Hundreds of delegates from around 40 countries gathered at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester last week (19th & 20th April) for TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2023 to discuss a range of timely topics, including the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation.
From technological innovations to spectator experience and accessibility to premium packages, the Forum's open-mic presentations, keynotes, fireside chats and panel sessions covered various areas of the global ticketing landscape.
Day one of the Forum featured breakdowns of digital journeys by the likes of Scottish Rugby and FC Copenhagen, highlighting the importance of data-driven insights in terms of personalising the fan experience to deliver bottom-line benefits.
Importance of data
Repeatedly, the topic returned to the importance of data in the context of refining the ticketing customer journey and the end user's in-venue experience.
In an insightful session on VIP and premium trends, speakers from Leicester City FC and Emirates Old Trafford, echoed the thoughts of many speakers by outlining how their organisations are on a journey to understand their customers - and the people they bring to games - more effectively.
Debating the sweet spot in terms of the variety of hospitality offerings available, a consensus emerged that whilst premium economy is likely to grow, and high-end VIP packages will continue to drive essential revenues, the middle ground offering might be squeezed.
The price of tickets and the elements that determine that value came under the microscope in a session entitled 'Cakeonomics' led by industry expert Tim Chambers, Founder of the TJChambers Consultancy.
Chambers raised the topic of who gets what, citing the expectation that major artists will get 90% of the ticket price, but that fans are now paying up to 140% of that price via ticketing fees and extras.
In a separate session, Technology Consultant, Christian Terrill, underlined the proactive steps that enterprises in the sector need to take to mitigate the growing threat of cybercrime whilst highlighting the importance of putting in place a plan that is future-proofed for evolving changes.
Scottish Rugby's Head of Group Ticketing & Customer Engagement, Kerry Halliday, showcased on stage the speed-to-market of Tixserve digital ticketing and the opportunities it quickly presents for stadiums and event organisations.
Featuring the onboarding and rollout experience, Halliday highlighted how the governing body and its fans adopted digital ticketing in less than 10 weeks leading up to the 2022 Autumn Nations Series.
Transparency and security, matchday operations, ticket allocation efficiencies, sustainability and accurate data were some of the main advantages Halliday underlined about the ticket fulfilment solution.
In a fascinating assessment of how the pandemic has impacted New York City's theatre land, three leaders from Broadway's Shubert Organisation gave the inside track on changing sales trends within their venues.
One notable discovery was the drop in Friday ticket sales, with the shift to home-working and shorter weeks in the office, meaning many would rather visit shows during the days they are downtown.
As the Forum drew to a close, fandom was the topic of an engaging panel session, where the subject of retaining the engagement of fans in their late teens and early 20s emerged as a key talking point. The panellists from Burnley FC and Everton FC suggested that tailoring price points could be sufficient for engaging fans from youth into adulthood.