When veteran promoter and four-time winner of Pollstar's International Promoter of the Year issues an ominous warning for the live events industry, you listen. Michael Chugg’s sentiments were echoed equally by Susan Heymann, COO of Frontier Touring on the Fear at the Top podcast.
We dive into three problems facing the live events industry that they brought up in their interview and discuss how to circumnavigate them in order to help ease the pressure on promoters, artists and venues.
Ticketholders Not Showing Up to the Show
One of the first issues Chugg calls out is that “up to 25% of ticketholders aren’t turning up at the gigs” and notes this is happening worldwide.
Whilst the tickets have been paid for meaning the ticket sales money is in the bank this time, it highlights a huge issue with the confidence of punters and paints a grim outlook for future ticket sales.
The immediate impact this has affects venues and artists mainly with Billboard magazine highlighting that “high no-show rates do negatively affect merch sales”. In turn, it negatively impacts the take-home earnings of both artists and the venue who profit from merch sales.
Venues are hit the worst with Billboard noting that venues “often make at least 65% of their revenue during the concert from food and beverage sales, parking and their cut of merch sales. That reliance on in-person spending leaves venues far more vulnerable.”
Billboard’s own analysis shows that a 5% drop in attendance equals a 7% drop in revenue for a venue.
Short of individually dragging each fan to the show, you can’t control the outcome of every ticket holder turning up to an event. You can, however, implement ways to remain engaged with fans and remind them that the show is coming up.
Think about communicating your COVID safe policies that are in place and generating additional excitement around the show in the leadup to remove any reservations fans might have so as to decrease the number of no-shows at your next event.
For punters who have turned up at the show, don’t miss the opportunity to upsell to them via on-site SMS marketing while they’re there to increase your revenue across merch, food and beverages.
Last-Minute Purchasing and Less Traction on Announcements
Last-minute ticket selling is something all event organisers want to avoid, but it’s clearly becoming more commonplace in a post-COVID world according to Chugg.
“There’s a lot of last-minute ticket selling,” he notes and says that it will be especially interesting to see how legacy acts that draw an older crowd may be affected by this even more.
Luke Girgis, CEO at The Brag media affirms Chugg’s observations saying “I’ve been speaking to a lot of promoters and they’re all saying it’s really hard to get the same traction on an announce that they used to have pre-COVID and that people are just waiting a lot longer to buy tickets”.
Ticket selling is becoming harder and revenue is being recognised a lot later as a result. This is making it difficult to forecast if a profit can be made putting further stress and pressure on event organisers.
There’s no doubt COVID has changed the way the world works, and with it, your approach to announces should also be adapting to the post-COVID world. What once worked pre-2020, may not pack the same punch anymore. It’s important to find ways to take full advantage of your lineup announcement and use the power of fans to amplify the reach of your announcement.
Selling tickets at the eleventh hour is not ideal but it’s a reality facing event organisers worldwide now. Fans either remain hesitant to venture out or simply have gotten used to and prefer to spend their nights in instead.
The excitement around attending live events needs to be reignited with creative and engaging presale campaigns and post-event presale campaigns to leverage the emotion and power of fans in driving the buzz.
A Saturated Market Competing for Ticket Sales
COVID put a dead stop on live events for the better part of two years meaning artists had to miss out on one of their main sources of income. Now that international borders have reopened it’s been a race to book tours and sell tickets.
Susan Heymann highlights the issues surrounding this saying that “the market is saturated. We have two years’ of business that is flooding the market at once. We were looking at a tour for November this year and we can’t get venue availability, which means the market is going to be flooded with content. Everyone is trying to make up for two years of lost touring.”
She goes on to note that behaviors of fans have also changed over the two years for a variety of reasons. “Whether it’s financial pressures or fear of getting sick, or simply they got into the habit of enjoying being at home and maybe they’re happy to have a dinner party instead of go out to a show.”
“We're seeing this saturated market, two to three times as much content, half the amount of people wanting to go out and it’s going to take some time to recalibrate”
It undoubtedly will take time for recalibration on a macro level for the live events industry but, while waiting for the market to settle, it is important to ensure that your campaigns are gaining significant cut-through in such a crowded market.
It’s worth considering just how powerful word-of-mouth marketing will be to your campaign in order to stand out from all the advertising fans will see on a daily basis from competitors.
It is now also more important than ever to ensure that your database is centrally housed for all your ticket sales and fan data so you can then utilize invaluable insights about your fans and segment the data accordingly. This will allow you to make sure you’re connecting with the right fans, in the right way, at the right time all without wasting advertising dollars.
At a time when fans are being hit left, right and centre with content, it’s important to make sure that your message is personalised and targeted thoughtfully so that it stands out and connects with fans on a personal level that makes you stand head and shoulders above the rest.
It’s no doubt that it has taken and will still take a lot of adjustment for the live events industry post-COVID.
Although Chugg and Heymann both acknowledge the multitude of problems facing live events for 2022 and beyond, it will be the ability to shift with the change and be proactive in addressing these issues that will determine if it will be sink or swim for event organisers.
Audience Republic’s platform helps to address these problems with simple, easy-to-use technology that provides event organisers with peace of mind when organising events.
Book a demo to see the platform in action and discuss how Audience Republic can help your next event sell more tickets with ease.