Workshop: The Ticket of the Future
Hosts: Lou Champion, Festival Ticketing Expert (UK) & Bonita McKinney, Ticketmaster (UK)
Bonita Mckinney, client development manager at Ticketmaster UK, began the session by introducing Ticketmaster’s State of Play report, saying there has been a positive increase in festival ticket buying over the past few years.
In the UK, 48% of the population has attended a festival in their lifetime, with 19 being the average age at which most had their first festival experience. At the other end of the spectrum, 1% of the population has been to a festival with grandparents, which McKinney encouraged all the audience to do.
Festival ticketing expert Lou Champion then discussed how data can be used by organisers and ticket sellers, stating that “targeting by interests is better than by demographics.” 44% of customers attend the same festival each year, they revealed, with metal, punk rock and indie fans proving the most loyal, and electronic music and drum and bass fans going elsewhere. “It’s very important to provide additional value on top of the lineup,” said Champion, stressing the importance of atmosphere for festival-goers. The pair demonstrated this by laying out different festival “personas”, running through all the different needs and wants of each kind of customer. A pricing chart showed that people are willing to spend more than they are transacting on Ticketmaster checkout, said McKinney, adding that this “doesn’t mean we should all whack our ticket prices up,” but rather shows we can utilise up-sells.
The pair moved on to how fans typically hear about events with word of mouth, including social media, acting as the chief driver. Most fans buy tickets six to nine months out from the festival. “It’s important to maintain a story throughout the on-sale journey,” said Champion, urging organisers to stagger announcements. A question from the floor asked when we should expect to see the vast majority of venues using digital ticketing. “Really rather soon,” said Champion, “there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be using it, if they’ve got the available hardware.”
Talk turned to digital tickets, which can be used limit touting, capture more data, and provide a great customer experience. “Fans love digital, but so do our festival organisers,” said McKinney.