You can either fight Facebook, or you can embrace it. And Wellington-based Dash Tickets has opted for the latter, becoming the first New Zealand ticketing company to launch Facebook integration for all its customers.
“The importance of social media to our end-users is something we are very aware of,” says chief executive Nick Schembri.
“Increasingly, people are arranging their social lives and communicating what they are doing via social media. By offering integration, our customers only have to remember one logon and are just one click away from their ticket purchase.”
Privacy was a key concern, with the company forced to clear various levels of permissions with Facebook to prove they weren't doing anything untoward with customers' personal and financial information.
"We've got 55,000 members, so having to get them to link their accounts together was a little bit of a task as well."
Dash Tickets offers customised end-to-end solutions to promoters, and now allows them to create a Facebook event at the same time as they lodge it on the Dash website.
"When they come on our website and set up ticketing, it auto-creates a Facebook event and and invites everybody in their group," he explains.
Buyers can purchase tickets and register using either their Dash identity, or now, their Facebook login.
“It’s all about making it easier, simpler and less time-consuming.”
Will others follow suit? Schembri thinks they should, but whether they will is another matter entirely.
"Some of our competitors are still on DOS."
And he says the ticketing industry as a whole is not generally very proactive.
"We've got the two big guys, Ticketek and Ticketmaster, who have been there for awhile now, since back in the 70s really, and they haven't really come out with any innovations. And then people like us who are are actually coming out and giving customers tangible extras, not just buying your ticket and giving them the money but marketing your events to your network of people."
Dash Tickets was first born when Schembri and co-founder Christopher Smith were running orientation events at Victoria University.
"From there we quit uni and sort of turned a hobby into a business within a couple of months."
Last year it was named best startup (under the name Dazzle Tickets) at the Telecommunications Industry Group's inaugural Launch Pad awards, and won $70,000 of products and services.
Since then Dash has gone nationwide and is in all the main cities as well as smaller regional centres, and is is now in the process of expanding into Australia.
In the last financial year it sold more than 100,000 tickets and now has six staff, the majority of whom are, perhaps unsurprisingly, web developers.
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