The live event ticketing platform SeatGeek Inc. has begun giving buyers the option of returning their tickets – for whatever reason – and receiving credit for another event.
Its new feature called SeatGeek Swaps gives shoppers who return their tickets at least 72 hours before an event a promotional credit equal to the purchase price and fees paid.
SeatGeek said it offers the alternative as the pandemic has pushed all types of purchases – not just tickets – online and introduced new uncertainties into planning out going out.
“When you look at how people use their phones and what they expect from the product, people expect more flexibility and expect things to meet their needs, expect them not to be tied to anything in the long run,” said Jack Groetzinger, a co-founder and CEO of SeatGeek.
The new feature could have trickle-down effects across the ticketing and resale industries, analysts said. Currently, many ticket sellers and marketplaces only offer refunds in certain circumstances, such as: B. for canceled events, and sell ticket insurance that covers certain plan changes.
Online event ticket sales in the United States, including sales and resale, are projected to grow 4.7% to $ 7.9 billion by 2026, according to IBISWorld, a research firm.
The ticket sales industry is overflowing with powers like Ticketmaster, a subsidiary of Live Nation Entertainment Inc.,
Compete against rivals like SeatGeek, StubHub, Eventbrite and Gametime.
Competition will continue to increase, said Claire O’Connor, senior analyst and team leader at IBISWorld. A service like SeatGeek Swaps could influence customers’ choice of ticket provider, Ms. O’Connor said.
“You can’t really predict what will be going on at the time of the concert in three months,” she added.
Sellers on the platform will get their tickets paid for even if buyers return them, the company said. SeatGeek will offer the returned tickets for sale again.
Ticket brokers and fans, who make up the vast majority of sellers on the platform, were automatically included in the swap program.
But the swap program may not work smoothly for all venues. For example, SeatGeek is consulting with those who sell season tickets to see how the feature might work for them, the company said. Venue considerations are also different from those of individuals – for example, venues need to ensure ticket holders show up to purchase things like drinks and snacks.
SeatGeek decided to issue returns credits instead of cashback to avoid potential fraud problems, company executives said. Credits also keep consumers and their money at SeatGeek.
Many companies in the industry are looking for new services to drive repeat purchases and differentiate themselves, said Brandon Purcell, vice president and principal analyst at research firm Forrester Research Inc.
“In many industries such as financial services and tickets, the actual products and services are becoming increasingly standardized,” said Purcell.
“For SeatGeek this is an opportunity to do that and give people the ability to effectively cancel their plans,” he added.
Vendors such as Ticketmaster offer the ability to resell tickets if a buyer is unable to host an event and may offer a refund based on what the event operator approves. Ticketmaster offers insurance between 5% and 10% of the ticket price as a backup.
Live Nation gives a full refund for canceled or postponed events. And if a person tests positive for Covid-19 at least 72 hours before an event, they can get a refund too.
“Live Nation is committed to being at the forefront with fan-friendly policies and was the first to offer cash refunds during the pandemic,” a company spokeswoman said in an email. “We want fans to have a great experience from purchase to light exit, and we continue to offer refund options if show entry requirements change.”
A service like SeatGeek Swaps gives consumers more freedom in their choices that other platforms don’t, and it can encourage shoppers to use SeatGeek on others, said Paul Hardart, director of entertainment, media and technology at Stern der New York University Business School.
“There is an opportunity for the customer that they didn’t have before,” said Hardart. “Much of it is perceived value, but it’s real. You have a choice to get out of it and that might encourage people. Especially in times of Covid, many people hesitate to commit too far in advance to something. “
Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at [email protected]
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