Just about two weeks remain until doors open at the Ticket Summit® conference and trade show in Las Vegas, NV. The sixth annual Vegas event is scheduled for July 13-15 at the Venetian Resort, Hotel & Casino.

Over the course of the conference’s three days, Ticket Summit attendees will have their pick of more than a dozen panels and training sessions, including the much-anticipated keynote speech of Outbox Enterprises CEO Fred Rosen. Attendees can also network throughout the days, both in the exhibition hall and at the Summit’s after-hours events.

Since the first Ticket Summit event in 2006, the event has expanded into a twice-a-year format. The conference has already scheduled its 2012 return to New York City for January 18-20 at the Waldorf=Astoria.

The Ticket Summit audience has also evolved into a cross-section of the ticketing industry and its extended community — both nationally and internationally. More than 600 people have already registered to attend the Vegas 2011 event, according to current estimates.

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After 5 p.m. today, July 1, registration rates for Ticket Summit 2011 increase from $459 to $499 — and prices will increase again at the door. Today also marks the cut-off date for businesses to apply to be a sponsor of the Vegas 2011 event, with sponsorship opportunities still available for signage, conference bag giveaways and more.

Even with these deadlines looming large, Ticket Summit’s executive director, Molly Martinez, took some time to speak with TicketNews about the upcoming Vegas event. She discussed the new opportunities available to attendees, the importance of attendee feedback, and the increased visibility of professional sports teams and leagues at the Summit.

TicketNews: What are your goals going into Ticket Summit’s 2011 Vegas event?

Molly Martinez: As with every Ticket Summit, our goal is to provide our attendees with a well-rounded learning and networking experience. The schedule is devised to provide during the day a series of industry-specific, as well as general business development sessions, where they can get the most up-to-date industry information relevant to their business needs. The sessions are then coupled with a trade show and early evening networking events for attendees to network and establish key relationships that will help them further their business goals.

TN: How many people have registered for Vegas this year? How does this compare to previous Ticket Summit events?

MM: Currently, we have over 600 folks registered for the show, exceeding our projected attendance records from previous years. We are thrilled about how the conference has grown. Attendees include prosport ticketing executives, producers and promoters, venue managers, marketers, technology and software providers, primary and secondary ticketing agents, and many more. In addition, the conference has become more global in nature, drawing attendees from different parts of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and many others.

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TN: Professional sports teams and leagues have had an increased interest in and presence at Ticket Summit in recent years. Why do you think that is?

MM: Having the country as a whole experience the recession that it has, it has made all businesses, including prosport teams and leagues, re-evaluate their economic models and how business is conducted in general. Ticket Summit has become a networking destination for prosport teams and leagues precisely because it provides attendees with the most up-to-date information on the happenings in the industry, as well as networking opportunities that will be valuable to their business development.

Teams [that will be represented in Vegas] include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Dolphins, and New Jersey Nets, among others, as well as executives from the various leagues.

TN: What advice would you give to first-time Summit attendees?

MM: Network, network, network! One of the greatest value components of Ticket Summit is the high-profile crowd that it draws, allowing you to network directly with the decision makers that are likely to have an impact on your business.

TN: Does this year’s Summit feature any new opportunities or events for returning attendees?

MM: Yes, based on attendee feedback, we have expanded our conference schedule to include a series of pre-conference events, such as a two-part customer service training session, as well as a point-of-sale product demonstration by TicketNetwork. Furthermore, we have added more technology-focused sessions, as well as expanded the exhibit hall to be our biggest yet, with over 30 vendors. Attendees will definitely have a lot to learn and look forward to during the show.

TN: As you mentioned, at the end of each Summit, you ask attendees for feedback. What sort of feedback have you collected in the past, and how do you put that to use when planning the next Ticket Summit event?

MM: We take our attendee feedback very seriously, and consider it the backbone of future Summits. After each show, attendees receive a survey where they get to evaluate everything about the show, from the catering service and registration, to the quality of panel sessions and diversity of vendors. In addition, they get to provide direct suggestions on panel topics, schedule structure, and other key components. It is very gratifying for attendees to see their ideas come to life and be implemented in the conference that follows.

For example, based on attendee feedback the “Rev Up Your Marketing!” session [on July 14, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.] will focus on SEO and Web2.0 strategies, as these were topics of interest that came up in the survey. We implemented not one, but two technology sessions, as getting more product demonstrations was also of interest. And the annual Enterprise Awards will now feature an additional four categories, one of which is Best Trade Show Exhibitor.

We are looking forward to receiving more feedback after our July conference, so we can enhance the attendee experience even further for our 2012 Ticket Summit conference in New York City, January 18-20 at The Waldorf=Astoria.

TN: In your time as Executive Director of Ticket Summit, what have you taken away from these events? What do you hope others take away from them?

MM: As Executive Director of the Ticket Summit conference and trade show, one of the biggest take-aways that remains consistent year after year is that there is nothing like the power of a handshake. Yes, one can join a Facebook group, or a LinkedIn discussion, but in the end there’s nothing like an in-person conversation to really bring people together to talk business. And that is why people keep coming back to Ticket Summit — to find out who they’re going to meet next, and what new business relationships they can build from the networking events that are at their disposal.

Ticket Summit® is a registered trademark of Ticket Software, LLC. For additional information on the 2011 Vegas conference and panel schedule, or to register as an attendee, please visit TicketSummit.org.

TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.