January 08, 2014

5 Key Trends In Events For 2014

So, a brand new year again. Scary, isn’t it? But don’t worry, you can at least forget the days of going back to school after the break and messing up the corner of your workbook by putting the wrong date again and again up until about April. Fortunately, computers and phones take care of telling us that it’s officially 2014 now, and you can trust them to get it right. Usually.

As it’s the time of year for future-gazing; for wondering what the next 12 months holds in store, we’ve narrowed down the five key trends that we think will shape our world – the ticketing and events industry – in 2014.

1. Digital wallets

No, we’re not talking about bitcoin (not yet, anyway) but the broader, typically smartphone-based, concept of a “digital wallet”. Technical development around the idea continues to spark change in the business of both financial transactions and personal ID, making it a very big deal in the events world.

Apple’s passbook is one of the best known digital wallet solutions in use at the moment. Released initially at the end of 2012, then confirmed with a stable update in May last year, a growing number of corporations including cinemas and airlines are responding to consumer demands and adopting the passbook technology into their offering.

Of course, they were just following suit…

At ticketscript, we were the first European company of any kind to integrate passbook into our ticketing system, in November 2012. How’s that for innovation?

2. Mobile ticketing growth

Of course, stepping back from the specific digital wallet segment, it’s apparent that mobile commerce is booming in all ways. Econsultancy recently featured a Deloitte report which stated that, while mobile retail sales totalled £5bn in the UK in 2013, it’s expected they’ll hit £12bn in 2017.

In the ticketscript world, we’ve seen a similar story of continued growth in mobile tickets as well as transactions. In 2012, mobile was the ticket method of choice for 3.5% of sales and this grew to 4.9% in 2013. That’s 88k mobile tickets in 2012 and 183k in 2013.

We sold almost 100k more mobile tickets in 2013 than in 2012.

3. Everyone’s a promoter

In 2014, the democratisation of the events industry will continue, meaning that really anybody can sell tickets online.

If we take a moment to think about this, taking nothing for granted, it’s quite incredible how easy it is now. It doesn’t need to cost you a thing, either.

Things you need (all free):
Facebook page
Technology like ticketscript
Basic knowledge of the internet

Things you don’t:
Technical know-how

4. Niche and “hyperlocal” events

A product of how easy web technology now makes it to put on events and sell tickets is the clear trend towards a thinner spread of smaller, focused events.

Niche communities, either defined by geography or a common interest or hobby, increasingly use social media to strengthen their networks, interact with members and reach out to prospects. Now, they’re also organising and promoting informal meetups and paid-for events to bring their communities together offline.

Whether it’s cookery classes, bird fairs, rooftop cinemas, mobile in-van cinemas or even mouse taxidermy – the power of social media and online ticketing means a growing number and variety of events are taking place every day.

5. Interactive events

The other growth area we expect to continue this year in terms of event types is the immersive, interactive event, where live-actors are included with traditional entertainment to enhance the audience’s experience.

Companies like our client, Secret Cinema, have been pioneering this kind of event for the past few years with their repeatedly sold out screenings of classic films where the audience get dressed up to take part in creating a reconstruction of the world the film is set in.

There’s a particularly gory theme to this trend too – Zombie Run, Thorpe Park’s SAW Alive and Alton Towers’ Scarefest are becoming more popular every year and show no signs of stopping.

So that completes our picks for what we expect to be big in 2014. Of course, the events industry is changing in all kinds of ways – Event Manager Blog’s team put together an excellent list of their top 10 for the year. Let’s see who proves themselves to be the 21st century Nostradamus come this time next year…

By Dominick Soar