PARTY PASS: The Buffalo Chip Campground, home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and music festival, has upgraded its credentialing system to make it simpler to buy passes. (Courtesy venue)

Tixr platform features campground site manifest

The Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground has signed a long-term ticketing deal with Tixr to sell reservations and passes for the world’s biggest motorcycle rally outside Sturgis, South Dakota.

Tixr, a 10-year-old old firm headquartered in Santa Monica, California, has deals with 500 events and venues across 40 countries. Many are festivals, including the Riot Games, Acura Grand Prix, Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa and Dead & Company’s Playin’ in the Sand. LIV Golf, the new pro golfing tour founded by Greg Norman, is another Tixr client.

The agreement translates to a major upgrade in technology for the massive 800-acre campground complex and streamlines the online purchasing process for the two-week rally and music festival.

Tixr’s system went live at midnight Wednesday (Feb. 1) for the 2023 rally. The data tied to consumers purchasing passes before that date was rolled over to the new platform, said Rod Woodruff, the rally’s producer for 42 years and owner of the campground.

“We’re tickled with it overall,” Woodruff said. “It’s a big step for us, because it’s not in-house, which we did for decades. Now, we genuinely have some experts with a marvelous program.”

Rod Woodruff

For the rally, historically, customers buy campground passes with add-ons such as VIP concert upgrades. All activities, including nine nights of concerts, are included in a campground pass. Under Tixr’s white-label system, rally attendees can now go online and select and reserve campsites from an interactive map, similar to buying concert tickets at an arena.

In addition, there’s now an option to pre-purchase certain concession and merchandise items. Woodruff, in tandem with Patrick Bradley, Tixr’s chief revenue officer, is in the process of selecting a new mobile point-of-sale system for food, beverage and retail business. The cost to buy food, drink and merchandise are separate fees apart from campground passes.

The Tixr platform also allows customers the option to purchase credentials for the rally through an automated layaway solution with interest-free payments. There’s also a new loyalty rewards program for those consumers influencing friends to purchase campground passes.

In South Dakota, the Tixr system is largely a mobile user experience for rally goers, tied to QR code technology. Customers can store passes in Apple wallet, whether it’s for an RV space, passes for concert admission or portable toilet rentals, Bradley said. There’s also the option of printing out credentials for those who prefer the old-school method.

“It works well on a mobile phone as well as it does on a computer,” he said. “It’s almost like when you pick a seat at an arena; you can now pick a campsite and add on all the extras you need for that part of the entertainment experience.”

Woodruff has been in search of a ticketing provider for a few years. The Chip’s old credentialing system was designed by a high school student more than 20 years ago. Campground officials kept improving it over the years, but at some point, it was no longer compliant with Internet requirements, Woodruff said.

MAP IT: Tixr’s technology simplifies the process for reserving campsites for the Sturgis rally. (Courtesy vendor)

Bradley attended the 2022 rally through a mutual acquaintance who introduced him to Woodruff. Bradley had his eye on potentially adding the Chip as a client, but wanted to experience the rally to get a taste of what it’s like to be a part of an event that draws hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts every year.

“When I saw what Rod does in allowing people to reserve camping spots, whether it’s RVs or tents or cabin rentals, and all the admission passes they do for live entertainment overnight, all these extras people can get to furnish their experience — there’s so much going on that need a fluid system,” he said. “It’s very complicated from a tech standpoint, so it was our job to show Rod and his team how our system get make it simple, take all this stuff and offer it in a seamless way.”

Woodruff said he spoke with other ticketing vendors as well before ultimately selecting Tixr as the right solution.

“Our motto is ‘ride free, take risks,’ but we didn’t feel like we were taking a big risk with these guys, because they gave us such a sense of confidence in their abilities and commitment to quality,” he said.