Friday, September 12, 2014

Van Andel Arena Ranks #4 in Latest Venues Today Social Media Power 100

Venues Today, a leading trade publication covering the business side of the sports and entertainment industry as it relates to venues, recently released its latest Social Media Power 100 (SMP100) list highlighting the top venues in the social media realm around the world. Grand Rapids’ own Van Andel Arena makes an appearance on the list at #4 for all venues with a capacity between 10,001 and 15,000.

Ahead of Van Andel Arena are Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, who tops the list for mid-sized venues, followed by the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the SMG-managed Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas.

Venues Today uses pre-determined criteria to measure a venue’s presence on what they refer to as the ‘big three’ digital platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) as well as check-in data from Foursquare/Swarm to measure fans’ on-site social media engagement. The end result is a social media score used to rank all venues. The complete Venues Today SMP100 list can be found here.

Since Van Andel Arena opened its doors for the first time nearly 18 years ago, social media has swelled in popularity and is more prevalent today than ever. The traditional methods of marketing and advertising are no longer sufficient as an entire strategy. The SMP100 list has shown social media’s importance as a companion to press releases, traditional media, and other promotions. The staff at Van Andel Arena has worked hard to stay up on trends and be sure they are at the front of
a rapidly changing media landscape, and their presence on this list appears to show they are on the right track.

You can stay up to date on Van Andel Arena news by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter@VanAndelArena and Instagram @VanAndelArenaGR.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What You (Still) Need to Know About Paperless Ticketing

Last year, we posted a piece here to explain paperless ticketing, why it is an increasingly popular ticketing method for many shows and artists, and what you need to know if you have purchased such tickets to an upcoming event.

With a pair of upcoming shows, The Black Keys (Sept. 7) and Eric Church (Oct. 9), using paperless ticketing, we've decided to revisit the topic and publish last year's post again in order to clear up any questions customers may have leading up to our doors opening. However, since our initial post, Eric Church and ABC News have shed some more light on the subject.

In April, Church openly expressed his struggles to combat ticket scalpers. In addition to using the paperless ticketing method for this year's "Outsiders World Tour," Church went as far as to cancel tickets purchased by obvious scalpers for a show of his earlier this year. Church explained the decision further in a radio interview:
"If it was an even playing field, I wouldn't be as passionate as I am. But it's not. ... I want my fans to be the ones who buy tickets to my shows, and I want scalpers to back off. I can't stop ticket scalpers completely, but I can definitely make it harder for them."
Last month, ABCNews broadcast an investigative report on scalping, counterfeit tickets, and the effects they have on the average ticket buyer.

Please read our post from last year to learn more about paperless tickets and what it means for you when you arrive for the show:

Reported several years ago, a company in Texas was found managing over 100 computers with their own software programs. That sounds perfectly fine at first glance since computers can be found virtually at every company across the globe. The problem here was that these computers in particular, had been programmed to purchase tickets to shows in bulk the instant they became available.

After tickets to numerous events and shows had been purchased, a ticket broker—who’d prearranged to purchase those tickets from the company—ultimately aimed to sell them back to the public. Sometimes, a ticket broker has their own computers. Tickets can change hands two to three times with every one of them looking to gain profit. So regardless of the process, the objective is the same—drive up the price.

Those darn scalpers.

The reality is people have been scalping for a long time—modifying their approach to modernize the way they make profits.  The latest technologies provide faster and faster ways to get tickets. One method is automated computer software programs such as the one in Texas.

Often seen as a victim-less crime, those profits do pay a price. And that price falls on true fans. Once the broker has tickets, prices skyrocket. The broker sometimes can make it practically impossible for the average Joe to get a seat to his favorite band when prices are marked up to over 200%.

Another problem this poses is the uncertain validity of tickets purchased on the secondary market. Sure, you may be able to fork over a couple extra hundred bucks to take your girlfriend or boyfriend to the Kid Rock show or take your spouse and kids to the spectacular “Wicked” Broadway show coming into town, but how do you know they are legit?

Here is where paperless tickets come into play.

Paperless ticketing is an alternative method of purchasing tickets and continuing to gain access to the shows you want to attend. Instead of receiving your tickets ahead of the event, the credit card used to make the purchase will serve as your ticket. All you need to attend the show is the credit card you used to purchase the ticket and a valid, government-issued ID (such as a driver's license, state ID or passport).

Promoters are employing the use of paperless tickets more and more successfully at some of the largest venues throughout the world, by many of the most popular artists including the likes of Kid Rock and more. Simply put, this measure best ensures that fans can buy tickets at the price they initially set for the event all the while enjoying the added convenience of not having to risk losing or misplacing paper stubs.

When patrons arrive at the venue, just go directly to the gate and/or ticket-taker and present the credit card used to purchase the tickets along with a government-issued ID. Upon scanning your credit card to validate your order, a seat locator slip for each ticket ordered will be printed off for each seat purchased in your order.

But say you’re purchasing tickets for others and don’t intend on attending the show?

If you buy tickets for friends or family, sometimes you only have to go to the gate, not through the gate. Simply accompany them to the venue and show your credit card and ID to get them in.

If you happen to lose your credit card after your purchase was made, simply bring a print out of your confirmation email or online order history from Ticketmaster with your government-issued ID to the box office. The box office will then verify the order and make sure the names match. If they do not match, entry will not be permitted.

Paperless tickets take the ease out of a ticket process that has for too long been manipulated at the cost of the artist all the way down to the common fan.

Click here to learn more about paperless ticketing.