Retail

Why Flexibility’s The Ticket For Online Festival Booking Platforms

Contactless Payments For Summer Events

Digital platforms for music festival experiences often come as a means of providing information. The U.K.’s Festicket, for instance, was started with the aim of helping consumers learn more about events. “The main idea was initially around content,” Festicket CEO Zack Sabban told PYMNTS in an interview. He added that the concept was to “create a really powerful content website that will allow the user to understand the look and feel of each music [festival].”

Content and discovery are the company’s bread and butter, according to Sabban, with content writers and engineers all working on discovery. Festicket offers features including an integration with Spotify, which lets users link their music streaming accounts to the platform’s website. That integration provides users with suggested music festivals based on their listening habits over the last 30 days. The company also has a magazine, which Sabban said has attracted the most visits and traffic growth in the last 18 months.

In addition to tickets, the company also sells packages that include options like accommodations and transportation. Those offerings are available bundled or unbundled: Consumers can buy an entire package, or opt for a la carte options if they have already chosen their accommodations. “Whatever experience you want to have on the platform, [it] is up for grabs,” Sabban said.

The Business Model

Sabban said that Festicket’s business model is simple: It tries to be as much of a travel business as possible, with tickets “used as the hook.” Since selling packages at the first entry point can be difficult, however, the site does not require consumers to buy packages when purchasing tickets. That option can be useful, as some festivals might launch with an early bird phase when customers might not yet be thinking of travel or accommodations.

The company also has a hosted solution for music festivals, which provides festival organizers with an additional revenue stream while also serving as an acquisition channel for Festicket. The platform tends to create the packages, as it is rare that music festivals will make a package themselves and start contracting hotels and transfers. Huge festivals might have hundreds of staff members, Sabban noted, but smaller and more independent promoters comprise the majority of the festival market.

The Booking Process

Consumers can begin the booking process by selecting a festival on the website – say, The Airbeat One Festival in Germany – and then arrive at a guide page. Sabban describes the experience as “almost like the mini-festival website in one page.” The page shows the look and feel of the festival, along with a description translated into different languages. It also contains information on the headliners and artists on each stage and date, along with frequently asked questions.

When customers are ready to book, they visit a festival shop page that shows the different ticket types (i.e., VIP tickets). Packages for hotels and “glamping” appear below the ticket options. The page also includes a la carte options for accommodations and transportation, among other choices. This setup is designed to let consumers book a ticket, choose a pre-made package or create a custom package. “We give the flexibility to the user,” Sabban noted.

Festicket works with Stripe for payments, allowing consumers to pay upfront or pay a deposit payment followed by installments. Sabban said the idea behind the latter option is that the platform’s audience base, comprised of millennials, might not have a large disposable income. For that reason, they might need to make payments over time on different dates. And many users like to reserve their packages and then pay a little bit at a time.

In addition, Festicket plans to offer group payment functionality in the future, with the goal of helping big groups attend music festivals together. While it does currently have products aimed at groups, the lead traveler has to pay for all friends (or their deposits). Ultimately, the aim is to let travelers send payment links to their friends, as digital festival platforms seek to offer flexibility in choosing accommodations and experiences beyond just tickets.

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