Tickets via mobile, with an ‘if’ and a ‘but’

Despite the paperless world in which we now supposedly live, ticketing has long defied innovation.

From transport to events, there are vast differences in ticketing capabilities, and striking the right balance is integral to consumer satisfaction.

Given current estimates of adult smartphone usage, mobile is the obvious platform of choice when it comes to the delivery of ticketing.

According to a 2013 report by market research firm Frost and Sullivan, 73 per cent of Australians aged 15-65 currently own a smartphone; and this is projected to reach 93 per cent by 2018.

Despite the reduction (and in some cases elimination) of distribution costs associated with paper ticketing, vendors have been slow to respond to the opportunity presented by mobile.

Mobile offers the ability to process orders, pay, obtain and validate tickets from any location, and significantly increases customer convenience.

The Sydney Opera House is one event vendor that predominately uses paper ticketing, and runs its own ticketing operation.

Commications Manager Kate Huish told Dynamic Business that it is currently offering eTicket delivery only on selected events.

“We are planning to expand on this throughout the coming year. Some events, such as award ceremonies or other special occasions, are unlikely to ever be eTicketed or delivered to mobile devices for various reasons – including a presenter’s wish in some cases to produce souvenir tickets,” Ms Huish said.

Another reason the Opera House believes eTickets to be problematic, is that for some festivals with many speakers and sessions, specific venues are not confirmed until close to the event. Once the internal venue schedule is finalised, the Opera House dispatches tickets for those customers who elected to have them posted.

Ms Huish added that mobile delivery of ticketing will require additional functionality development, and the Opera House will scope the viability of this once a major upgrade of their systems is completed this year.

In Australia from San Francisco to facilitate the opening of their new Melbourne office, Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz told Dynamic Business that he and his co-founders created the ticketing startup out of frustration with the dominant ticketing duopolies.

Eventbrite works as an online ticketing platform that allows event organisers to plan, set up ticket sales and promote events and publish them across its social-networks directly from the site’s interface.

“Anyone can ticket any type of event in a matter of minutes, and when you provide a platform of that nature, you see people all over Australia using this service, and in a whole manner of ways that we never would have expected,” Hartz said.

“We cover a lot of areas that have traditionally been below the ticketing market, with all the growth that we’ve had we’re now pushing our way up but are still excited to be able to service those companies, the organisers, the businesses that wouldn’t have been able to use a traditional ticketing solution, or couldn’t afford it, and therein lies the value of what we do,” he added.

A key point made by co-founder Julia Hartz, is that Eventbrite has used technology enablement as its starting point, and has set about destabilising the ticket duopoly for three key reasons.

“A lot of these companies were created in an offline world, and therefore there are systems and processes that are very hard to break,” she says.

“First of course, fees were egregious, and this is obviously right at the top of consumer’s minds, and on top of organisers minds. Secondly it was a lack of great service, of a human touch in this area of commerce, this area of ticketing. The third is really the innovation side – it’s just a backwards industry for its size and scale, and there just hasn’t been the same level of innovation that we’ve seen in other areas of commerce or technology. So in our case, really focusing on this areas have been the main drivers of success so far,” Hartz says.

Notably, Eventbrite says downloads of its app for mobile ticketing now outweigh the printing of paper tickets.

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