Last week there was a post on the INTIX website listing 19 trends for 2023. The list contains prognostications from people handling tickets for both arts and sports events so your mileage my vary on some of the thoughts, but I wouldn’t totally dismiss those that don’t align with your favorite industry.
At the top of the list is being able to identify all the ticket holders and potentially cultivate relationships with them rather than the ticket buyer. Because the ticket buyer will often distribute tickets electronically to family and friends, it will be possible to identify who those people are. You may view this news with with anticipation, dread or both.
Unsurprisingly, staffing issues were also near the top of the list due to the stress of dealing with customers and low pay don’t make customer service roles attractive. What also won’t be surprising to find on the list is an anticipated increase in fraudulent purchases, including what the article terms “friendly fraud” where customers initiate chargebacks on ticket purchases.
“I think that we will also see an increase in what’s called first-party [or friendly] fraud, where if a lot of ticket buyers do not get the refunds that they want, they will file a chargeback. I think that will start to happen as well because people were so used to refunds happening for so long during COVID. I think people still want to be able to get refunds, and especially, unfortunately, with inflation, people might be looking at how they can get their money back, and they might go that route of chargebacks.”
Related to this is the need to provide more flexible purchasing arrangements as people move away from subscription purchases. So not only flexible subscription packages, but targeted discounts. And flexible refund and exchange policies.
“We saw such movement during the pandemic of adapting away from ‘no refunds, no exchanges.’ It was such a hard line in the sand, and we had to blow that all away because we needed to change things … due to health concerns and restrictions,” Spektrix’s Nothstein says. “I think we are going to continue to see flexibility in that perspective.”
“We had to offer things that we would not have previously considered offering because of COVID and what it meant to the return to the venue,” Ticket Philadelphia’s Cooper says. “I don’t know that it’s practical or advisable for us to try and revert to what we were in the days before COVID happened … Ultimately, the goal is to retain the customer.”
The Director of Service and Retention for the Oakland Athletics, mentioned that people were buying on a very short horizon rather than season ticket packages or single tickets months before opening day. They structured a very targeted, short term ticket sale for the celebration of 50th anniversary of the A’s 1973 World Series title.
Ziegenbusch continues, “So, think shorter, getting your patrons to make these micro-decisions along the way. Present offers that are deeply discounted and value-rich but for a short period of time.”
I have seen Collen Dilenschneider offer similar advice to arts organizations on her website.
The article also raises the need for accessibility both to allow those with physical disabilities to participate in events, but also as accessibility relates to diversity, equity and inclusion. This is both in terms of programming/how an experience is structured and how it is priced.
Also listed were broadening the media and channels through which people can learn about your organization and make purchases, including facilitating transactions and empowering self-service.
I am obviously skimming over a lot so if the ticketing side of your operations is a central concern, give the article a deeper read.