ADVISORY PANEL: A Q&A with Simon Klinkhamer
Simon Klinkhamer has 20 years’ experience as the owner and director of companies specializing in bespoke software developments.
For the last 12 years Simon has specialized in bespoke web development for live entertainment venues, heritage visitor attractions and rights-holders. His company KB Group (UK) Ltd designs, develops and supports the online booking solutions for a range of prestigious clients including the Barbican Centre, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the Tate Galleries, British Film Institute, Royal Academy of Arts, and Buckingham Palace & Windsor Castle.
Appointed to the Ticketing Technology Forum Advisory Panel earlier this year (with a special responsibility for eCommerce), Simon is now using his vast expertise to help guide and shape the Forum’s programme content and discussions.
We caught up with Simon for a quick Q&A ahead of the inaugural Forum…
Tell us a little about your experience in the sector:
SK: We have run an ecommerce and bespoke software development shop in the UK since 1999, providing a range of solutions for the ticketing industry. We’ve built ecommerce solutions for a lot of the West End theatres, and for clients such as Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Delfont Mackintosh, and the Royal Academy of Arts. So, over 10 years we’ve built a good understanding of deploying transactional based systems and solutions that sell ticketing products; predominantly for end users but also providing B2B solutions for agents.
How has the ticketing sector changed during that time?
SK: There’s been vast amounts of change! 10 years ago, people were happy to have a very basic and rudimentary website, and companies that were launching ecommerce sites were very much seen as being at the vanguard. 10 years later, that’s a very different picture, and solutions have had to become significantly more sophisticated.
If we consider the ticketing sector, the big paradigm shift for software developers was going from a big back-office application, where you had users who you could train up, to having people who are expected to spend money having never seen or used a particular system before. That’s a radical shift, and it means that everything has to focus on the UX.
Then there’s more recent innovations such as selecting your own seats from a seat plan, being able to see the view of the stage from your particular seat, as well as additional concessions like multibuys, and priority booking periods… the sector has really evolved, and solutions are now very different to what we would have seen a few years ago.
How will that evolve further?
SK: Products will certainly become even more sophisticated, because there are such strong commercial reasons for innovation. The two big areas at the moment that everyone is excited about are social and mobile, although we’re only seeing very cautious movement in this area.
People are fascinated to understand where the commercial end to investments in these areas will be. If we spend money putting a dynamic seat plan in; customers all like to pick their own seats, so will customer satisfaction improve dramatically? If you have a ‘like’ button that posts to your Facebook wall when you’ve bought a ticket… how does that translate to your social network going and buying a ticket to those shows?
The key question is always where and when to spend your money, so that you can get the best returns. There’s uncertainty in the market about where the payback is, and that’s why Ticketing Technology Forum is so important.
Why were you keen to get involved with Ticketing Technology Forum?
SK: Ticketing Technology Forum is a great chance for the sector to meet, and to learn from each other. For me, I’m keen to see what other vendors are doing; how people have implemented things, and what the returns on investment may be for those things. For example, I know there’s one feature the market where people can reserve ten seats, then post a reservation on the wall so that people can go and pay for their own tickets directly, taking away the financial obligation for the one individual who’s organising the group. There will be 50 of those sorts of ideas on display at the Forum, that I’d like to learn more about.
Ticketing Technology Forum 2013 explores, debates and showcases the latest trends, innovations and technologies that will deliver the next generation of live entertainment ticketing solutions.
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