Earlier this week, arts and theatre venues in the UK and Netherlands got their first look at Tix – the integrated ticketing platform which has established itself across Scandinavia and is now eyeing new markets.
Tix (no relation to the Australian-based TIX organisation) was established in Iceland in 2014 and a year later had captured 80% of the (albeit small) national market. But having developed a robust, integrated platform on what it describes as “modern software, not legacy stuff”, the firm had eyed international markets from the outset. Its next move was into Sweden and Norway in 2017 where today it serves 45 culture houses (and now 95% of the Icelandic market).
Its founder and CEO is Sindri Már Finnbogason, an energetic and straight-talking developer-entrepreneur who worked for Billetlugen – one of Denmark’s largest ticketing companies – from 2008 to 2013. During his time in ticketing he has “set up systems for customers in Scandinavia including Roskilde Festival, The Concert Hall in Aarhus, Copenhagens Tivoli, Danmarks Radio, The Concert Hall in Stavanger, Norwegian National Opera, The Gothenburg Opera in Sweden and many more.”
In October this year Tix announced its intention to expand into the Belgium, Netherlands and UK markets. Observers were quick to question the timing, given 2020’s Covid-enforced impacts on arts and culture audiences. But with US-based ticketing group SeatGeek serving notice on its 50 arts and culture clients in the Benelux region, already a number of new clients are “in play, with our first to be announced in January.”
Focus on Arts
In this week’s ‘open house’ webinar for the new markets, Finnbogason demo’d the English language interface of the system: “The team at Tix have a lot of experience. We all have ticketing backgrounds. And this is a business owned by developers. This makes us different. All of our development is agile. We seek to take complex tasks and make them simple on the interface. It’s what we love to do.”
In its ‘home’ market Tix also acts as a ticket agent for promoters, festivals and other clients but it has no plans to do this in other markets. Nor is it interested in sports: “We want to focus on theatre, arts and culture houses. This is a sector which needs our approach.”
In Scandinavia most of its clients are arts venues selling between 30,000 and 160,000 tickets per year. Its biggest customers are reaching volumes of 250,000-300,000 tickets per year.
As TheTicketingBusiness reported last month, for its entry to the UK market Tix has recruited respected arts ticketing sales specialist Ken Paul, the former business development director of SeatGeek (TopTix) in the UK. Prior to his five years with SeatGeek, Paul had three years with Enta, drawing on a former 20+ years in ticketing roles across the big West End theatre players including Nimax, Delfont-Mackintosh and Really Useful Theatres.
Ready to go
“I’ve seen a lot of systems but what impressed me with Tix is that it is literally ready to go out of the box,” observes Paul. “Clients can get selling with it right away. It’s intuitive.”
In short, the company’s ‘pitch’ to the UK and other markets is that it offers an advanced, integrating ticketing platform with a logical, multi-language and simple interface, full transparency on pricing, and a customer-first approach to service but also development.
“There are no fees for implementation or upgrades. We charge a fee per ticket sold, that’s it,” explains Finnbogason. “We don’t charge for selling gift cards, memberships or products.”
For clients which have their own payment acquirer facilities in place “all revenue and payments goes directly to them. All customer fees are theirs – we have no kickback or anything. We invoice monthly with one license price per sold ticket – it’s fair, simple and transparent!”
In a refreshingly open and candid presentation, Finnbogason answered a range of questions from webinar participants (which included several of the firm’s direct competitors). Topics included de-duping data and payment gateways, through to on-sales demand management and marketing automation.
The platform handles data permissions and can synchronise automatically with various email tools. Service messages (e.g. post and pre-mails and SMS) can also be sent directly from the ticket system to customers.
“We have built this platform to include as many marketing functions as we can. There’s some very easy-to-use but powerful segmentation tools. Currently we can connect tracking, Facebook Product Catalog, Google Tag Manager and automated remarketing via Facebook and Google Ads directly on your events,” he said. “And we’re only getting started. We use modern software developments methods with a flexible API for integrating with ERP, CRM and CMS systems.”
Currently the system offers direct connections into Mailchimp, Apsis, Campaign Monitor, YesPlan, Sitecore, DIBS, Payex Visma, Raindance, E-conomic, with more in the pipeline. He adds: “We have integrations with six payment providers now and we are adding an integration to Stripe. But we are open to doing more integrations. Customers need to tell us what they need. And, we will not make promises on things we won’t build.”
Users who are stuck in the “world of spreadsheets and charts” will find Tix’s heat maps, sales thermometers, ’speed’ dials and live dashboards refreshing.
The online questioning culminated in the all-time classic (but anonymous) post in the chat feed: “Are there discounts for being one of your first customers?”
“Well of course there is,” responded Finnbogason with clear delight. “Everyone knows there’s a deal for the first client in any market.”