues to do all they can to ensure that when their doors reopen their seats are full.”

Spektrix, a cloud-based ticketing platform, has developed a ticket converter tool, which is now available for free to all cultural organisations regardless of the ticketing system they use.

The tool is designed to make it easier for audiences to donate, or accept refunds as credit, with a single email click.

The firm said in a statement: “We hope that the tool will be useful to the wider cultural sector and we want to help. Please note that there is a small amount of manual work to be done by Spektrix in order to set each organisation up, so there may be some delay.

“We have no idea how much take up of this there will be. And, as I am sure you will all appreciate, we must prioritise setting up our paying clients. We will do our utmost to get any organisation who wants to use this set up as soon as possible.”

Spektrix claims that within the first few hours of using the new tool, one organisation has taken over 250 donations in lieu of refunds.

In addition, ticket discovery platform Goldstar has asked its 10 million-subscriber base to make donations for organisations instead of marketing tickets to their shows.

The firm said in a statement: “Our goal is to get them some help right now. We’re using ALL our promotional channels to make a difference. We’re looking to generate awareness and, more importantly, revenue for them. In essence, we’re becoming a fundraising platform like the ones you know, but with a built-in big audience and a lot of marketing tools.”

In addition, ticketing provider SeatGeek has announced it is working with theatre partners across the UK to utilise functionality within its ticketing system to allow them to appeal to audiences to donate their tickets to closed venues.

SeatGeek’s managing director for EMEA Entertainment, Charlie Sefi, said: “This is a hugely challenging time for theatres and venues, who are dependent on ticket income. We are trying to support our clients in any way possible, helping them to appeal to theatre-goers who have already purchased tickets to also support the arts at this time by donating the cost of the ticket back to the venue.

“If the majority of customers chose to support theatres and the arts by opting to refuse their refund, it would make a significant impact on a venue’s financial stability and its long term viability.”

Image: TicketCo