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Millennials are changing the world by attending live events. No, really.

Experience economy is usually associated with millennials and the shift in spending habits. One of the experiences they(we) are most likely to engage into are live events. Multi-day festivals, for example, have become a kind of rite of passage for many.

Music, fun, experiences and often long-term connections with peers are all desirable. As such, there is no surprise that half of the 32 million people that attend festivals in the US are millennials.

So what drives change?

Let’s start with a short intro to technology and, most important, connectivity technology. It won’t take long. You are probably aware that computers have evolved constantly from the 1970’s. Flash news number two: they have now become both powerful and cheap enough to help empower people from all geographical and social backgrounds. A report from the White House shows that millennials have been shaped by the ubiquity of technology. Yup, tech is in their DNA.

Taking a photo at a festival

Taking a photo at a festival and saving the experience. Source.

Connectivity technology was surprisingly influential. Both mobile phones and social media have been used by teens in the previous decade to stay connected, exchange information and share moments with their peers.

This led to what is now called “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO). As they are more and more connected on social media outlets and share important moments in their lives, the need for “being there” has increased. Also, over half of millennials report that people ask them for purchase opinions and they influence four to five friends and family.

So there is an increase in millennial influence and an increase in the number of people that want to be influenced by them. As a result, social gatherings such as live events have become the norm. Groups must attend or they fear missing out on potentially important social interactions.

Experiences rather than goods

The common knowledge is that millennials favor experience over goods. And they seem to do just that. But that does not mean that they are not spending. Actually, attendance and revenue from festivals have skyrocketed:

Lollapalooza attendance has grown from 65,000 in 2005 to 300,000 for 2014. Revenue in 2014 was $28.8 million and generated over $140 million for the local economy.

Burning Man has become a globally followed event. In 2014 more than 65 000 attended the event.

Coachella sold over 198 000 tickets in 2015 and raked in more than $84 million. One of the hottest things the festival has pushed forward was the live streaming, now at 28 million views, a way for millennials to stay connected, even if they are not there.

And that’s not all — an increase in festival attendance has taken the world by storm. A long list of awesome festivals show how millennials now acquire experiences.

It’s not just festivals, either. It’s concerts, movies and even pay TV. 83 million millennials will spend $750 a year to purchase experiences, as a Deloitte reports. That’s $62 billion changing the world, spent by people who crave for experiences.

How does the experience economy change the world?

A change in purchase options for millennials is a huge thing for the global economy and as a result, society at large.

By spending more on experiences, by joining large groups, by accepting diversity and seeking it, the millennials are making the world a more connected place, smaller and less prejudice prone.

Goods as commodity and self-defining experiences

As the manufacturing of goods has been streamlined, automated and increasingly effective, goods have become accessible. A computer or flat screen TV used to cost a small fortune to own. Now they are both accessible to many so they have lost their social status symbol.

Even big ticket possessions such as cars or houses will soon lose their appeal as the world perspective shifts from owning to accessing.

So goods become commodities. They are accessible and lose their appeal to the masses of millennials that will soon become the dominant spending force in the global economy.

Brands will have to face the truth sooner or later. The marketing added value will soon fade and products will be just as desired as their manufacturers are socially responsible, as millennials demand. Even now, emerging brands such as Warby Parker or Bonobos emphasize their positive impact on the society catering to their target market’s values.

Experiences will become defining for individuals’ character. And large scale events, attended in foreign cities, countries or even continents, will build global citizens. Millennials will grow up with a global perspective rather than a local one. This will improve international relations because we already know that people that trade together don’t fight one another. We’re finding out that people that have fun together may care for one another.

New financial and payment systems

Credit cards have long become mainstream but are now increasingly less appealing to new generations.

Festivals have started to experience with new access and payment tokens, such as RFID wristbands that double as entry tickets and payment devices within the events’ areas.

Who says these new payment and financial systems cannot step outside the festivals and replace old institutions, such as banks, and technologies, such as credit cards?

Decentralized entertainment experiences may breathe new life in the music industry

The music industry has become rigid and resistant to change. A few labels own a large deal of rights to music and artist’s creative abilities. With the rise of large independent events and an increase in popularity for indie artists that can connect directly to their fans, change will happen.

Even more — we may experience new types of art performances that so far have been hiding in underground concerts and small events. Burning Man is a great example. It went from one of the smallest festivals in the US to one of the most influential and large ones. It used to be the place where underground artists, hipsters and libertarians used to come hang out. It is now the place where tech titans meet and build new ventures.

And it’s not just music in the US. It is also tech, medical events and more. Brazil has seen a huge and steep increase in the number of business events. Eastern Europe, for example, has had a boom of tech events such as ICEEfest . Event management tools now help event organizers, small to mid to large, set up and handle their dream event.

The future will bring a more connected world, through the live events that millennials now experience. And I don’t mean connected as in digitally connected, because …

Something else will replace today’s “social media”

Social media as we now understand it is anything but social in terms of human emotional needs. If anything, it alienates individuals through over-inflated and weak relationships. The kind that we, as humans, feel good about on the short term but don’t rarely find real value in in the long term. The number of Facebook friends, the number of Instagram or Twitter followers may feel superficially satisfying but what we crave for are the real experiences.

The touch of a hand, the laughter, the warm feeling of finding someone you know you want to spend time with. These are all things Facebook cannot provide, no matter how many Oculus devices they ship.

Millennials want something that their parents and grand parents had and they have not received enough of. The digital empire brought about by tech companies as well as the very structure of our civilized world, with large cities and weak ties between people, is not satisfying.

By connecting in real life events, millennials are building a real “social world”, with the help of “social media”. They crave and they will have the strong ties that happen in the real world. They crave and they are building a new world where people are people, not just numbers on a Facebook profile. One live event at a time.

Which KPI should I track for Business Events?

Event organizing can get real messy really fast if performance is not measured. However, it can get cluttered if too many KPIs are measured.

So which KPI’s should you be measuring?

If you are organizing business events, here’s a handful of KPIs that will help you down the road, with some thoughts on why they are important.

winner-kpi-business-events

Sales KPIs

If you are organizing free events you can skip this one but you can benefit from a free account on Oveit (great news, right?).

But if your budget includes ticket sales or corporate partnerships, sales are at the core of your event. They are both the fuel that keeps the events going and a meter on how well you are performing.

So here are some you should be keeping your eyes on:

Average profit margin: you probably organize more than one event. The average profit margin is the median margin across your events. You should be keeping track of this figure and measure the events you organize against the APM and the average profit margin against previous years indicators

Quote to close ratio: you have your ticket sales and then you have corporate sponsorship, partnerships and things such as exhibitor fees. Most of the times quoted prices are modified upwards or downwards (usually through bundling or up-sales) and you should try to keep the ratio between quote to close larger under 100% . Sounds a bit counter-intuitive, right?

Well let’s think about it. This ratio looks like this:

Quoted price / Close price 

If the close price is higher than the quoted price, it means the sales team is performing well as they have effectively increased the sale. This means if the initial quoted price was for example 1000$, and the final close price is 2000$, you get a ratio of 50% , thus implying you have doubled the performance for the sales team.

If on the other hand the ratio is larger than 100% it means the deal decreased from quote to close.

So by keeping track of the median quote to close ratio, you can get an overview of how sales are performing.

Tracking KPIs against past performance and against industry standards:

One thing to keep in mind is that KPIs are unimportant on their own. The keywords in KPI are performance indicators. That implies relative importance of these values. This relative performance is measured against past performance and against industry standards.

 

Attendee and partner sentiment analysis

One very important aspect of managing a successful event management business is understanding and measuring the way your target customers react to the event.

In terms of business events, that usually means two types of customers:

  • partners (sponsors, advertisers, exhibitors)
  • general attendees (visitors interacting with the event and with partners)

To get a sense of how they feel about the event you should split the KPI measurement on three time frames:

  • before the event
  • during the event
  • after the event

Each of these phases can have specific KPIs measured but the general concept of sentiment analysis should be viewed as a way to quantify how your (potential) customers feel about your brand. So it’s basically turning feeling into numbers. You can do that using:

  • social media tools that monitor and report user feedback regarding your event
  • customer feedback tools (forms, surveys, automated mailing lists)
  • direct interaction (focus groups, live interviews, discussion panels)
  • automated optical recognition technology (basically video systems that quantify how happy visitors are)

Loyalty and customer retention

Loyalty is a really important brand value and it should be noted that returning attendees are probably the best measurement of how successful your event is.

The KPI you should be focused on is Customer Retention Rate (be it Partners or General attendees). To do that you should be tracking the number of attendees that keep coming back and its yearly evolution. Ideally you should strive to get most of last year’s customers returning and increasing this ratio year over year.

Most of these indicators are easy to extract from Oveit and we hope you will find these guidelines easy to use and helpful.

Is there any KPI you would like to add?

Meet us at Museum Rocket – let’s talk about museum access management and ticketing

Oveit was selected as one of the exhibiting startups at Museum Rocket, the first museum and entrepreneurship fair.

MuseumRocket_LOGO2

Museums have always been at the center of cultural innovation. As the times are ever-changing museums can’t ignore the impact technology has on our lives.

So a small team of enthusiasts have built a platform where cultural experts and leaders can meet tech entrepreneurs. Ideas will hopefully flourish and the two will be able to benefit from one another.

Last year’s Museum Rocket, in Berlin:

We Are Museums 2015 (Berlin, DE) from WeAreMuseums on Vimeo.

We were selected to showcase our access management technology, enabling museums to improve access to venues. With Oveit, museums can issue and check electronic tickets directly on their websites, can offer subscriptions to visitors and can create cross-museum access passes in minutes rather than months.

Even more, museums can host events and become the cultural and social centers our society needs them to be.

The fourth edition of Museum Rocket will be hosted in Bucharest, following Vilnius, Warsaw and Berlin, and will feature guests and speakers from all over the world.

We will be glad to meet you there.

The story of the brave theater that could

We believe in stories. Most of our users have wonderful stories and we want to share them with the world. This way we cans shed light on those that usually go unseen: the people behind the spotlight.

 

For the love of theater

Ciulley LiviuThe CI Nottara theater was founded in 1947, right after the Second World War and it was first named “The Army Theater”. It was built by Liviu Ciulley, one of the wealthiest architects of those times, as a token of appreciation for his children, whose love for the theater could not go unnoticed. His son, Liviu Ciulei, would go on to become one of the most loved and acclaimed directors of his generation, being voted the best director at Cannes in 1965 and leading the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in the 1980s, when it won a Tony Award.

Looking back to the times long gone, Liviu Ciulei, the director, remembers how it all happened. His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a construction engineer. But he cared little for the exact sciences involved in erecting buildings. He wanted to be a director and he loved the theater. So one day, without his parents knowing, he signed up for classes at the Theater Conservatoire. He prepared a monologue from Henry the IVth, by Pirrandello. The day came when he was supposed to face his future teachers and prove he was worthy of joining the Conservatoire. The exam was held in a classroom with no public. Just the examination commission.

When he was ready to start, the door opens and in comes his father, Liviu Ciulley. He asks to be allowed to watch the exam. He is granted the privilege and the exam starts. His son is terrified at first and barely remembers his lines. But he starts the monologue anyway. A bit shy at first, word by word he starts delivering one of his best performances, he remembers. The teachers loved him.

That same evening the family was sitting quietly, eating dinner. His father notices: “It seams the theater thing is quite serious.” He then pauses in complete silence. The future director is terrified of the outcome but a few minutes later he sighs relieved when his father takes his decision. “I will build you a theater”.

The Nottara Theater. Click for the virtual tour The Nottara Theater. Click for the virtual tour

Surviving the communist regime

After its founding, the Army Theater, as it was named until the 1960s, lived through challenging times. Private theaters were stripped of their finances and their founders stripped of their possessions by the Communist Party.

Lucia Sturdza Bulandra

Lucia Sturdza Bulandra

After 1948 most of the private property, including the private theaters, was nationalized and what would become the CI Nottara Theater was absorbed into the City Theater, under the management of Lucia Sturdza Bulandra.

Lucia Sturdza Bulandra was an actress, a teacher, a manager and a noble descendant of Prince Ion Sturdza, Ruller of Moldavia. In an unusual choice for those times (given her noble and therefore “unhealthy” communist origin) she was invited to create and manage the City Theater.

Her presence at the theater helped actors continue on their path and gradually restored the faith in this art. Though foreign plays were at first heavily censored and adapted to fit the communist agenda, culture was seen as that little drop of freedom still accessible. The people found a way to escape the isolation forced by communist party through the plays of foreign authors and notably, William Shakespeare. His influence on the cultural evolution through this times is undeniable.

The Nottara Theater was no exception. Under the leadership of directors, actors and even ex ambassadors (such as Maxim Crișan, previously an ambassador to Moscow), the theater grew its repertoire. It proved to be one of the few places where the communist regime was somehow lacking the needed influence to block all thoughts of freedom and culture.

The fall of communism and the theater’s rebirth

When communism fell in 1989, Romania found itself in a world it did not really understand. The incoming stream of western culture was too much to comprehend in such a short time. Given the changes in the social, political and economic spectrum, the people were left rather frustrated with the new world they were trying to grasp and could not.

The frustrations were felt within the theater as well. So the actors did what they could do best. They played their feelings openly so the world could see. Nottara was never empty. Its public became enamored with the actors performance as they reflected their own emotions through plays from the local and universal repertoire.

We’ve met the staff in the spring of 2015 when they were focusing on renovating the lobby and the stage area. They were quite happy that they have found a way to handle all their specific needs in terms of event management and we helped with what we could.

We stayed close to them and tried to understand the specific needs of these passionate people. Within a short time they were selling tickets online and we were amazed at how fast the public seemed to adopt and enjoy this new way of gaining access.

And then disaster struck.

The tragic night and the will to keep going

On October the 30th, 2015, the Colectiv Nightclub in Bucharest caught fire. 64 people died and 147 were injured. It was the worst incident since a plane crash in the 90’s. The tragedy shook Romania to its core.

It was a horrific combination of a mismanaged club, pyrotechnic effects that should not have been used and a lot more people than the club was supposed to host.

As a result, the Romanian General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations conducted more than 1,000 inspections at national level, in bars, venues, clubs, cinema and theaters. Many were closed. Among these, the CI Nottara Theater, which previously received the necessary permits to conduct its activity. Now it was deemed as a seismic risk.

The actors were furious. They protested the decision which they deemed unfair. By closing the venue, the government left no alternative for the actors to continue their work. They were literally out on the street. And that’s where they played their parts.

Out in the street. Invited to other theaters. Performing in cultural institutes. They didn’t stop.

In an unprecedented move, the staff decided they would continue to perform and innovate. They received help from the Hungarian Institute Balassi, few local theaters, a shopping mall and even the Presidency that hosted some of the shows.

But the real help came from its public. Those that followed the brave theater to wherever they choose to perform that specific night. The theater’s notoriety grew from 45 to 68% in just a few months.

Nottara did not fail. It blossomed through adversity. We helped with what we could. They used our app to sell their tickets online, wherever the show was hosted.

They even crossed borders in the neighboring country Moldova. The Romanians there greeted the theater with their arms open and the shows were all sold out.

After their trials and tribulations, the actors and staff at the CI Nottara theater had proven they are unbreakable. Destiny offered some good news after more than 140 days away from home. On the 14th of April, 2016, the staff and their friends gathered in a small club in the Old City Center and celebrated the first sign of success in their struggle.

The return home

The theater announced that a seismic re-expertise was being conducted and results were  optimistic. The building which was deemed unfit in the light of the Colectiv Club tragedy, was now inspected and results showed no serious seismic risk.

Could CI Nottara be returning home? Yes, there are signs that the staff will restart performing within the same building Liviu Ciulley built for his son’s love of theater.

But the theater never really left its home. It was there where it has always been. In the public’s heart, in the actors’ minds and souls, in the center of a city that loves its performances and its history.

 

Book your tickets to ICEEfest 2016

ICEEfest, one of the largest digital events in Central and Eastern Europe is about to go live again for its 2016 edition.

The two-day event attracts marketers, agency people and digital media enthusiasts from all over the world. More than 3000 attendees gather yearly since 2008 to engage and discover new digital marketing trends.

ICEEfest partnered with Oveit to handle event management infrastructure and we are really happy about helping build up such an event.

Here’s last year’s official after movie. It’s been a blast and we highly recommend you register to the event and save on ticket prices.