Americas CEO for SecuTix, the SaaS Ticketing Engagement Platform with blockchain mobile delivery.
There are many similarities between ticketing professionals and event planners: If we don’t deliver, the experience of the patron or attendee is in jeopardy; nothing ever happens exactly as it was planned; and last but certainly not least, our industries have been devastated in a matter of months as a result of the pandemic.
Millions of people have lost their jobs. According to a recent report prepared for the U.S. Travel Association by Tourism Economics, “Nearly half of the 16.9 million jobs in the (leisure and hospitality) sector were wiped out in March and April.”
I know we will be back. After all, if you are like me, you are craving human interactions, and you’re looking to enjoy unique experiences with your colleagues, friends and families.
The question for leaders in this space is: What are the steps we need to be taking today in order to help our teams and our businesses adapt to changes brought by the pandemic?
I have five recommendations:
1. Adjust broken business models.
I believe our business models are in need of adjustments in order to succeed today. Many customers have canceled their events or moved them online, and some sports are restarting with a fraction of their typical attendance. Even the most pessimistic business plan was miles away from the reality we are faced with today. The good news is that you’re not alone, and you have plenty of time to rethink the model you’re using.
If you don’t think your business can handle it, just consider the adjustments some major organizations have had to make in order to meet the needs of today. For example, the U.K.’s culture secretary urged the museum sector to take steps to raise additional revenue. Additionally, some airlines, including American, Delta and United, are eliminating change fees for certain customers.
Now is the time to sit down with your team to fix any cracks in your business model.
2. Find the right mix between online and face-to-face meetings.
Although online meetings are likely here to stay, I don’t believe they will ever replace face-to-face meetings completely. I imagine more and more people will embrace a mix of the two in the future, depending on the objectives to be achieved.
Now is the time to define your calendar for 2021, estimate your audiences for each event, and start preparing your team, your marketing, your sales and your communication plans. Depending on the objectives of your event (e.g., entertainment, education, practical know-how, networking, etc.), I recommend that, in the next 12 months, between 30% and 50% of your events be online, with a focus on providing smaller and unique experiences for face-to-face meet-ups.
3. Own your data.
Owning your data is mission critical. As the world starts to reopen, it is more important than ever to understand your patrons and attendees in order to design the experiences and the buying process that matches their desires. Simply spreading the same message to your entire audience and hoping for the best is ineffective.
Instead, I suggest taking ownership of your data and using it to inform your social media and SEO strategies. I’ve found this is more effective than hoping for the same old database to produce new results. If you are depending on someone else to get your data or to analyze it and you’re not gaining the insights you need, now might be the right time to make a change or design your ideal system that meets your organization’s requirements.
4. Improve the customer experience.
Venues and hotels have had to keep customer safety top of mind as they implemented protocols to help protect guests from the virus. As the CEO of a ticketing engagement platform that leverages blockchain, I’ve observed that many companies have adjusted the customer’s digital experience over the course of just a few months. Whether you’re making a purchase or checking in at a hotel, there is often a contactless mobile option.
This is why I believe the best action to consider taking today is to review all the touch points in your customer journey from the outside in. For each of them, assess how you might be able to improve and deliver a great experience.
5. Offer compassion.
In a time of change, it’s up to the leaders to lead the way, listen to their teams, share the reality in full transparency and help everyone move forward. This requires a mentality of servant leadership, coupled with what a friend of mine calls “brutal compassion,” or the idea of sharing the truth, even if it’s tough news, while being compassionate.
You can be human and make hard decisions at the same time if it is required for the longevity of the organization. I’m convinced that if you take good care of your team, they will take good care of your customers, and the entire organization will benefit.
To see how you can improve your team’s experience and offer great compassion, ask yourself:
• Where do you need to improve as a leader?
• What new strategies are you going to implement?
• How are you going to communicate changes to your team?
You have the time today to think about how to improve.
What I believe has become obvious to me during this pandemic is that music, art, books, podcasts, theatres, shows, sports competitions and exchanging ideas are as important now as ever. As professionals in the events space, we are the people behind the curtain; we are the people behind the screens; we are the people making it happen. If we keep these recommendations in mind, I believe we’ll set ourselves up to come out on the other side of the pandemic stronger.
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