Every group of friends has a social director, Fevo CEO Ari Daie told Karen Webster in this week’s Matchmakers conversation – that one person who organizes the cats and gets a group of otherwise passive adults organized for a game, concert or weekend trip.
This person’s life, Daie noted, is full of friction. They have to organize the group, figure out when everyone is free, what they want to pay for tickets and then how to purchase that block of tickets for the group.
“All of the pain flows to that person,” Daie told Webster. “And after they’ve done all that work organizing the event, the pain isn’t over – they still have to hunt down everyone and get paid back for all of those tickets.”
That job, he noted, is a hassle – especially since almost every group has that one friend who always says they will pay you back, but doesn’t. Or the last-minute canceler, who always has a life issue crop up right before game day. Or the plan changer who is so enthusiastic about the event that they invited another three or four people, and now needs the organizer to add them to the order.
In the digital age, services like Venmo offer part of the solution, Daie noted, by at least making the collection process somewhat simpler.
“But that is at the end of the transaction,” he said. “The question my co-founder and I found ourselves asking is, what if we go in way early in the cycle and alleviate that pain point upfront? What if I could go to any site – Ticketmaster or Yankees.com – buy my tickets and then send a link to my universe of friends who can buy in, in their own way?”
That, Daie said, is exactly what the Fevo service does – in essence, it makes it easy for groups of adults to book together for a shared event by paying separately, and even reorganizing the plan and its participants on the fly.
How It Works
Fevo is a white-label solution that lives within sight of the brands it serves – because, Daie noted, they don’t really want to interpose themselves into the brand’s relationship with their consumer. “The Yankees are an internationally recognized brand, so why would we try to pull them to Fevo’s app?”
Instead, as the customer is booking on the branded entertainment or travel site, the Fevo group booking experience opens up seamlessly and automatically. The customer can book the tickets of their choice directly, and then ping the rest of their group with the booking link. The other group members can then book their own tickets, and even invite other participants. Fevo, on the back end and through its partnerships with these travel and entertainment sites, keeps the group together even as changes occur, and even rewards the original host as the booking gets bigger.
“Obviously, from our partners’ points of view, the bigger the group, the better – and so, as the group is growing, the original creator is rolling in rewards,” Daie explained. “They will see things like, get the group up to 10 members and all members of the party get a fast VIP entrance, or build the group to 30 and appear on the Jumbo Tron at halftime. We both want to make it easier for groups to book these experiences, but also to have memorable experiences while they are there.”
And while Fevo makes this service possible, Daie noted, the firm itself sits in the background, behind the scenes, acting basically as the payment processor of record.
Unlocking Hidden Value For Customers
Hospitality and entertainment firms want large group bookings, for obvious reasons – and often offer rewards for those groups. The problem, Daie told Webster, is that most customers don’t really know it – or don’t want to have to engage the analog and somewhat opaque process of calling a hotel or team and trying to negotiate a block group of tickets and the accompanying reward.
The problem with that process is that it pretty much robs a reward of its value. It no longer seems like an add-on feature that is adding value so much as an add-on responsibility for some unwilling planner.
“Plus, you have to pay for that group upfront,” Daie pointed out. “On our side, we actually just reverse the fit on that – we let you book your one or two tickets, and then monitor as the group grows. If it hits 30, we will kick back that group rate of 20 or 30 percent.”
Moreover, Daie noted, while that 30-person group rate is often a hard limit for various bookings looking to snag a group grate, Fevo’s structure also allows vendors to offer incremental rewards separate from that reduced ticket price – things like free hats or some line jumping, for example.
The goal, he said, is to start with a customer experience that is already an improvement on today’s broken process, and from there continue layering on value so that the customer isn’t just having an improved experience, but a bona fide good one.
Unlocking Hidden Value For Suppliers
For merchants, Daie noted, Fevo offers a service that is three things: easy to get online, free to use and effective at boosting conversion. Once a team or travel brand decided to sign on and use the white label service, they can be up and running on the site within a few days.
“If the Boston Red Sox called us tomorrow and said they wanted to use our service, we could be up and running by Monday,” Daie said.
But the Red Sox wouldn’t be paying for that speed, or any other part of the Fevo technological offering – because the business doesn’t run on a software as a service model, where “you pay us a whole bunch of money and then we let your use our technology,” according to Daie.
Instead, because their partners are essentially replacing their current payment gateway with Fevo’s, they become the processor of record and monetize their service as a payments processor.
But fast and free, while always desirable, really doesn’t mean all that much without the third demonstrated element Fevo is bringing, which is effectiveness.
According to Daie, the average size of a group booking that Fevo sees is 33 people. That is pretty impressive, he noted, considering that when you look at a site like Live Event, the average booking rate per customer is around 2.7 tickets apiece.
“The good news is that we aren’t seeing that 2.7 number erode when suppliers switch on our service,” Daie pointed out. “Instead, people are buying their average two or three tickets, and then inviting 10 people to join them, and those people are then going out and inviting another 10 people.”
All in, he said, their partners tend to see a sales lift between 30 percent at the low end and 300 percent on the upper edge of the curve.
Because, Daie noted, sporting events, concerts and even travel and trips are at their core social events, and the types of things people want to share with those around them – even if they don’t necessarily want to take on the part-time job of planning and getting paid for the event.
With Fevo, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. “It has really been a triple win so far, which is rare in business.”