Paciolan's Matt Kautz and Craig Ricks celebrate at this year's PACnet

Reporting from Newport Beach, Calif. — With over 600 attendees, this year’s PACnet conference sponsored by Irvine-based Paciolan was the largest gathering in the company’s history. More than ever, conference organizers placed an emphasis on networking and sharing success stories from one organization to the next, and many members were more than happy to share their strategies for increasing ticket sales.

 “The box office is where the most important things happen in our business,” said Jamie Grant, new CEO at the Long Center in Austin, Texas. For Grant, ticketing is the core profit center and requires full integration within the rest of the arts organization. He’s combined his Development and Box Office departments, and Paciolan CEO Dave Butler said more and more venues’ and teams’ marketing and bookings departments are working closer with the box office, not just to boost revenue, but also to gauge the success of individual campaigns and activations.

 “Working with technology provider SSB, we’ve developed a new application that will allow organizations to share all of their ticketing, marketing, fundraising and customer information throughout the organization using customized dashboards,” he said. “With this tool, senior executives and leadership will be able to monitor critical business metrics like ticket sales and walk-up rates in real time.”

 Ticketing Intelligence for Paciolan will be available with the company’s 7.0 release.. SSB will join a number of Paciolan integrated partners including StubHub, 3-D seat map maker Ballena, Access scanning solutions provider Janam and stored value technology firm Givex.

 The partnerships come as Paciolan experiences an explosive growth spurt, signing 28 clients in the past 18 months including Fox Theatre in Atlanta and Portland (Ore.) Center for the Performing Arts.

 “And after last year’s success with the NHL Winter Classic, we’re proud to hear that next year’s Winter Classic will also be held at a Paciolan-member facility — Michigan Stadium,” announced Jane Kleinberger, Paciolan founder, in her keynote address.

 On the next few pages, you’ll find Venues Today’s coverage of PACnet 2012, including photos and memos from select panels. Visit pacnet.paciolan.com for past articles on PACnet 2012 and announcements about next year’s conference.

The Challenge Of Selling Tickets In The Rsn Era

USC AD PAT HADEN OPENS PACNET

Kicking off the keynote speeches for PACnet, Pat Haden, athletic director at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, noted that in his 18 months in the position, there is always more to do if you want to be the best.

“USC Athletics is the window into the university for a lot of people,” said Haden, who recounted his own experience at a USC football game when he was 10. “We have to be as good or better than the rest of the university.”

He said that television has become the biggest competitor for USC Athletics. ESPN’s $3-billion cable deal to televise the Pac-12 has brought new revenues to the football powerhouse, but it’s also created an alternative for fans considering buying tickets. A number of D-I football programs are starting to see revenues affected by regional sports network (RSN) deals.

“People don’t have to come to the game,” said Haden, adding USC Athletics has to make it an exciting experience for the fan.

Haden said that since he’s been there, the athletic department looked at customer service from “the moment a fan makes a conscious decision to purchase a ticket” to the postgame experience.

USC has increased two-way communication between the fan and the athletic department by surveying their customers and have implemented Paciolan’s Advantage program and CRM solutions, which have “increased the trust of donors.”

The athletic department will work to make transferring tickets easier, having learned that football games average over 10,000 no-shows.

“The key is to never be satisfied,” said Haden. “We have learned that we need to learn.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOBILE TICKETING

Iain Bluett from TicketAlternative thinks 2012 will be the year of the mobile phone.

“If you look at all the social media sessions being held at this year’s PACnet, I think you’ll see just as many next year based on mobile ticketing,” he said.

The reason: Consumers are feeling increasingly more comfortable buying tickets on their smart phones, and Paciolan offers a mobile website solution for organizations wanting to optimize mobile ordering. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has utilized the technology for a number of special presales, and PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland sold $60,000 in tickets on their mobile site during the first three months of rollout.

Interested in rolling out mobile marketing at your organization? Check out these tips from the “Mobile Marketing Best Practices” panel.

Don’t forget about simple technology

“Even though people think of apps when they think of mobile marketing, texting remains the number one way to communicate with a phone,” said Jared Lake of Impact Mobile. “Texting has an 8.22-percent conversion rate, which is almost five times greater than email conversions.”

But think to the future

“NFC (near-field communication) tags present a very interesting opportunity,” said Lake. “However, in the United States it doesn’t really exist yet.” NFC technology utilizes magnetic frequencies in smartphone and credit cards to wirelessly complete transactions, exchange digital data and connect electronic devices with a touch. For venues, NFC could allow patrons to swipe their credit cards at the turnstile and gain ticketless entry into an event, or pay for concessions with their mobile phones.

Don’t send too many texts

“We are extremely sensitive to how much we communicate via mobile,” said Jared Maleh of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. “We can spam the hell out of you with email and tweet at you all day long, but subscribers receive about 12 text messages per month.”

Use your venue as an asset

“Drive mobile subscribers during events,” said Maleh. “We had eight home games for football this year and, on our two enormous video boards, we had campaigns where we gave away tickets to the next game.” The current capacity of the stadium at University of Michigan is 109,901, and the university received over 3,500 new mobile opt-ins each game.

Don’t shy away from new technology — your infrastructure may already be able to handle it

Kate Green from StubHub said that their mobile sales have grown over 500 percent since 2010. Now, fans want to be able to bypass printing a ticket and, instead, scan their phones at the gate. “Paciolan has really been looking ahead and hooking their clients up with infrastructure that is already capable of supporting scanning on mobile, so check to see if your technology is already capable of the new advancements,” said Green.

Dave Butler Shares New Features of Paciolan 7.0

Paciolan is rolling out a new business intelligence product with technology firm SSB of Denver that will be embedded in Paciolan 7.0. While that platform is being prepared for rollout, Paciolan is starting to beta-test the Ticketing Intelligence platform with select users and give senior executives a real-time view of their organization. And since the information is stored on separate servers, it won’t slow down the ticketing interface.

“It’s the perfect example of a data warehouse. We’re in a high transactional environment and response time during an on-sale is critical,” he said. “We’ve now created a platform for reporting for everyone in the organization and their access doesn’t affect the performance of the ticketing system.”

Ticketing Intelligence pulls all of the clients’ data from the Paciolan system (patron data, sales data, inventory data and troves of transactional data) to create a visual and numerical reporting interface. Tiered access levels allow Ticketing Intelligence users to share information, and the system runs on a web portal that can be accessed from any Internet browser.

“I envision that athletic directors will be going to the dashboards every morning to monitor attendance, while performing arts managers will be able to get up-to-the-minute reports on ticketing, revenues and return on investment from their marketing dollars,” Butler said. 

One of the early adopters, the Portland Trail Blazers, runs reports several days before a home game to forecast their seating inventory and generate leads for group sales, as well as produce real-time commission reports for the sales team. The Philadelphia 76ers use the system to create a comparison between actual sales, budgeted sales and forecasted sales.

“The budget’s in their financial system, the actual is in Paciolan and the forecast is something they’re creating along the way. All that comes together in the dashboard and data warehouse,” Butler said.

Ticketing Intelligence will roll out with the launch of Paciolan 7.0 and each account will include 20 applets. Customized data warehouses will also be made available to clients for an additional cost. Because the system is web-based, major on-sales can be monitored from anywhere including tablets and smartphones.

“In Portland, a GM can stand in the concourse and monitor real-time attendance figures on an iPad,” Butler said. “They can look someone up to see if they’ve come in the building, and approach their seat to discuss a renewal package.”

“We’re going to package key information so they don’t have to go ask someone else for data,” said Butler.

Paciolan Inks Official Agreement with StubHub

Paciolan has signed an agreement with StubHub to be the exclusive, integrated, secondary ticketing partner for Paciolan teams and venues which decide to offer an open market model.

The agreement furthers the team’s ability to reissue barcodes from tickets sold on StubHub and allows fans to print tickets on their home printers.

Florida State University, Tallahassee, increased the number of tickets sold on StubHub by over 250 percent after the first year of integration for football. The Paciolan/StubHub integration enables ticket holders to resell their tickets by logging into StubHub’s online site and entering a barcode number, which StubHub verifies as a legitimate ticket. When the ticket is resold, a new barcode is issued for the ticket, and it’s digitally delivered to the buyer. StubHub’s automated fulfillment technology allows for a streamlined listing and purchase process that saves buyers and sellers time.