Online ticket sales is big business.

Australian online ticket platforms generated $289M in commission revenue in 2017 (IBISWorld). The majority of this revenue was reinvested into new functionality of online platforms to better serve eventgoers. Improving analytics capability and analysis of customer behavior is critical to successfully marketing and selling event tickets.

Melbourne-based startup O-tix recognised this 4 years ago, and has since developed event ticketing, registration, and lead-generation technology designed for consumer exhibitions, trade shows and conferences.

Managing Director Stewart Buchanan explains, “I want to revolutionise the way organisers and exhibitors derive ROI from their events to create a more competitive events industry.”

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Stewart understands that different events need to measure ROI in different ways. Some measure revenue compared to cost, while other events consider sales leads a return on investment. Various factors can be recorded and analysed using O-tix due to a unique data capture proposition.

“Our target market is consumer exhibition organisers, ideally with high-value visitors and low-level of onsite purchasing—a wedding expo, for example—as well as smaller trade shows and conferences,” Stewart says.

The O-tix platform allows visitors to register themselves online or onsite at the event through the app. They can then simply scan their tickets and badges around the event to enter competitions or register their interest in follow-up communications. For instance, if an attendee wishes to book a consultation with a makeup artist, they would simply scan their badge at the exhibit, storing their details immediately and saving the hassle of putting pen to paper.

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TicketBooth’s industry survey of over 100,000 event attendees Australia-wide revealed that 69% want event specific apps that provide all relevant information.

O-tix’s offering includes event apps, event ticketing, event data capture, and event e-commerce marketplaces. It can deliver real-time and at-show messaging via SMS and email. Leads can be added directly to an organiser or exhibitor’s Customer Relationship Management system.

This innovative approach to data capture within the events industry was triggered by Stewart's work for a leading international event organiser. He noticed the gap in the market. “I left and started my own research consultancy and built our first data capture application—a basic iPad app that would allow people to enter competitions and the like at events. This was the genesis of O-tix.”

From there, Stewart took the big-data, cloud-based software as a service and event ticketing concept and developed a plan to build O-tix. He successfully applied for and won a Commercialisation Australia grant and raised investment capital to build the platform.

O-tix moved into Melbourne Innovation Centre Northcote in December 2017. MIC delivers its business incubation program, business events, and coworking across its three diverse facilities. O-tix’s involvement at MIC allows the business to be nimble and lean during this phase of business. “MIC allows us to rent a small space but offers plenty of room to grow. The location is super convenient, and completely surrounded by interesting shops and restaurants with a really cool vibe.”

Today, O-tix is a robust and effective platform with a fast-growing list of customers and growing revenue base.

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The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia discovered in 2015 that the top 30 audited exhibitions averaged 10,506 unique visitors per exhibition. This shows that the opportunity for data capture is both significant and lucrative.

“Once we have our business model and feature set complete,” Stewart says, “the plan is to grow O-tix Australia and raise capital again to attack the US market.”