You’re in the ticketing business, right? Know your market players eh? So, if there was a ticketing platform serving some of the largest festivals, sports tournaments, stadia, music venues, arts palaces and visitor attractions – in fact, more than 100 of them in Europe – that was offered a cloud-based, service solution, selling millions of tickets each year, then you’d be able to name it? Or perhaps not?
TTF16 caught up with Frédéric Longatte the recently-appointed CEO of Switzerland’s SecuTix SA – and asked: Is it time for a sleeping giant to awake?
A DYSFUNCTIONAL MARKET
“Entertainment ticketing is dysfunctional,” observes Longatte. “Of course, many sectors are being shaken up but for different reasons. Telcos for instance are in constant high speed adjustments because their technology and digital landscape is moving so fast. But for ticketing the reasons are different.”
He considers that incumbents have had a lot of power, which is often the cause of stifled innovation in many markets. He cites the New York District Attorney’s recent report into event ticketing where “true fans hardly get any tickets”, and goes on to mention bots, brokers, data issues.
“The taxi market has been turned upside down by Uber. AirBnB arrived to shake the hotel sector. Ticketing is ready for such an event,” he states.
So, is he promoting SecuTix 360° as ticketing Uber app?
“No. But we see the opportunity to establish ourselves as the key white label solution for any organisation that wants to take control of its own ticketing and of its audiences,” says Longatte. “Fan experience management is a key concern at the moment. Many organisations we’re talking to are stressing how important it is to them to “own” the relationship with their audiences. We want to provide organisations with a modern technology platform that helps them gain independence and better engage with their fans. Major incumbents provide both distribution and white label offerings. While there is value in this, it is also somewhat slightly schizophrenic. On the one hand they want maximum sales on their distribution platform but, on the other side, they are telling clients they have full control of their fans and distribution”
It’s an interesting play on the market. Many have tried to challenge the dominance of the Ticketmaster, Eventim and other dominant market players – but nobody has aimed to dominate the white label offer specifically.
And who is this person leading the charge on dominating white label ticketing? A former executive of Accenture, Longatte headed up Accenture’s SaaS and Salesforce business development in France. He was invited to join SecuTix by two of ELCA’s owners, diving into the fragmented market of entertainment ticketing just nine months ago.
SecuTix SA is a daughter company of the ELCA Holding in Lausanne, one of Switzerland’s largest independent software providers with 650+ employees and a €92m+ turnover.
Its ticketing solution was initially developed as a project for a particular customer. It was then left “on the shelf” until ticketing insiders realised that they could use the ticketing purchasing moment to collect useful data about their audience and leverage that data insight. So in the past few years, the product has been developed into a comprehensive solution combining ticketing and CRM – and marketed as SecuTix 360°.
Currently utilised by 100+ sports, arts, entertainment and culture businesses across the company’s six core markets, the adoption is all the more remarkable given that “the company never invested in marketing”, remarks Longatte.
That’s all set to change. A marketing team has been formed, new faces (again, many from outside ticketing) recruited and a gameplan is in place to promote the industry’s “best kept secret”. Ticketing Technology Forum 2016 in Dublin will be SecuTix’s first public industry appearance.
HEARD IT ALL BEFORE
Longatte appears pragmatic about the market’s cynicism to new products. “It’s natural in a fragmented and highly competitive market to be suspicious of anyone promising to solve all its problems,” says Longatte.
“That’s not what we’re about. But, we do have a proven solution – a fully SaaS, cloud-based integrated ticketing and CRM ticketing platform – that is delivering great results across six verticals.”
The verticals are festivals, museum, live entertainment, sport and tournaments, amusement parks, plus “aggregated city” but actually one single product for city-wide ticketing.
SecuTix’s leisure and event customers are not – as you might assume – entirely in its home country, but include the Paléo Festival in Switzerland, Messe Berlin in Germany, Opéra National de Paris in France and Aspro Parks in Spain.
“It’s unusual isn’t it to develop a product overseas before selling it to your domestic market? But that is what has happened,” explains Longatte.
“In each vertical we have at least one client in the top five. For example, in live entertainments we have Opéra National de Paris. In museums, we have Centre Pompidou which just selected SecuTix 360°. In sports, SecuTix 360° is the technology platform of UEFA’s ticketing and hospitality management system for the UEFA EURO 2016 in France this year.”
“In terms of stadia, Stade de France uses SecuTix and can easily balance allocation model and handle direct sale through a high performance ticketshop – as as it did with all big touring artists.”
In the festival world, Longatte cites Paléo Festival in Nyon, one of Europe’s most important music events with some 230,000 visitors. Thanks to the SecuTix platform, it sold out in less than three hours. Amusement parks are headlined by Aspro Parks group – second largest operator in Europe with 60 leisure parks and visitor attractions.
The city vertical is led by Madrid Destino – a city-wide, unified ticketing system for cultural and tourist attractions in the Spanish capital. It integrates the offers of fourteen venues and, working directly with the city authorities – and is being further developed to add other visitor and tourist services.
In the coming months, SecuTix SA will enter the UK market – a very clear statement of intent in one of Europe’s biggest and well-served ticketing markets.
THE MARKET OFFER
So, the industry is presented with a ticketing solution that has lots of clients, a proven track record, appears to be well-resourced and ticks all the technology boxes (cloud, scalable, SaaS, digital marketing, modules for this and that, etc.). What’s the market offer?
SecuTix 360° is described on its own web site “as a multi-segment and omni-channel platform, integrating both front-office (sales and marketing) and back-office processes (ticketing, access control, merchandising, finance and BI)”. All sounds great doesn’t it?
“The product was initially built for clients with complex ticketing processes so it has very deep, inherent core ticketing functionality. We are after large brands who want to take control of their sales channels and re-internalise their ticketing,” offers Longatte. “But, looking ahead, we want to make modern ticketing more accessible to organisations of all sizes, therefore we strive to keep on simplifying implementation and adoption for a lot of clients.”
Currently, the solution is offered via three, monthly payment plans – Power, Advanced, and Ultimate – with a monthly subscription and fee per ticket.
The solution is being marketed as a Ticketing Engagement Platform – with emphasis on all three words as key elements. We’ve outlined the Ticketing side, but the Engagement side is covered by CRM and digital marketing modules.
“The beauty of the platform is that it provides a central repository to collect and segment your fan and customer data and then the tools to address your audience with tailored messages and offers. Put simply, we make it possible for you to use ticketing data to drive upsell revenues and create further engagement opportunities. So SecuTix 360° is much more than just a ticketing solution,” pitches Longatte.
The Platform tag is all about offering connectors and integration with other software solutions. For example, in France, SecuTix has partnered with Tech4Team to offer Yield Management and Pricing Strategy analysis.
“We won’t do everything on our own,” explains Longatte. “We do the core ticketing and database elements but our preferred approach is via partnership when it makes sense. We can then select the ‘best in class’ solutions to offer to our clients as a complement to our platform– or they can ask us to integrate with their chosen partners.”
“By consolidating all data related to sales and marketing within a single 360-degree business view and by providing a wide range of functions to stimulate and reward customers, it is possible to increase sales and customer loyalty,” says Longatte. And development is not stopping there. “SecuTix 360° was born from a system high tech integrator company. We have lots of bright people here.”
From some bright people in Switzerland, the secret’s out!
MUSINGS & INSIGHTS
We finished our discussion by throwing a few typical industry challenges at Longatte:
How can the system cope with the promoter/venue allocation challenge? “We have a function we call the ‘distributor switch’where we can shift allocations, share in real-time,” replies Longatte.
What about technical support? “Our core multi-lingual support centre is in Spain but we have operations also in France, Switzerland and soon Germany. We just landed our first live entertainment client in Germany – Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin”.
Where is the software developed, how is it resourced? “Technology innovation is driven out of Lausanne with our software development efforts being shared between Lausanne and our offshore center in Vietnam”.
What about language issues? “Of course, localisation can be a challenge – for any software implementation. Our core programming is in English, with platform currently offered in French, German and Spanish”.
What about resales? “We have a resale platform as a module, currently used by clubs and rightsholders.”
What about mobile? “Our client-branded web site is responsive. And there is a SecuTix mobile app which can also be branded. But don’t forget we have a software development kit (SDK or “devkit”) which allows clients to open up the ticketing element.”
Social functionality? “We offer the ability to buy directly with basic Facebook and Twitter integration. Recommendations of tickets bought can be tracked. I can’t say too much but we are in discussions with some of the key social platforms to offer something new.”
CRM integration? “Now you are talking! That’s one of my expertise areas. SecuTix 360° includes a well-featured CRM. In some cases, our large enterprise customers need more in-depth CRM functionality so we offer native connectors to Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.com”
SecuTix 360° will be demo’d in The Marketplace (Pod #133). You can book a one-to-one meeting or reserve a demo slot by following this link.