An event ticketing platform adds a microinsurance product to deliver clients and consumers a better ticket-buying experience
Photo: Paul Rivard
PAUL RIVARD LAUNCHED his event ticketing solutions business 15 years ago with the goal of providing support for promoters and venues looking for both a reliable sales channel and comprehensive customer service.
Success came quickly for TicketWindow, in those early days, primarily because there wasn’t much in the way of competition. In fact, Rivard says—perhaps only half-jokingly—he didn’t even have to work that hard, as customers were constantly knocking on his door.
As times changed, however, Rivard found himself having to move fast to stay at the forefront of ticketing solutions technology. Local and regional clients, such as Airshow London, the Palace Theatre and the Oxford Renaissance Festival, have helped build a business that today stretches across Canada.
“The event itself begins when you buy the ticket, and we want to make it a great experience for the consumer from the start” —Paul Rivard
However, it was the move towards licensing its software solutions to festivals, venues and touring bands that has made the past several years particularly exciting.
“We have gone one step further at TicketWindow, providing customer service and marketing support on top of it all,” Rivard says. “We are a full-service ticketing company. We can honestly say we can do all these things.
“If we looked at that classic McDonald’s sign, it would say one billion tickets sold. I don’t think we’ve met that yet, but we could certainly say it has been a couple million tickets sold over the past 15 years for sure.”
Today, TicketWindow supports more than 1,500 promoters and in excess of 1,000 venues.
Rivard explains that expanding into the licensing side of the business, and not just being a front-end ticketing agency, has opened a lot of doors for the company.
It isn’t a do-it-yourself ticketing solution, he says, but is instead a professional box office service that has supported just about any show someone can think of.
“In the beginning, we stuck with, and still believe in, family-friendly, community-friendly business. That is a real strength,” Rivard says. “Even in 2008, when times were tough, our business increased because we were providing a reasonable product. People still went out to shows. They weren’t spending money on big houses and renovation, they were going out to enjoy good, modest entertainment that was good for the whole family.”
Like most companies trying to keep pace with technological changes, Rivard says TicketWindow puts a lot of resources into development and new product offerings. Most recently, TicketWindow has added a ticket insurance option called FanShield. The service, acquired and administered through a licensing agreement with California-based TicketGuardian, is an insurance rider, providing ticket purchasers with peace of mind and protecting their investment for a small upcharge.
Made available to TicketWindow clients and its licensees, FanShield allows consumers to obtain refunds for event tickets they bought but cannot use. Should something happen to prevent buyers from attending, they will be able to recoup their ticket costs.
“The event itself begins when you buy the ticket, and we want to make it a great experience for the consumer from the start,” says Rivard, commenting on the FanShield option. “The promoter doesn’t have to sweat it because they still receive their funds. It’s like flight insurance, and you wouldn’t fly almost anywhere anymore without getting that. Having that financial piece of mind is very important.” Sean Meyer