The pandemic marked a digital watershed moment for the event industry. Some of the world’s best sport tournaments, cultural experiences and iconic venues came back in 2021, partly thanks to the ticketing sector embracing technological change.
SECUTIX chief executive Frederic Longatte (pictured bottom) and chief technology officer Marc Mazzariol (pictured top) share their views on some of the industry trends expected in 2022 and how ticketing now has a golden opportunity to unleash its potential by placing digital at the heart of everything.
- Contactless is the new normal
Mobile ticketing is now the standard. Whereas in the past, some venues were very reticent about switching to mobile, fearing that their audiences won’t be able or willing to adapt, this is now not even a question. COVID accelerated this new usage. The “my fans are not comfortable with mobile” argument is largely gone, for all demographics. 99% secured mobile tickets for a global event like the UEFA EURO 2020, is clear proof that fans have adapted well to digital tickets. Going into 2022, we will start to see more business decisions based on the data insights garnered through digital ticketing. The switch to digital opens the possibility to get to know audiences better, generate leads and improve the customer journey.
- Closer audience relationships
Knowing every single individual in the database has never been more important. We don’t know if there will be further restrictions or lockdowns in 2022, but event organisers need a plan to keep audiences engaged if they can’t attend events. Last year, when lockdown restrictions started to be lifted, we saw the impact that a lack of audience engagement can have on ticketing. Take for example the museum sector. Museums, which before the pandemic had strong visitor data and were using it to build solid relationships with them were able to maintain visitor engagement throughout the lockdowns. And once they reopened their doors, their visitors began to physically come back. But those museums that hadn’t started to connect with their audiences had real difficulties trying to engage during and post lockdowns.
To build closer audience relationships, their preferences need to be understood so that hyper-targeted, personalised marketing initiatives can be created. A mobile ticket wallet is a powerful vehicle to communicate with audiences, both in operational and marketing terms. Linking the wallet with an organiser’s ticketing platform provides an end-to-end customer engagement solution. Data gathered through these tools can then be analysed for in-depth understanding of fans. This will ultimately lead to revenue diversification through cross-selling and upselling directly to individuals and greater innovation in terms of content.
However, we aren’t seeing everyone in the live event sector grasp this opportunity. The move to online booking being the key channel is obviously happening but the move to then making sure that each individual has a ticket and a relationship with the rights holder, venue or organiser is still not happening in all verticals. According to new research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which involved more than 850 companies worldwide, successful digital transformations increase EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) by a significant 21%. However, in 2021 only about 35% of companies said they achieved their digital transformation goals. We’re seeing a similar picture across the live event industry, where the opportunity to embrace modern technology is yet to reach its full potential.
- New revenue streams
Event organisers are in dire need to explore new potential revenue streams in the aftermath of the crisis. While ticketing will remain the cornerstone of revenue generation for most, opening new ways to monetise value-added products and services simply and efficiently in a consistent digital journey experience, will be explored more through technology. New paradigms are also expected to emerge, with enriched packaging and monthly subscription-based schemes designed to engage differently with local and remote audiences alike, more streaming of content and a growth in NFT collectibles.
- Growing third-party integration
To ensure ticketing platforms remain relevant and drive revenue, new features need to be offered. Consequently, next year, we will see platforms further integrate third-party apps in areas such as CRM, dynamic pricing, and business intelligence, which can better support customer insights and marketing programmes.
Modern platforms must also integrate social media to support not only interactivity and communication between organisers and fans, but also between the fans themselves. We will see ticketing solutions increasingly help facilitate online community management in and around live events.
Some legacy platforms will struggle to meet the complex challenge of integrating all these capabilities because they don’t have agile tech. At SECUTIX we have pioneered an open platform which can easily connect with other tech solutions, helping to increase data insights and grow the portfolio of monetisable products and services. We believe this open approach is key for the future.
- A local global balance
Our industry is becoming more hybrid, so what used to be local tickets will become global, where anyone can be part of the event and get exclusive content from anywhere in the world using technology. Big franchises and institutions have large fan groups all over the world and with the help of ticketing platforms, completely new monetisation opportunities arise.
But we’ll also see the industry looking closer to home in 2022. With restrictions on travel still in place, those businesses that relied heavily on an international, tourist audience to their live events, experiences and exhibitions will start to diversify their audience by building their local one. There will be more local audience engagement than we’ve seen in a long time, with targeted marketing initiatives and events tailored to attracting the audiences on their doorstep back through the doors.
- The blockchain will hold it together
Many in the event industry have had bad experiences with the legacy ticketing players. The trust in their ability to solve the transparency and fair exchange equation has been eroded. We are now seeing some large sports rights holders and music artists pushing for action to protect their true fans and allowing them to buy a ticket at a fair price thanks to blockchain. A perfect example of this is SECUTIX’s use of blockchain for Ed Sheeran’s 2022 tour in Europe to combat ticket fraud.
With the evolution of scaling solutions on top of Ethereum, and the definition of NFT standards, the transaction cost of creating and trading NFTickets is starting to reach acceptable levels. Trading an NFTicket comes with additional complexities compared to collectibles due to the inherent operational critical nature of ticketing (access control, fan identification, etc.). In addition, challenges remain in terms of public adoption and stability of crypto currencies to achieve a fully blockchain based ticketing eco-system. This said, the building blocks came to maturity in 2021 and solutions like TIXNGO are already embracing those new capabilities and applying them to ticketing.
The last couple of years has forced the live event sector to pause, reflect and rethink. Here at SECUTIX, we’ve done the same and clarified our thinking with a new vision to harness the power of technology to create a more open world that people feel confident to enjoy. We are the event industry cloud and our ambition for 2022 is to unlock the potential of the world’s best experiences with advanced, cloud-based digital solutions designed to fit our clients’ businesses, revolve around their customers and push the possibilities of their offers. It’s time to take digital transformation to the next level.