As you think about your hopes, wishes and strategic goals for the year ahead, we’re taking a look at some of the ticketing trends that are likely to reach the top of your list in 2016. With ticketing at the epicentre of most arts and culture organisations, more and more importance is placed on finding the perfect online ticketing system. So, we’re looking into what is expected of the ultimate systems moving into 2016...  

Ticketing 2016

Online ticketing in the arts

2015 was the year of smarter marketing, smarter marketers and getting up close and personal with your audience. As arts organisations looked to communicate on an individual level with their audience, personalisation marketing continued to grow, allowing organisations to serve more useful, relevant and tailored communications. With this, throughout 2015, arts organisations continued to learn from other potentially more forward-thinking industries, such as retail. One year on, we expect arts organisations to focus on 3 key trends: improving the customer experience, utilising data to greater effect and a major digital drive.

Customer Experience

In our design trends for 2016 blog, we chatted about how savvy users are pushing designers to create better experiences. Considering arts organisation customers are on the website to buy an experience (be it a performance, an exhibition or a viewing), this first interaction is critical. We’re seeing arts organisations continually looking for ways to improve the experience based on feedback they receive from their patrons. From the first touch point through to finalising the purchase there may be some obvious improvements that would instantly enhance their experience. however there may be quirks on competitors sites that your customers would like to see for example, do you competitors offer buy with one click? Do they suggest related performances? It is down to you to identify these and enhance to overall experience.

Data

2015 was the year of personalisation (and 2014 come to think of it). But, this was only possible thanks to data. Data can often seem big and scary in this increasingly digital age, and yet data has been our informant for years, well before computers became mainstream. Every piece of information you collect on your customers is data. And this audience data can be of momentous value, if used in an insightful and practical way.

Data is key to understanding your customers’ drivers and it’s important to narrow down the data you need, really understand what this data is telling you, put this into action and continuously analyse the results. In 2016, we expect to see more and more arts organisations utilising data to both identify areas where customer experience could be improved as well as improving upon their personalisation efforts.

A drive towards digital

You might be tired of hearing it but it really is all about digital - if you ignore the role of digital in such a crowded marketplace you will likely be swallowed up into the abyss. With digital expected to become even more prevalent in the year ahead, here are some things you might like to consider for your 2016 strategy:

  • Venue specific apps - not reserved only for large arts organisations, the low cost of developing an app makes this is a viable option, not to mention the fact it can be a great sales and marketing tool. Also, iBeacons (proximity based transmitters) can hook up to your app to really enhance your localised marketing messages. Using iBeacons and near field communication, arts organisations could offer alerts and custom discounts that bolster the individual user experience (for a little more on how you could use this technology to your advantage read our blog over here).
  • QR codes for entry - providing an app was created, arts organisations could make use of QR codes for entry. After downloading apps, the customer can then access their tickets where they will find a QR code to be presented upon entry. This can be streamlined with the likes of the Apple Wallet, integrating into other functions that your audience members may already commonly use. Not only does this simplify the customer experience, it reduces print and postage costs for you, meaning you can also deliver a more cost-effective product to your customers.
  • ID based ticketing solution - an ID based ticketing solution delivers digital tickets to a customer’s ID which would then serve as their entry to the venue / performance. Not only would this allow the organisation to gain real-time insights into ticketing utilisation, information about purchasing patterns and valuable data about their customers to aid future campaigns, it always helps prevents counterfeit ticket issues.
  • Online shops - although your website is there to promote and facilitate ticket sales, we expect more and more organisations will be integrating online shops with their website. As well as tickets, performance merchandise plus extras could be sold online -a great new revenue stream opportunity and cost-effective sales channel.

Booking Systems

At the end of last year, we conducted research into the challenges with online booking systems which helped to provide some key user insights and in 2016 we expect more organisations to be in search of bespoke solutions. In 2014, only 40% of organisations reviewed were using ‘out of the box’ solutions (expected to be lower this year) with demand for bespoke solutions that better meet company’s needs on the rise.

We expect to see systems with cross-selling functionality, mobile-friendly dynamic seating, seat based messaging, secure payment and integration to be high on the importance list for arts organisations moving forward in 2016. Want to read more about our findings? Drop us an email and we will be more than happy to send you through the full report. 

With mobile driving the customer journey our next blog will look into mobile ticketing, responsive design and the impact this has had, and is likely to have on ticketing in 2016.