The event market is flourishing. In the UK alone, revenue from online ticket sales in 2017 was $821 million. Moreover, revenue from online ticket sales in the UK is expected to amount to $978 million in 2022, which means around 4% yearly growth. The reason for the success of ticket sites is simple: you can get tickets with just a couple of taps or clicks. Users really appreciate that they can easily find events they like and buy tickets, and that’s why demand for ticket distribution systems will keep rising.
Ticket distribution platforms that control the market
Due to the high demand, there are a significant number of platforms in the market, including some well-developed businesses. Let’s have a look at the top ones.
Ticketfly, a major American ticket distribution platform, has combined an event discovery site with a set of services for ticketing, marketing, and analytics. These services help event promoters optimize their operations. In 2017, over 200 million tickets were sold globally through this platform.
Eventbrite is another web-based ticketing platform from the US that provides powerful tools for event management and has a focus on both event-goers and event creators. The company claimed to power over 3 million events in 2017.
Ticketmaster, a company founded back in 1976 in the US, is an event giant with estimated annual revenue of $7.2 billion. The company provides a platform for event discovery, ticket purchasing, and event promotion.
As you can see, the event business can be a real money maker. But what and who are behind all these countless events you can find on the internet? Any concert, conference, autograph session, or open mic battle would be impossible without event creators. Who are these people in the shadows? Anyone helping to organize an event, from cinema attendant, working to arrange a road show of the new Avengers movie, to Jay Z’s event manager, promoting an unbelievable concert in Las Vegas.
The key to any successful event is smooth interactions between event-goers and event creators. Making this happen takes time and effort. You need to provide event creators with sophisticated yet easy-to-use tools for publishing events and analyzing event performance. In this post, we reveal a list of features for a fine-tuned ticket distribution platform.
Why ticket distribution platforms and event creators are made for each other
Event discovery sites are undoubtedly useful to event-goers, as they offer tickets to concerts, movies, autograph sessions, and other events with little effort and maximum convenience. But what can a platform for ticket distribution give to an event creator? Let’s see.
Interact with a broader audience
Once you involve event creators in your platform, you don’t need to think about bringing on any events. You can forget about the hassles of event organization. The only thing you need to focus on is creating a flexible ecosystem for interaction. Event creators will do the rest for you: plan events, find users to promote to, and generate new ideas to attract new audiences. Just give the event creators tools to do that.
Let event creators save money
Why will event agencies and ticket brokers use your ticket platform instead of their own sites? Because building and running a website takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Even if an event business already has a site, it’s more often just a visiting card that doesn’t have powerful tools for events. But a ticket distribution platform provides tools to register, check in, and promote events. This also means that event businesses won’t have to hire an event manager, as a platform can do everything itself, saving up to 24% of the marketing budget.
By saving resources, event agents can focus more on the quality of the events they’re organizing and allow a bigger budget to spend on the star of the show. Or they can drop the price a bit to get more customers.
Moreover, once you launch a thriving ecosystem for event-goers and event creators, you can be sure to get a stable supply of events. All you have to do is adequately curate and coordinate with platform participants. If you do this properly, you can expect quick growth. Take Uber and Ebay as examples of platforms where users and service producers (taxi drivers and sellers) perfectly interact with each other via the great tools the platforms provide. Both services enjoy worldwide popularity today. Uber has over 100 million active riders every month, while Ebay is getting close to 177 million active users. Impressive scalability, huh? And all thanks go to the value creators!
What features can prove your platform effective for event creators
Any modern application that runs on the web has to be quick and reliable. Keep in mind that the recommended loading speed of a webpage is less than three seconds. If it takes longer, your conversion rate will decrease by 7% with every additional 0.1 seconds. Therefore, you need to make sure that your platform is optimized and fast. Now let’s go through the other features you should provide to be a successful business.
To begin with, ensure that event creators can easily register and manage their events. Event creators should be able to set:
Name of the event
Location (you can use an integration with Google Maps for that)
Date and time (calendar integration will come in handy here)
Type of event (ticket or registration required)
More than that, event creators need to provide a good description of the event and add audio and video content to make it attractive for potential customers. To check that an event was created and described correctly, provide edit, preview, and delete features. And don’t forget to add the list of all events created to properly manage them.
Once an event is visible to customers, creators have another thing to worry about: tickets.
A good feature for event creators is creating their own tickets or e-tickets with QR codes for easy check-in. Eventbrite, for instance, has a special tool to customize and brand tickets.
[A tool for creating custom event tickets by Eventbrite]
After creating and branding tickets, event creators will need to get some details from customers using an order form that includes:
Event title and details
Fields to insert a buyer’s contact details, such as full name, email address, and any other details that you can later use for marketing purposes
A group registration option
It’s a good idea to supply a customizable confirmation message on the website along with an email or text confirmation. Also, to manage tickets properly, you can add a tool for ticket tracking, such as a solution from Zendesk. Using Zendesk, event creators won’t have to worry about the number of seats left.
To avoid issues with ticket availability, you can allow event creators to set a booking timer. Once a user starts purchasing a ticket, he or she gets around 5 to 15 minutes to complete the purchase. If a ticket isn’t paid for within this period, it automatically becomes available to other users.
One more possible feature would be a waitlist. Tickets are often sold out while people still want to visit events. If added to the waitlist, users can get notified if tickets are returned and become available again. This is a good solution for last-minute tickets.
To make things even more comfortable, provide a seat map by integrating with a service like Seats.io to arrange people at the venue. Seat mapping will also help event creators organize future events more efficiently and better plan event zones.
You’ll also need to think about event cancellation. Event creators have to be ready for everything. This is why they’ll appreciate if you add a solution for cancelling events, including an email to inform users of the cancellation.
Event creators will also find a tool for event management quite handy. This could be a list of all orders and guests, the ability to check if tickets are sold out, and the ability to see if all guests are present.
Think of a check-in feature too, as it will make monitoring attendees and guests easier. Eventbrite provides a special app that allows vendors to scan QR codes on electronic or printed tickets.
People will definitely want to know more about events on your platform. For event creators, this means the opportunity to persuade customers to go to their events, so providing event creators with a convenient communication channel is a good idea. You can allow comments on events along with real-time messaging to streamline the communication process and increase user engagement. Integrating Intercom, Disqus, or any similar solution will help you with that.
The number of users paying online has been increasing dramatically since 2014.
[The number of users paying online from 2014 to 2019]
This is because people have gotten used to convenient payment methods embedded right in websites, such as PayPal and Braintree. Aside from receiving payments directly on your event management platform, you can also give event creators the opportunity to embed a checkout feature on their official websites, Facebook event pages, and Instagram event pages, just like Eventbrite does. This will help event creators drive more ticket sales through different channels.
[Eventbrite's tool to embed a checkout via Facebook and Instagram pages]
You should also remember that more purchases often means more refunds. Give event creators a tool for simple ticket refunds with notifications and a customizable confirmation message. For instance, Eventbrite allows creators to instantly refund certain orders or to decline refund requests. Think of the conditions in which tickets can be refunded, including the time period before the refund (not later than a day before an event, etc.) and reasons for a refund (listed by the platform or specified by the users). Don’t forget to inform users of a successful refund and when their money will be returned ( money can be returned at once or within some days once the refund is processed by the payment system). Here’s how refund management can look within the platform interface:
[Order refunding on the Eventbrite platform]
Another truly important thing is how event creators will get the money from tickets sold. For that, you’ll need a verification mechanism to prove that the event creator is a real person and to enter payment details. For example, Eventbrite provides a choice between Eventbrite Payment Processing and integrations with PayPal and Authorize.net. Here’s how event creators can go through the verification process and get their money:
Sign up and create events
In the manage section, set payment options
Choose a payment processor and add a payment method
Enter bank account details and save
[Payment options on the Eventbrite platform]
Don’t forget to integrate with some special APIs like the MassPayment API or the Adaptive Payments Pay API to easily send money to event creator accounts.
Any event creator is interested in driving more sales, and various marketing tools will definitely come in handy.
Advertising on social media. Add some tools for social media marketing. For instance, Eventbrite uses an Add to Facebook integration to boost events on Facebook, Animoto creates video content for social media sharing, and Hootsuite to automatically posts on social networks. This can help event creators widen their audiences, increase the number of converted users, and make sure that events have good attendance.
[Feature for adding events to Facebook by Eventbrite]
Email marketing. Provide integration with an email platform like MailChimp. This will save a lot of time and will help event creators easily manage their customer databases. Moreover, you can allow event creators to send messages to the whole platform database to inform more people about upcoming events.
[Mailchimp syncing integration on the Eventbrite platform]
Notifications and newsletters. Remind users of upcoming events or provide personalized notifications based on a user’s tastes and interests. This can be done with integrations like Designer Integrations and MadMimi.
[Integration for personalizing notifications on the Eventbrite platform]
Affiliate programs. Add special codes for your affiliate partners and set the referral fee. For instance, you can use an integration with Bandsintown to promote an event right in the Bandsintown app or with AdRoll to retarget people to a certain event. Event creators will also be thankful for a tracking tool to know more about the efficiency of affiliates.
[AdRoll integration to retarget people to a certain events on the Eventbrite platform]
Customer relationship management. Integration with a solution from Zapier will let event creators export information on registered customers to the Salesforce customer relationship management system. Using Zapier, event creators can track all interactions with their current and potential customers. More than that, information from the CRM system can later be used for marketing purposes.
[Salesforce CRM integration on the Eventbrite platform]
Printing tickets, posters, and more. Help event creators build a better impression and add more value to their events by providing branded printed tickets, beautiful posters, branded clothes, and so on. There are good solutions on the market like Custom Badges and Printed Tickets.
Analytics and reporting
Event creators need to know how well their events perform. They need tools for building and visualizing reports to form their strategy and allocate the budget based on detailed data about sales, customers, and traffic sources. Here are some metrics that can be useful:
Sales by channel, time period (day, week, month), and ticket type
Sales from all events or a single event
Attendees from all events or a single event
Attendees by channel and by time period
Traffic from all events or a single event
Traffic by channel and by time period
You can offer your own visualization tool to event creators or integrate with Data Studio, Power BI, and similar solutions. This way you’ll supply users with informative dashboards:
[Analytics tools on the Eventbrite platform]
You can also go further and implement a tool for assessing and planning event costs depending on the number of visitors, the team, the cost of the facility, and other important details. You could do this by integrating with Automate.io or any other solution. An automatic cost estimator will save a lot of time for event creators and will be especially appreciated by agents who have just stepped into the event game.
Event risk management
We hope that your platform won’t have to deal with fraud and disloyal event creators. But forewarned is forearmed! You should think of a defensive mechanism to protect both your business and your ticket buyers. One idea would be allowing users to report events for reasons like cancellation, copyright issues, and fraud. You can have a look at the Eventbrite interface for that below:
[Reporting events on the Eventbrite platform]
But a better alternative is to hire a team of specialists to monitor and handle event issues, including issuing ticket refunds to users. A risk management team can save you from cases of credit card fraud, fake events, scalpers, and other malevolent activity.
There are surely more features you can come up with. But we suggest creating and delivering them based on financial necessity, or in other words based on how you can monetize these features.
Ways to monetize your ticket distribution platform
As the owner of a ticket distribution platform, ticket sales are your main source of income. So the best way to earn more is to help event creators sell more tickets. This is why you should consider providing multiple features for promoting events and boosting sales (just check out how many features Eventbrite provides). Event creators will be truly thankful for these opportunities. So thankful that they’ll be ready to pay you for them. Here are some ideas for how you can benefit.
One way to monetize your platform is to charge event creators monthly or yearly for access to your platform. Moreover, you can come up with different subscription types and consider creating something like premium access with a set of exclusive features or even more audience engagement. Eventbrite can actually supply you with some ideas on subscriptions for your ticket distribution platform.
Here’s another alternative: instead of filtering event creators into different levels of subscribers, you can charge a commission fee for every event or for every ticket sold. In this case, it’s a good idea to provide all platform features for free, as you’re interested in ticket sales yourself. For instance, Ticketfly uses a special integration for selling ticket and charges event creators a certain fee per ticket.
You can also consider combining these two monetization options. You could charge some kind of commission at a certain subscription level, such as when event creators fully utilize all event promotion mechanisms. Or, on the contrary, your commission could decrease the more premium the subscription. Take Ticketmaster as an example when thinking about how to mix up monetization methods.
Taking into account all the things we’ve mentioned above, building a ticket distribution platform requires a lot of effort along with a clear strategy and tactical thinking. There’s also another important resource involved in creating a platform, and that’s a team of professionals. We’d be glad to help you with full-cycle platform development and then maintain your app after it’s released. Feel free to contact us with any ideas you have. We’ll help you translate them into reality.