It’s no secret that Eventbrite is killing it this year. In June they crossed the $1 billion in total sales mark, and as of August they have sold over 83 million tickets cumulatively (just check their homepage for the latest count). Operating 174 different countries, it is expanding rapidly. Eventbrite provides a plug and play ticketing solution to event organizers, taking a modest cut of the ticket sales. While there is still plenty of opportunity for additional growth in pulling in new event organizers, Eventbrite has some big opportunities to add revenue streams from their existing organizers.
The first opportunity is around helping organizers promote their events. Eventbrite already does a good job of leveraging Facebook to surface events for users that their friends are attending and also has an algorithm to recommend events of potential interest. What if Eventbrite offered premium placement of sponsored events on both the website on their email outreach on upcoming event? I could also see a lead generation scenario where organizers could enter a revenue share agreement with Eventbrite with a similar structure to the deal sites in which a promo code is offered to entice users. As an event organizer on the platform myself via Bottlenotes, I would gladly welcome this type of promotion, as it’s something we do anyway outside of the Eventbrite system. Why not leverage their 20 million person user base?
Will this hurt the integrity of the recommendation engine? Not if it’s done in a way that the sponsored events are simply being more prominently placed for people who would have it recommended anyway. Additionally users are accustomed to this type of sponsored placement on sites like Google and Yelp.
Another opportunity that Eventbrite is uniquely positioned to address is the secondary ticket market. Stubhub owns this space for larger events, but often does not even list smaller events that fall in Eventbrite’s sweet spot. The advantage here is that since Eventbrite is the ticket issuer, it can validate sellers’ tickets and re-issue them to the buyers, similar to how Stubhub handles Major League Baseball tickets. Users would be able to post tickets directly from their accounts. The fee structure could include the 15% commission on the seller side, like Stubhub, and could be split with the event organizer in some fashion. The buyer fees would be the same structure as with a regular purchase only relative to however the seller sets her price. To address organizer sensitivity to secondary sales if the event is not sold out, Eventbrite could allow the organizer to opt-out of listing a secondary market place, or to put a floor on prices.
Creating the secondary marketplace would benefit all parties involved. The attendees would be able to more easily and safely be able to sell unneeded tickets. The organizers and Eventbrite could capture a cut of secondary sales which would happen anyway through other channels such as Craigslist. Lastly, in the case of sold out events, the organizer can collect valuable demand data via the secondary market clearing prices, allowing them to improve their pricing strategy for future events in the same market.