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Ticket Talk at #TPC2016

Ticketing Professionals Conference 2016.

Over 300 ticketing professionals came together at the ICC in Birmingham, UK last week for the Ticketing Professionals Conference. We had a great time catching up with the ticketing community from across the arts, sports and visitor attractions and getting stuck into discussions about the two biggest themes of the conference: leadership and revenue. There were a lot of great sessions and plenty to think about, but here are the key points that really stuck out for me.

Social media can do a lot for data capture

Kyle Wright talked about the challenges the Shubert Organization is currently facing to understand who is actually sitting in their seats. The Shubert Organization owns 17 of Broadway’s theaters and although 13 million tickets are sold across the group every year, they only have 4 million contactable customers. As well as looking at who’s buying the tickets they’ve been trying to find out more about who else they’re bringing along.

Social Sign In has really helped them find this out. Using SSI, they’re harvesting 12,000 contacts from people connecting to their public wifi per month. Producers can then see the Facebook likes of the customers sitting in the theater seats, even using it to influence casting decisions.

CRM isn’t just about data

Our own Libby Penn ran a session on CRM where she reminded us of the simple (but overlooked fact) that customers are human and so every decision they make is an emotional one. That’s why we need to get away from the idea that CRM is only about data, and instead make sure it helps us to to deliver the highest levels of customer experience, as ultimately, what customer would want to be managed?

Libby suggested getting a better understanding of your audience by breaking them up into 3 segments: frequent, recent and loyal attenders. Read more from Michael on how to work with these different segments.  

Her key takeaways? Be available 24/7, be agile, have a customer experience team and be sure to use tech to keep everything easy.

Always challenge your assumptions about your audience

Minor Entertainment have made huge leaps made by challenging their assumptions and breaking the rules around ticketing and marketing for their show In the Night Garden Live. For example, Andrew Collier explained how they found that 20% of their audiences can't actually remember what they paid for their tickets. So rather than advertising lowest prices, they’ve been using price anchoring to encourage customers towards premium seats. Without doing anything to change their ticket prices, ticket yield is up by 59p per ticket. If you want to know more, Andrew suggests reading ‘Priceless: The hidden psychology of value'  by William Poundstone.

They’ve also thrown out the rulebook around measuring Facebook engagement. Rather than basing engagement on how many ‘likes’ they can get, Minor Entertainment see Facebook as their best-performing advertising platform and a key customer service channel.

Be wary of siloes when implementing new ticketing software

A recent TinCan survey to assess experiences of implementing new online ticketing software found that (shockingly) 21% of organizations had an experience so bad that they wouldn’t want to go through the process again. Nadine Ishani presented the feedback to find out why and in many cases, siloes were the culprit.

We couldn’t agree more with Nadine’s key tips for a good online ticketing implementation, which are:

  • Make sure there’s a project manager leading the whole thing.
  • Make sure you craft a brief with as much detail as possible.
  • Put your supplier in touch with your web agency.
  • Learn as much as the technical stuff as possible (see TinCan’s glossary of terms).
  • Include links of the sort of sites you do like, so web developers know what you’re looking to achieve.
  • Remember that your web agency probably won’t know the intricacies of the ticketing system.

Check out more tips from our Project Manager Helen for a foolproof software implementation.

Reimagine the on-site customer experience

With the Royal Opera House embarking on a £45 million major capital development to open up its iconic building, they’ve taken it as an opportunity to reimagine the visitor experience. Heather Walker, Project Director, pointed out that we need to make sure our buildings are evolving at the same pace as the online environments we’re building. Brands like Apple do this really well, and so do banks like Natwest. Their new branches have been designed to emulate living rooms to reflect the way that they no longer deal in cash and that their business is about loyalty and customer service.

Contrast this with venues, where customers often have a disjointed experience, buying their ice cream, drinks and tickets from different places and interacting with several companies along the way. Customers are left to navigate what is essentially a marketplace and the brand you’ve so carefully put together begins to fall apart.

Heather’s advice was to use web design principles (like personas, UX and user journeys) to transform your foyers and physical spaces and keep the focus on the customer and their experience.

Thanks to the TPC team for a great conference - we're already looking forward to 2017.