Insurance. Historically, a captivating topic for very few, unless you did your time in the industry itself. To most, a convoluted nut to crack, replete with confusion and a bevy of insurance-related questions that you don’t know the answers to because you’re not even sure of the questions to ask.

Conversely, live entertainment, and all that comes with it – the talent, outrageous merch, bright lights and giant speaker stacks – was a much sexier topic. Consumer spending across 2019 into 2020 was crushing it, and the concert industry was poised for record-setting, turnstile financials. Ed Sheeran’s 2019 tour was deemed the highest-grossing tour of all time at $224m, according to Billboard.

Within months of that success, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a crushing revenue loss to the event industry, and insurance became an increasingly engaging conversation albeit no less hard to understand.

Financial loss

As promoters scrambled to interpret what their policies covered, fans were beginning to experience stage fright of their own. Consumers were not only feeling an emotional void from a non-existent live event schedule, but many were also experiencing financial loss from a lack of paycheck. Their disposable income had vanished.

According to a Pew Research study in September 2021, one in four adults spent sleepless nights worrying about bills, with a third having to dip into their savings and others borrowing from family and friends. Long-term lack of available play money equates to less ticket sales and lost revenue.

In addition to managing the intricacies of ticket sales, promoters and venues remain overwhelmed with marketing, talent booking and relations, production, and security, among other “these things must happen before the show can go on” duties.

Gone are the days of scalpers being high on the list of culprits impacting promoter revenue. Fraud and lack of consumer confidence have taken over. Most in the industry don’t have time or the expertise in technology to understand best practices or how to implement widgets, which not only deter fraud but help lend purchase peace of mind for the fan.

The pandemic brought on a huge onset of insurance claims, estimated to be worth more than $1bn, by those in the event space. As promoters direct their attention to re-evaluating event cancelation and tour interruption policies, fans’ needs often get left to simmer on the back burner.

Peace of mind

Phoenix-based Protecht offers a turnkey solution for promoters and venues, which provides invaluable comfort to their customers. Since 2016, Protecht’s FanShield has afforded eventgoers the peace of mind that, should unexpected, covered circumstances occur, the cost of their missed experience would be reimbursed. Protecht’s secure and versatile payment processing gateway offers a rich selection of integration tools and a developer-centric API.

What differentiates Protecht from others is its embedded, in-platform technology. Once promoters agree to set it, they can absolutely forget it; the FanShield tool is on auto-pilot. Fans simply opt to protect their experience with one-click at checkout on the ticketing platform, at a fraction of their ticket cost. FanShield’s availability also helps to squelch hesitation surrounding future ticket purchases.

When Protecht launched in 2016, the average price of a concert ticket was $77, and Protecht’s ticket protection product was a ground-breaking option for relief in the largely non-refundable event space. FanShield, and other Protecht products like it, have helped to reshape purchase behaviour and increase conversions. Potential buyers previously on the fence are now committed and all in.

“Our Protecht team is laser focused on protecting the consumer’s defined passion, whether it be attending a favourite artist’s concert or playoff game. We must keep that passion for real-life moments at the forefront as we build new products. We need to help fans understand how insurance is there for them and their experience.”

– Protecht CEO Bryan Derbyshire

Protecht’s industry-leading, proprietary live event technology and consumer-facing suite of protection products supports its B2B partners and offers ticketing platforms control over inventory, real-time data reporting, additional lines of revenue, fraud prevention tools, and fan engagement through enhancements like an improved checkout flow and upgraded security. Its leadership team is rooted by extensive experience in fraud protection, payments, insurance, and technology.

Continue to struggle

Many venues continue to struggle to just keep the doors open. A 2020 survey conducted by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) showed that 90% of independent venue owners, promoters, and booking agencies anticipated going out of business by the end of 2020 without government funding such as the $15 billion Save Our Stages Act.

Without fans in the stands, it will be a challenge for the live event industry to rebound from record losses during COVID. Protecht’s FanShield helps to give future purchasing confidence to those event-goers like the 2.6 million fan Ed Sheeran fans and the millions of others who bought tickets in 2019.

Fans’ thirst for live events is starting to become unquenched as capacity limits lift, vaccination rates increase, and fans return to a pre-pandemic comfort level in attending full venue live shows. Reacquaintance breeds a desire for more. Ninety-six percent of respondents in a UTA IQ survey said they plan to return to live entertainment, specifically live music, sporting events and movies. A third of respondents offered that live events have never been more important, with another one in three stating they intend to attend as many live events as possible.

Twenty-five percent plan to cut back spending in other areas so they can afford to purchase live event tickets. With the economy reopening, event revenue is expected to rebound with a vengeance. Promoters might be able to let out that breath they’ve been holding since Q1 of 2020 but fans are still a bit more cautious when tapping in that credit card number. And with the average cost of a concert ticket jumping to nearly $100 in pre-COVID 2019, they have good reason to be. Add in a pre-show dinner, a beverage or two, and some coveted swag, and that’s a hefty date night.

Consumer experience

Protecht continues to strengthen its robust suite of product solutions within the e-commerce marketplace and the live events ecosystem. Protecht has succeeded in addressing long-running challenges in the insurance industry. While their embedded purchasing widget is a current differentiator, Protecht’s team is cognisant that technology must be continuously sharpened for the betterment of the overall consumer experience.

The 2020 hangover lingers. Collectively, we’d love to say all we got was a stinkin’ t-shirt to remind us of it but unfortunately the financial sting still bites. A positive shakeout of the pandemic depression is the reminder that live events are meaningful, emotional experiences for fans. Artists were forced to get innovative, with many tapped into the digital space to stay connected and relevant to their fans.

Digital offerings afforded a new revenue model. Dua Lipa’s Thanksgiving livestream in 2020 was viewed by 5 million paying fans. David Guetta’s free, global multi-city “United at Home” live sets televised live across social channels raised millions in donations for various charities. Countless others have followed suit. But one thing is for sure, live events reign supreme. And just for a while, inflated beer prices, long restroom wait lines and the tall dancing fan in front of us might not seem too bothersome. The industry cannot take this experiential connection for granted. It takes a collaborative effort for the proverbial show to go on and for this industry to thrive.

“At Protecht, we have a passion for people, and it’s human nature for people to have passion for the places they go and the things they own. The onus is on our team at Protecht to remain focused on helping fans, promoters and venues. Insurance must be easy to understand, buy and use. Consumers will then have confidence in spending their hard-earned money on ticket admitted experiences. If that happens, fans, performers, athletes, promoters, venues and sponsors all win.”

– Protecht CEO Bryan Derbyshire

Protecht is a sponsor of TheTicketingBusiness Forum, the world’s No.1 B2B ticketing business meeting, which will take place from December 2-3, 2021 at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester.