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TheTicketingBusiness Forum Review: ‘Business as (un)usual’

The opening session of TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2022 highlighted how it is ‘business as (un)usual’ in an industry grappling with the pressures of the pandemic, staffing shortages and a squeeze on spending in many markets.

Doing ‘more with less’ was in fact a theme that persisted throughout two days of busy networking at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, as the sector analysed technologies and strategies to drive growth in a challenging landscape.

The opening panel set the tone by featuring a frank discussion about reopening in the ticketing, travel, hospitality and theatre space.

Sports Travel & Hospitality (STH) Group’s general manager Emily Tuffin; Cameron Hoy, managing director of Ticketek; Daniel Gidney, chief executive of Lancashire Cricket; and Laurence Miller, commercial director of Nimax Group, all offered a range of outlooks.

While the UK is suffering from a cost of living crisis, this is less pronounced in other parts of the world – for example, in Australia, where Ticketek is based. Hoy said that the three months of March, April and June represented one of the busiest trading periods in the company’s 40-year history.

Although a relatively rosy perspective was not shared by other speakers across the event, a common theme emerged across different sessions: if the product is right, then people will support it, purchase it and experience it.

Get the product right

Getting the product right is a key driver for the customer experience, but the positioning of the human resource in an increasingly digital journey – and the role of data – were also issues that were discussed at length during the engaging conference sessions.

Two Circles director Paul Williamson amplified the industry’s growing recognition of data as a vital tool in enhancing personalisation, while Carolyn Sims, director of the CMSA Consultancy, insisted that people are unlikely to be redundant in the customer-facing ticketing experience any time soon – although their support at certain pinch points, such as resolving queries, will be particularly important.

Using data to identify correct ticket pricing levels and dynamic pricing strategies was also highlighted by multiple speakers, with the likes of Smeetz CEO and co-founder Alexandre Martin and VATIC CEO and co-founder Sean Kelly extolling the opportunities presented by the latter in filling seats and optimising income. However, a engaging debate on the final day underlined how there is still much work to do to roll out dynamic pricing strategies across the live events industry.

On the second day, speakers also discussed a range of pertinent issues, including digital ticketing, sustainability, and how to identify the right ticketing platform.

New ideas

TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2022 offered attendees a chance to gain new ideas and meet industry colleagues who can help to implement a range of ideas, with relaxed networking opportunities sitting alongside the numerous sessions.

Indeed, the party atmosphere – complete with a 10thbirthday cake to mark a decade since the launch of the industry’s number-one gathering – extended to TheTicketingBusiness Awards on Thursday night, recognising the industry’s best and brightest talents, ideas and businesses. You can read the full list of winners here.

Sam Button, head of supply at Seat Unique, noted that TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2022 had allowed him to learn from the wealth of knowledge gathered at Emirates Old Trafford.

“It was another wonderful event packed with knowledge and learning from the incredible amount of experience in the room,” he said.

“It’s a real who’s-who of ticketing professionals here who have been happy to network and share ideas. We have thoroughly enjoyed the past two days. The presentations were all very insightful and engaging. We’re already looking forward to next year.”