Reflections from INTIX 2024: Increasing patron engagement and revenue

February 20, 2024

I'm not ashamed to say that it took more than a full week back home in London to process the experience of attending my first INTIX conference. I'd heard from colleagues to expect a condensed and whirlwind experience at this event – and that was put into turbo overdrive thanks to this year’s venue: the conference center at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Everyone in attendance at INTIX is decidedly focused on the two biggest challenges in the live events world: increasing revenue and pumping up patron engagement – and our two presentations (undertaken with our generous partners and clients in attendance) rolled the dice on some potential approaches.

First up, Made CEO James Baggaley and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Senior Director, Sales and Customer Experience (and ticketing legend) Joe Carter made a compelling argument for the benefits of keeping patron experience at the center of technology improvements, namely when it comes to two key touchpoints: seat selection and digital ticketing.

We really can’t emphasize this enough, and we’ll keep saying it: ticket buyers demand (and deserve) best-in-class experiences when they engage with your organization, and to give them anything less than a delightful and pain-free purchase experience is detrimental to your bottom line.

So it's the little things that go a long way to making sure patrons keep coming back for future events: helping first-time patrons on mobile devices understand seating locations in large venues that may be unfamiliar to them, or letting them share tickets with members of their party the way they want to* – no extra app or different login required – with a chain of accountability directly visible in your CRM to tackle potential customer service issues. These are all things we've put in place for the LA Phil, alongside features we'll soon be revisiting and iterating through our collaborative relationship with their marketing and ticketing teams.

I had the pleasure of joining a panel talk with Sophie Garzon Lapierre from our partner easy-connect and two Made clients: Gabe Johnson from Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City, and Justin Foo from the LA Phil. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to interrogate some of the ways we're working with both organizations on the critically important and nuanced work of providing the right technology experiences to the right patrons in the right situations.

That can mean slowly migrating a program for young ticket buyers (Roundabout's HIPTIX) from an administratively-heavy web-based experience to a more streamlined one via an app that handles age verification, rules-based ticketing allocations, and ticket delivery in one place. It can also mean shifting an administratively-heavy manual ticketing experience for pay-what-you-wish or comp tickets to a web-based solution that gives these buyers an equitable purchase experience identical to a patron paying full-price.

Justin gave us a preview of an innovative project that the LAPhil has in the works with a partner organization to cut down on vehicular traffic for high-volume events at the Hollywood Bowl that we’ll be integrating into their existing ticketing path very soon. And I talked through the robust work we've done with event favoriting for the Minnesota Orchestra, and the ongoing work they're doing internally to drive additional revenue by leveraging personalized communications all along the marketing pipeline, from digital marketing campaigns to purchase path upsells, enticing patrons who may have favorited an event in transforming that love into a ticket purchase.

Outside of our panel appearances, we were thrilled to connect with old friends and new connections in attendance, indulge in a few thrills that only Las Vegas can provide, and soak in the glittering atmosphere that puts delighting guests front and center 24/7. It was truly inspiring and energizing to kick off the year in this environment, and we’re charged up for our upcoming conference appearances at TLCC Gateshead and Ticketing Professionals in Birmingham, both coming up in March. 

(* And yes – that means by texting, emailing, or transferring tickets in a bespoke app that can then be dropped into a mobile wallet for ease of access.)