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TicketLeap offers online ticketing to Halloween events

By Kelly McWilliams

As Halloween approaches, a do-it-yourself online events ticketer is extending its reach into the haunted events market.

With the tag line "Big, free, small, we ticket them all," Philadelphia-based TicketLeap.com aims to bring event planning and ticketing to the masses, with online tools catering to novices who simply want to organize and run an event.

And now, TicketLeap is partnering with such companies as HauntApps and Haunted Attractions to make it easier to organize and attend the popular seasonal events coming up for Halloween.

In a recent conversation with TicketNews, TicketLeap founder and CEO Chris Stanchak spoke about the haunted events phenomenon and his company's growing involvement with it. "By their nature, haunted attractions are ideal candidates for online ticketing, not unlike a theater or sporting event. We recognized early in the haunt industry's migration to the internet that TicketLeap could provide a much needed solution to this rapidly growing niche – a fully self-serve, turn-key ticketing solution that requires no financial investment by the haunted attraction."

Aware that there would soon be growing competition for ticketing the haunted events market, Stanchak and his company moved quickly.

"From 2007 to 2009, we hustled to establish a strong foothold in the haunt market and after the 2009 haunt season, our haunt clients saw a 537 percent growth from the previous season's sales. By 2010, we had secured a place as a respected vendor to the haunt industry."

This year has seen new partnerships that capitalize on the company's mobile ticketing and social media abilities. The recent partnership with Steve Kopelman's Haunted Attractions gives the company online ticketing and marketing rights to all of this season's attractions. Through a new agreement with HauntApps, haunted event organizers who use the apps can now give their customers access to TicketLeap's mobile ticketing tools, allowing them to purchase tickets for the event and receive scannable entrance codes on their smartphones while informing their online friends about their purchases.

But according to Stanchak, what he believes sets TicketLeap apart from some of its competitors is the in-depth social media management that the company can offer.

"Social media integration is a big deal these days, and everyone says they offer it. However, putting a Facebook 'like' or 'share' on your event page doesn't help drive ticket sales, primarily because 'likes' and 'shares' are given out freely with low emotional investment and show up as low priority items in a user's news feed," he said.

Through an analysis of more than 110,000 transactions which attached a "like" or "dislike" to an event, TicketLeap found that simply clicking on "like" did little to actually raise sales, working only 1 out of every 66 times.

"To improve this, we experimented with Facebook's graph API to create an app that engages our user base's wants and interests. With the user's permission, it posts 'I'm going to (this event!)' to their Wall, and gets their friends interested the moment it hits their news feed," Stanchak said. The company saw big results with this new tactic, seeing an increase in ticket sales on about 1 in 10 tries.

Stanchak also believes that TicketLeap's social media toolkit makes the company particularly adept at building community and a market base: "Our platform enables event organizers to foster a community on their ticketing page and engage and interact with their attendees, which is something that no other ticketing platform offers. All of the social interaction associated with an event can be tracked, along with detailed reporting on the number of page views, visitors, and ticket sales generated as a result of the social interaction. This can be used to identify customers and fans who are generating ticket sales by speaking about the event, and incentivize them to sell more tickets."

As part of their plans for growth, Stanchak and his staff continue to tweak both their mobile ticketing and social media tools in order to create the optimal user experience and grow their customer base. "We take customer feedback very seriously and release new product features almost on a weekly basis," he said, adding that few, if any, other ticketing providers can make a similar claim.

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