Digital ticketing in high schools is growing at a record pace


The technology that allows consumers to purchase tickets to sports and other events online is not breaking news. For years, consumers have easily purchased their tickets to movies, concerts, and major sporting events online through companies like Fandango, Ticketmaster, and StubHub (to name a few). Yet one segment that continued to lag behind was at the secondary school level – largely because the platforms in the market were not affordable and were not designed to meet the needs of students. ‘high school.

High school gymnasiums and auditoriums across the country have operated largely the old-fashioned way with an in-person, cash-only system at the door. That started to change in 2016 when Ohio-based HomeTown Ticketing launched a digital ticketing pilot project for a school district in Columbus. The development of this ticketing system ultimately led to digital ticketing events for more than 20 schools in the Columbus area.

Over the next two years, with input and feedback from athletic directors and superintendents, HomeTown designed a platform, tailor-made for high schools, that added value and quickly gained traction throughout. the country.

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, it accelerated the need for schools to find solutions to monitor and limit capacity in many states and to eliminate the exchange of paper to comply with national regulations and local.

Leveraging HomeTown’s cost-effective digital ticketing platform, which does not force its customers to pay an upfront fee, and its reliable customer support has proven to be an extremely valuable solution that has completely increased capacity to thousands. of high school administrators to communicate with students, families and fans for the purposes of recording cancellations, refunds and other game day action. It also allowed schools to access funds in real time, thus providing a safer and more efficient event.

“Digital ticketing began to take hold across the country towards the end of 2018,” said Lorien Parry Luehrs, President and COO at HomeTown Ticketing, Inc. Dads Who Want More Buying Options practice.

Luehrs, who has over 15 years of experience in sports marketing, event management and the development of strategic business opportunities between companies and educational sports and leadership institutions, manages the day-to-day operations, strategy of national marketing and team development for Hometown.

“On the business side, Hometown is partnering with companies like HUDL, the leading track and field video platform, and BNN sportswear. Our association partnerships, on the other hand, include governing bodies from Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Texas, and Oregon.

Now serving more than 12,000 schools across the country and growing, HomeTown Ticketing is the leading digital ticketing platform for high schools in the country.

A natural evolution of digital ticketing

Over the past two years, HomeTown Ticketing has seen massive growth, especially in the high school sports space, in part due to parental demand for convenient options and the growing confidence of high school administrators in the value from the platform – even after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past decade, consumer confidence in online shopping has also increased massively. Today, buying almost anything at the push of a button is no longer considered a privilege, but a right.

Live sporting events have evolved rapidly, eliminating the physical paper ticket and instead shifting entirely to digital ticketing.

For high schools across the country, digital ticketing has become the new normal, despite being one of the last categories to move to a more modernized system.

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

For fans who rarely carry cash and are digitally equipped with platforms like Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay, implementing a digital ticketing service makes all the difference.

For event planners, traditional ticketing platforms left room for accounting errors and the high risk of misplaced or stolen funds with cash on hand, until they could be deposited manually by the administrator. school, according to Luehrs.

“With our ticketing platform, not only can fans purchase and manage all of their tickets at the push of a button, but funds are available in real time for the school to view and automatically deposit into the school’s account. ‘school at the time of purchase, “she said.

“For fans, this is easy access and options, and that’s what HomeTown Ticketing offers: the ability for every school, regardless of size, to offer their fans options for buy tickets from anywhere at any time, understanding that each fan has different preferences. “

A catalyst for high school sports

Today, the way parents and students communicate with their schools has evolved. Daily communication is now digital, from emails to text messages. Even traditional textbooks are being replaced by Chromebooks in many school districts across the country.

“The way students access homework; how parents access their child’s grades; the way school meals and books are purchased, and even the way school announcements are received – it’s all digital, ”Luehrs explained.

For schools themselves, Luehrs believes the pandemic has been a bigger catalyst for change, as administrators needed more efficient ways to handle events safely. “Once they started using our platform, they began to see that our service was beneficial to them, including saving staff time and money on accounting and cash management, as well. than on advanced ticket sales and 24 hour customer support. “

A communication plan

One of the biggest complaints from early administrators was the complexity and lack of support for digital ticketing systems in the market. Many found them difficult to navigate and even less friendly on the customer support side.

The HomeTown Ticketing platform has taken feedback and developed and integrated tools that make communication with event planners and attendees all the more simplistic. They also placed emphasis on building a competent customer support team to respond to customer inquiries.

“When fans buy their tickets online, their tickets are immediately emailed to them. This initial email includes personalized details about the event, including a map of the venue location, parking information, gate times, and of course any real-time changes to the event. -same.

In 2021, HomeTown launched its new Fan App to make direct ticketing a reality and manage events even more easily. Using the app allows fans to buy and redeem tickets directly from their smartphones while allowing schools to send real-time updates via email, SMS and push notifications, so that anyone logged into the system can immediately see match day and other information. .

“To better manage capacity, our platform offers a seating map of the stadium, gym or auditorium itself, so fans know exactly where they will be seated at a given event,” said underlined Luehrs. “Fans can select their specific seats, while schools can manage capacity by restricting seats that can be purchased. “

How it works

Luehrs gave Innovation and Tech Today a quick tutorial on how the app works, depending on whether you’re accessing the platform as a school or as a fan.

For fans, after downloading the app, they just search and save their favorite schools from a list. Then buy event tickets or season passes and redeem them on the event site.

“When you make a purchase, all of your tickets are saved in one place. All you have to do is tap the event in the doorway app, which displays a QR code to scan for door entry. For fans who may not wish to use the app, tickets can still be purchased through a link on the school’s website to print them out and bring them to the event.

For schools that sell tickets, they have immediate access to real-time ticket data and revenue generated from ticket purchases within 24 hours. “HomeTown never touches a school’s funds. The platform’s built-in filtered reporting tools make it easy to track sales and revenue by event, location or school so all your accounts and records are organized.

In order to make the system affordable for schools of all sizes, HomeTown implemented a fee per ticket model rather than charging the school an upfront fee. By levying a fee on tickets sold, it allows schools of all sizes to use the platform and not be responsible for costs even if events are canceled or are not well attended.

“We chose this model because we believe that every school should be able to use digital ticketing – not just large schools with larger sources of income,” Luehrs said. “That’s why there is no upfront or annual cost. It’s just based on the number of tickets sold for the events and it’s been incredibly well received.

Final result

There is no doubt that our digital frontier continues to adapt to all industries, giving businesses and innovators more ways to develop one-stop-shop models to better serve their customers.

The ability of digital ticketing platforms to provide flexibility, convenience and security to event planners, partners and attendees promotes platforms such as HomeTown Ticketing, which ultimately found a way to deliver value and of convenience to high schools and their fans across the country. .


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