Etix CEO Travis Janovich (center) with (from left) Nick Zafiropoulos, Kevin Brosseau and Katie Mullins. (All photos courtesy Etix)

At Etix’s annual conference, ticketer and clients share intel on the market

RALEIGH, N.C. — Hurricane Dorian’s arrival on the North Carolina coast didn’t dampen the enthusiasm in Raleigh as Etix opened its Etix Blast! annual conference Sept. 5.

Sure, the Hopscotch Music Festival, originally scheduled to have opening-night headliners Sleater Kinney and Kurt Vile just outside the conference hotel on City Plaza, had to move indoors to The Ritz a few miles away, but inside the ideas were flying as hard as the afternoon raindrops

Etix, a ticketing and technology company based in nearby Morrisville, boasts a diverse group of clients — venues and events that were represented included music clubs, fairs and festivals, historic theaters and performing arts centers — and the two days of panels reflected the multiple viewpoints.

The 150 to 200 clients and prospective clients heard from speakers on topics ranging from technology to marketing and improving security to fighting ticket fraud, which was addressed in back-to-back sessions Friday.

The conference’s opening session, “Etix: Past, Present and Future,” allowed the company’s CEO, Travis Janovich to offer his view of the company and the industry plus a few laugh lines through an unrehearsed lightning-round-style Q&A that Etix senior product manager Chris Battaglino jokingly called “Travis Says the Darndest Things.” Some excerpts:

Six years of Etix Blast! is significant because …
We’re still here (laughter). No … it’s very significant to all of us just because of having you here, seeing the client base grow, seeing the product grow. It’s very exciting to share this time with you and talk about Etix and learn about you guys, so it’s significant in many ways, but like I said the most is because in this crazy market and this crazy business we’re all still growing and thriving, so, thrilled to be here. 

Consolidation in the ticketing industry means …
This is a tough one. I think overall I believe it’s a good thing. Many of you guys are here from companies that we (might) have acquired or products we’ve acquired. I think for the client it means a bigger suite of products, a bigger platform, hopefully a better experience, more technology, more support. On our side of it, it’s a great opportunity to acquire smaller companies and gain some great employees and great resources. So we look at it as a positive on both sides.

Etix’s growth and acquisition strategy is …
We just want to buy everything. If any of you guys have something for sale, let us know. We’re here all day (laughter). No, we’re trying to buy and acquire companies that have (similar) technologies. We have a really strong one-platform strategy … So for us, it’s about finding quality companies that either have their own niches, and we’re able to grow that, or companies that have a great regional base that we could come in and hopefully add some technology to our platform and continue to grow their client base.

The average Etix client’s tenure is about 11 years because …
The auto-renew in their contracts (laughter). No, truly, this is what I’m most proud of, actually. Early on, I always used to say that anyone can sell a ticket and write a check, and I really believe the difference with Etix is the incredible staff we have, all of you guys. It’s amazing to me, I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and it’s amazing that our average tenure at Etix is probably 15 (or) 16 years for our employees. 

The next big leap in ticketing technology is …
I don’t know if there’s a leap coming. Obviously, the continued user experience, the focus on that. Obviously mobile, other delivery methods. I think going more and more to mobile-only ticketing is a big push in the business. As you know, we’re completely mobile-first. Everything we develop starts with development on a mobile device. 

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