Author: Līga Rubine, Member of the Board of SIA “Biļešu serviss”
Culture has always been a matter of course and an integral part of life. Concerts, theater performances and other events, including sports, were attended with more or less regularity. The industry has never really been associated with the digital field and its challenges.
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Many cultural institutions are still on the “you” with social networks and do not use their opportunities to reach their consumers. These are skills that need to be developed using the most appropriate digital solutions today.
Over the last two years, the event industry has undergone a radical change, forcing both event sellers to build muscle and ingenuity, as well as train buyers ‘patience and producers’ ability to take risks.
In the past, the field of activity of the event seller was limited to ticket sales and control. Now much more is expected from the ticket seller – customer relations and management, creation of digital campaigns, direct communication with the ticket buyer.
Industry development through unusual opportunities such as ticket insurance
Although our service is simple in nature – to advertise events and sell tickets – the industry is still evolving, adding previously untapped opportunities. Until recently, it was difficult to imagine that concert tickets could be insured.
Even when buying airline tickets, now and then it’s time to get upset – maybe this time without insurance. At the moment, concert ticket insurance is already starting to become commonplace – all tickets, starting from 20 euros, can be insured by the largest event sales company in Latvia, Biļešu serviss, since July, paying 10% of the ticket price. This gives both the seller and the consumer a sense of security that the concert canceled for various reasons or the illness itself will not result in the loss of money.
It would also sometimes seem strange if the sale of an event starts only two to three weeks before it takes place instead of the previous 3 – 9 months. This is everyday now.
Until recently, we could not have imagined that a ticket buyer would have to read the rules sheets before purchasing tickets, otherwise unpleasant surprises could occur when attending an event. Now we have to start going into – what area will I be in, where will my children be, what documents to take with me, etc. All these changes have taken place in a relatively short time, and it is difficult to predict what challenges lie ahead.
Changing buyers’ habits changes sellers
More and more buyers are switching to mobile versions, which is also forcing the service provider to adapt. The data show that 48% of buyers buy tickets from mobile devices, only about 50% buy tickets from a computer and / or tablet.
Currently, only 5-10% of buyers buy tickets at the box office, the decrease is, of course, due to Covid restrictions (previously the share of tickets bought at the box office was 30-35%). As conditions return to normal, ticket purchases at the box office could reach 15-20%, as some buyers still do not have sufficient computer skills. Of course, the human factor must also be taken into account – there are people who want and will want to communicate in person, hear recommendations about the best places, ask about the most attended events.
However, the common inevitable digitization of the cultural sector has also encouraged Biļešu servisu to offer digital marketing services. Old posters and booklets no longer really work.
Offering a digital marketing service allows you to reduce the cost of the event. The number of ticket sellers has not decreased, but the number of organizers has. It is in our own interest to run advertising campaigns to get as many people as possible to know about the event and to sell as many tickets as possible. The number of people who can attend the events at the moment is small and needs to be fought for.
The financial risks of organizing events are very high, the risks have increased, especially with regard to attracting international musicians, and many local musicians have already established historical collaborations with one of the producers.
How to create and customize communication to be able to address every consumer?
The most critical – 2020, when we lost 90% of turnover – is already behind us. In June and July this year, the indicators improved significantly, currently falling by 75% compared to the same period last year. Activity from visitors and organizers has returned, but it is very far from pre-crisis times.
In Lithuania, attendance has almost returned to the previous level, in Estonia – more than 50% of attendance.
Involuntarily, communication with the consumer is becoming the daily life of the ticket seller, and our role as a marketing channel is growing. We are currently looking for ways to do better. As the pandemic has affected all players in the industry, the best way to mitigate the effects of the crisis is for all parties involved to work together.
Already now, “Biļešu serviss” forms cooperation with regional producers, offering the most successful ways of communication with consumers, which allows every event to look visible and accessible.
It is only understandable that a small parish culture house does not have as wide opportunities to advertise its events as large cities (the development of cultural centers is hindered by the fact that it is one of the municipal institutions). There is reason to believe that the territorial reform will also allow concentrating the cultural resources of the counties, which together will allow reviving the industry.
In the past, perhaps the consumer attended the event out of inertia, but now we need to find an effective way to talk to a more critical person who is more thinking about what to do. It is also our job to address the issue of how people socialize through culture, and that is the work of all parties.
The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and may not reflect the views of the LA.LV editorial staff.
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