​How can the ticketing industry be fairer on fans?

today29/06/2023 9

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The industry must become more transparent in the current ticketing climate. We investigated what changes can be made in order for this to happen

  • In partnership with viagogo
  • 29 June 2023

The ticketing industry has never been a particularly fair one, known for its lack of transparency, limited purchasing options, and unclear ways to resell your tickets. With that, consumer behaviour has seen a change in recent years as a decrease in the number of people going to events has been attributed to post-lockdown life, the cost of living crisis, and hesitancy over a change in plans. Last year in the US, no-show rates of up to 50% were reported at concerts and festivals, while one in three UK music fans planned to go to less music events in 2023.

Buyers need flexibility coming out of the back of the pandemic, and as consumer habits change, a pattern of hesitancy has appeared. Although sale windows are getting longer, research from Resident Advisor suggested last year that fans are now purchasing tickets closer to each event. 46% of people bought tickets within 30 days of an event taking place, up from 36% between 2017 and 2019. The industry needs to make a change to the ticket-buying process to bring back that demand and regrow the live events sector.

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We’ve investigated – alongside viagogo – how changes can be made to the ticketing industry in order to become fairer and more transparent for fans and regain the trust of those who have been previously burned by scammers, unfair or hidden fees, and ticket touts.

Make it clear: Improve transparency for fans and manage expectations

Event-goers are often left in the dark when it comes to knowing just how many shows an artist might be putting on, the number of tickets available, and when they will be released to the public. According to viagogo, new tour dates are often released during or shortly after the initial sale after fans have already rushed to purchase tickets for what they assumed might be the only available dates. By restricting the number of tickets sold, demand outweighs supply.

With that, thousands of fans can often get stuck waiting in virtual queues, overpaying for tickets, and jumping to hysteria in a panic-buying frenzy only for more tickets to be released shortly after the initial sale. This demand manipulation can be altered if only for more transparency when it comes to buying tickets. So how can this be improved?

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Ticketing companies should allow fans to make a more informed purchasing decision by providing full disclosure on the number of shows in a tour, the total number of tickets available during the entire ticket sale, and when tickets will be made available to the public. By also providing an insight into the number of tickets available to fans via public on-sale vs sponsors, club members, and corporate and hospitality tickets, fans will have more transparency into the ticket-buying process without the need to panic-buy.

Make it easy: Increase convenience for fans to buy their way

The time at which tickets go on sale is often pretty inconvenient. Ticket sales usually take place on Thursday and Friday mornings when your average Joe is working – and even then, they often go up early doors or during commuting hours. If you miss out on a sale, you might miss out on the event, which is why resale sites can often be a blessing in disguise when it comes to picking up late tickets.

Event-goers often face multiple ways to purchase tickets, from venue websites to artist links and resale sites, and can face issues such as purchasing tickets with a language barrier, difficult payment methods, and so on. So what can be done?

Ticketing sites should increase the option for fans to purchase tickets so they can decide where to buy, when to buy, and at what price point. These sites should also cater to all languages, and in multiple payment methods allowing ease of purchase.

Make it flexible: Increase flexibility for fans to change plans

Nowadays, fans need flexibility but are often not given enough clarity on ticket resale options should their plans change, preventing them from purchasing tickets in the first place. The cost of living crisis has impacted attendance to shows, and unclear resale options mean that those who purchased tickets and decided that they are unable to afford to go beforehand can’t recoup the money spent, and others miss out on the chance to go. Some websites also prohibit fans from reselling their tickets for specific events by imposing unfair and punitive terms and conditions.

Read this next: Over half of Brits priced out of live music events, according to YouGov poll

There are many reasons why festival-goers may have a change of heart – a favourite act might drop out, weather conditions look bleak, friends flake, or they simply can’t afford it any longer. Ticket-selling websites offering a face-value exchange are a flawed solution and can leave people out of pocket with unused tickets. On top of this, it reduces the ability for fans to secure last-minute deals, and for event organisers to maximise attendance on the day of the event. So how can this change?

Ticketing sites need to protect buyers’ rights to resell tickets on platforms of their choice so they’re not left out of pocket with a spare ticket. Resale sites such as viagogo offer a solution to those who change their mind at the last minute – one that allows them to recoup the money spent on a ticket, giving another fan the chance to attend. Fans should be clearly informed of their options to resell a ticket, and know they’re in safe hands when life throws a curveball.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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