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Activity Stream sees data-based silver lining as COVID-19 ravages live events

The need for understanding sales, marketing, and audiences will be “much more critical” as live events begin to pick up again after COVID-19 restrictions are eased globally, according to Activity Stream executive Martin Gammeltoft.

The business solutions provider, which provides data tools as-a-service for the sports and live entertainment industries and gives organisations the opportunity to use technology such as machine learning and cross-industry benchmarking, has been forced to lower costs and initiate a series of cost-reducing initiatives amid the COVID-19 shutdown of live events.

While vice-president of commercial operations Gammeltoft (pictured below) told TheTicketingBusiness that the firm has been “severely impacted” by the pandemic, primarily due to uncertainty, he is optimistic about the sector’s future.

He said: “Tough as times are, it may actually turn out to be a great boost for us, as the need for understanding sales, marketing, and audiences will be much more critical post-COVID-19.”

Gammeltoft said it would be important for organisations in the live events industry to handle “audience anxiety” as mass gatherings slowly return at reduced capacities. He also noted that technology will play a key part in the reopening process as companies will be looking to work effectively, as the impact of COVID-19 will force firms to focus on minimising costs for as long as possible.

In February, a month before the pandemic had a major impact on live events in Europe, Activity Stream launched a new donation and fundraising feature that allows teams to monitor campaigns and identify trends, as well as manage relationships with top donors.

At the time of the launch, the firm said: “For many theatres and performing arts venues all over the world, donations are a key part of what keeps the business running and funds new projects, and a lot of effort goes into tracking donation drives and managing the relationship with key donors.”

Gammeltoft told TheTicketingBusiness that the launch was “great timing” as donations are playing a central role for its clients. He added: “We have also launched product sales, which is another key focus area for many sports clubs in this period.

“We are also focusing on the re-opening. As an example, we are running algorithm experiments to do optimal seating with seating restrictions.”

Despite business suffering due to the pandemic, Activity Stream has become a contributor to the WeWillRecover initiative, which is supporting organisations across the live entertainment industry by providing information, content, videos and tips.

Gammeltoft said in a video about the WeWillRecover initiative: “In recent weeks, it has become clear that the reopening of venues, theatres and stadiums may the biggest challenge the industry has ever faced.

“Organisations need to change, they need to learn, and they need to do it fast. Many will have to do so on smaller budgets, and maybe even with smaller teams. So it’s more important than ever that we support each other and help each other grow.”

He told TheTicketingBusiness: “We have also adjusted our product roadmap to further focus on automated optimisation of marketing, and ‘playbooks’ that will enable teams to be very effective in learning and adjusting marketing.”

Moving forward, Gammeltoft said virtual elements will be a more integral part of the industry, adding that the industry will see more Augmented Reality at ‘ghost events’, and AI-based marketing management.

He concluded: “I just hope that everyone pulls through, and we do not lose too many good companies and venues.”