When Veritix launched as Flash Seats three years ago, like any new technology, it was met with some skepticism. “No paper tickets? What? You...

When Veritix launched as Flash Seats three years ago, like any new technology, it was met with some skepticism. “No paper tickets? What? You just swipe a credit card or driver’s license? Are you sure people will go for this?”

Well, we were sure… and, they have been going for it. Recently, Veritix crossed the 2 million mark for tickets processed. Customer satisfaction is high, too. Some NBA teams surveyed showed customer satisfaction rates of 97 percent for people who chose paperless tickets.

A growing number of teams, artists and venues are weaving paperless tickets into their overall ticketing strategy. Veritix, for example, is working with six major venues, four NBA teams, one NHL team, an MLS team and two minor league hockey teams. Two thirds of an Elton John/Billy Joel show was handled with Veritix Flash Seats in 2008 and last year, the entire Miley Cyrus tour was paperless.

Clearly, the option to go paperless is catching on with teams, artists and venues. Even savvy ticket brokers are learning to understand the system and use it to their advantage. Selling and transferring tickets in a secure, online environment is faster, safer and more customer-friendly for the ticket broker’s client and ultimately reduces the overhead and logistical challenges that brokers face.

But, not all paperless ticketing options are created equal. While customer convenience is an important paperless ticketing attribute, full potential is not reached unless paperless ticketing is helping teams, artists and venues create deeper relationships with their fans.

For example, Veritix provides the only patented integrated electronic ticket marketplace allowing for the safe and secure transfer and resale of tickets in a team, artist or venue-branded online marketplace. In addition to the revenue stream created by this custom secondary ticket market, teams, artists and venues are able to track who ultimately uses the tickets, thus building their relationship databases and creating marketing and sales opportunities.

In a real-world scenario, a season ticket holder might resell tickets to a friend for two Saturday games. Using traditional ticketing systems, it still looks like the season ticket holder used the tickets and attended the game. Using a paperless ticket system with relationship building tools, the team can capture the end-users contact information and learn what games and on what days the new contact attended. Using this information, the team can present a more targeted ticket offer and increase the likelihood of those tickets being purchased. Additionally, research has shown that the ability to transfer and sell paperless tickets using Flash Seats increases the “show rate” – the number of fans that are physically at the game – by an average of 5 percent per game. That means increases in per cap rates and parking revenue as well as increases in fan exposure and customer satisfaction.

For the team, benefits of Flash Seats paperless ticketing system include, revenue generation on the sale of tickets on the team-created secondary market, an opportunity to capture customer data and begin relationships with interested fans that may produce future revenue streams. For the fan, Flash Seats benefits include the ability to buy, sell or transfer seats, the opportunity to maximize the return on their investment and strengthen the relationship they have with their team.

In today’s world of wireless, advanced PDAs and instant connectivity, paperless ticketing continues to gain momentum. Fans trust Flash Seats and teams, artists and venues utilizing the full power of paperless ticketing systems are creating and managing deeper customer relationships, generating more revenue and setting themselves up for long-term success.

There are some in the ticketing industry who say paperless ticketing systems are designed to cripple ticket brokers. This simply isn’t true. Paperless ticketing is a natural evolution of technology in the ticketing marketplace. Those who adapt and learn to use the technology to their advantage will prosper. Those that don’t are missing tremendous opportunities and advantages.

Jeff Kline is the president of digital ticketing provider Veritix. He delivers many years of sales, marketing and organizational expertise to his position, and among his jobs prior to joining the Veritix, Kline spent fourteen years in various senior management roles with Ticketmaster, and served as executive vice president in the office of the chairman. During his time at Ticketmaster, Kline was instrumental in helping the company grow and expand into new areas of business and services. In addition Ticketmaster, Kline has served as vice president/chief of staff at Media Live International (formerly Key3 Media), and as senior executive vice president of business affairs at TBA Global Events.