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In 2019, event discovery and ticketing platform Festicket had its biggest 12 months to date. IQ catches up with CEO Zack Sabban to find out more about its defining year
By IQ on 13 Jan 2020
As the 2010s draw to a close the music industry landscape has morphed significantly with advancements in technology and the changing aspirations of the millennial generation.
Physical sales have fallen away to be replaced by streaming services and music is more accessible than ever before. Fans’ tastes have diversified, artists have hit the road more and the advent of music tourism resulted in an appetite for a superior method of discovering and booking experiences.
But where should music fans turn when seeking an experience which is new, meets their taste and enforces their own sense of identity? Founders Zack Sabban and Jonathan Younes created Festicket to do just this, and in 2019 the company took its greatest strides to date.
IQ catches up with CEO, Zack Sabban, to find out more about its defining year…
IQ: Discoverability of events is key to the live events market succeeding. With huge volumes of tickets going unsold each year, what did you do in 2019 to improve users’ ability to discover new events?
Zack Sabban: Our dedication to discoverability is epitomised by the fact that 68% of Festicket customers are attending a festival for the first time. We want our customers to feel empowered and informed. The internet has brought about some amazing things, but it has also created an information overload.
Festicket now boasts the most comprehensive festival discovery platform in the ticketing industry. We have 75k+ artist pages with biographies and tour dates and over 16k festival guides featuring lineups, photos, video footage, FAQs and more. Our approach to high quality content has seen our online magazine grow to become the world’s biggest festival publication with 99m unique visits in 2019.
Last year we also wanted to pay attention to how our customers consume music and use this to help them discover festivals. Everybody saw Spotify’s End of the Decade listening stats all over social media in December, and that really underscores people’s love of sharing and discovering new music through streaming. Fans can now link their Spotify accounts to Festicket, which in turn matches their tastes in artists with festival suggestions around the globe. To date, our Festival Finder has been used more than two million times and that’s something we’re very proud of.
Beyond discovery. What makes Festicket a different proposition to other ticketing platforms?
In short, our global approach to music tourism. More than 40% of our orders are international and we pride ourselves on offering a wealth of choice above and beyond standard ticket options, simplifying the logistics of travel and accommodation for our customers from around the world, whilst in turn giving an average uplift in revenues for organisers of 15%.
We now operate from 7 international offices worldwide, and Festicket is available in more than 25 countries. Fans can browse in 8 different languages, pay in 41 different currencies and with 29 different payment methods. We’re really trying to connect all the dots of the global festival and live event network.
With more than 2,500 music festival partners worldwide, including the likes of Coachella, Mad Cool, Rock In Rio and BST Hyde Park, and 5,000 travel and accommodation partners, we can offer fans a truly holistic and international experience.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to understand how fans book festival experiences”
In the past year are there any specific initiatives you’ve launched to further add to this offering?
We’ve gone to great lengths to understand how fans book festival experiences and the challenges they meet in getting there. Something that came up time and again was the financial burden of group bookings. Friends love to discover, book and attend festivals in groups, but more often than not the responsibility of booking tickets fell on one member of the group who was then required to pay the full value for everyone’s tickets and recoup the cost later. We developed Pay with Friends to meet this problem.
Using this feature, one person can book for the whole group and pay only their share. Once the booking is made, a secure link is sent to each remaining member of the group to pay their balance. Tickets are held for 48 hours to allow everyone the time to make their payment. This feature has also been popular with fans, with 12,000 travellers making their payments this way in the first couple of weeks after release.
Last August Festicket acquired Event Genius and Ticket Arena. How has the deal changed the Festicket offering?
Our new venture – Event Genius by Festicket – revolutionises our offering to both customers and promoters by combining tech and expertise across ticketing, accommodation, travel and packages, a strong in-house team of marketing specialists, data insights and analytics, access control, POS and cashless payment services, fan engagement tools and more to create the most complete end-to-end offering in live events.
We brought everything the two businesses were doing so well separately under one roof to ensure the best possible value add for organisers and this is something we’re really excited about going into 2020.
2019 for instance saw lots of growth for our multi-award winning cashless solution – Event Genius Pay – with over 50 events delivered, more than a million transactions completed and an average uplift in revenues of +25% for organisers. Our team of operational experts are set to be very busy in 2020 with a raft of new clients set to enjoy Event Genius Pay and all its benefits for the first time.
Best of all has been the response we’ve had from the industry to our new offering. We’ve signed over 50 primary ticketing deals since the acquisition in August with the likes of Afro Nation (Portugal), Southport Weekender (UK), Rolling Loud (Europe) and American Tours Festival (France) as well as being nominated for the Golden Ticket at the ILMC Arthur Awards 2020. To have such well esteemed promoters and organisations putting their faith in us and our vision is incredible.
Things show no sign of letting up in 2020 and we can’t wait!