Mon | Oct 14, 2019

Stop printing tickets! - Event organisers urged to go electronic

Published:Sunday | August 18, 2019 | 12:10 AMStephanie Lyew - Sunday Gleaner Writer

With the pervasiveness of the Internet, musing industry players are finding more ways to capitalise on the benefits of using this platform to market their goods and services. Michael Campbell, whose organisation provides electronic tickets, or e-tickets, for corporate functions and street soirées, is one such individual. Prior to forming First In Line Entertainment Limited, Campbell and his business partner, Mark Tracey, launched online ticketing portal Yard Tickets in 2011. However, the company name did not resonate with their target market.

According to Campbell, managing director of First In Line Entertainment, the idea to sell tickets via online platforms is not completely new but is becoming more significant, given the vibrant party scene that exists in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.

“The system was introduced to protect against scalpers and fraudsters who duplicate tickets, and everybody started seeing benefits in terms of saving time and money,” Campbell told The Sunday Gleaner.

He added, “I cannot say it enough to event organisers, stop printing tickets. It saves time and money, plus the event will start reaping the benefits. For corporate, as well, we added an RSVP feature to capture data for events where tickets are not used.”

He pointed to research done by Canada-based social media marketing and management platform Hootsuite, which shows that 14 per cent of the population owns a credit card and 10 per cent of the population aged 15 or older makes online purchases or pays bills online.

Critics will say that it is just a trend or does not work for a population in which only one-tenth of consumers have access to credit cards, but the e-ticketing company has countered that by devising a method to cater to individuals who do not have access to credit cards. The e-ticket service has been implemented in several outlets, Mega Mart being one of them, where persons can go to the counter with cash and contact information, after which the ticket can be sent via text message or email. As the data is remotely accessible, organisers can log in to their account to see sales and make determinations to top up the ticket outlets.

Campbell said that in December 2018, his company tested its e-ticket system with the Kabaka Pyramid Live event. “No physical tickets were printed,” he said.

The same was done for Rebel Salute, The Estate on New Year’s Eve, and, more recently, Spice’s birthday bash. He said that the gate operations for these events were efficient and that the use of e-tickets limited the occurrence of mistakes that are sometimes unavoidable with large-scale executions.

Clientele

With major clientele from Miami, New York, the US Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean, Campbell claims that First In Line Entertainment Limited is leading based on volume of tickets sold and search-engine optimisation. Its main competitor, Ticketpal, is known to conduct business within the Caribbean, the United States, and East and West Africa but was established in Barbados seven years ago.

Orlando Newton, Ticketpal Caribbean’s founder, noted, “E-ticketing has grown over the years. It is the future because it is safer, and in the region, in islands like St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica, where organisers are affected by fake ticketing it has proven successful”.

For Dream Entertainment, electronic tickets have become a necessity, says Carlos Philpotts, “because a significant number of our patrons live overseas, so distributing physical tickets all over the United States, Canada and Europe would not be practical. Ease of purchase is very important to our consumers, and it has been very efficient for us too”.

Rebel Salute organiser Tony Rebel, however, had a slightly different take on the matter because of the situation that unfolded at his concert. “The system broke down at the gate, and we had to go to the manual way of collecting money and letting patrons in. I cannot say it is all good. The companies selling this service must get it together because errors can instinctively end an event’s career,” Tony Rebel said.

The organisers say that there was an issue on the Saturday, of the two-day festival, which caused them to be proactive and shut down their system.