Photo Credit: David Smith
Performing Arts, Fringe Festivals
Brighton, England, UK
Brighton Fringe is an open-access arts festival held annually in Brighton and Hove, England. Dating back to 1967, it became an independent, registered charity in 2006. It is the largest annual arts festival in England and one of the largest fringe festivals in the world. In 2018 there were more than 4,500 performances and events across 4 weeks.
Red61 is an Edinburgh based ticketing software, services and consultancy business. Red61 have delivered preeminent performance with the Ticketing System and its Ticketing Services in some of the most testing and complex arts environments in the world. In working with their clients, they have developed a configurable software solution that allows clients to control - and change - their visitor experience. Working in a spirit of constant innovation, Red61's audience engagement software and solutions now benefit major cultural venues and arts festivals worldwide. With every client, Red61 works collaboratively to eliminate traditional box office challenges and to figure out what technological improvements can be made to improve the visitor experience. With a wide-range of audience management and ticketing expertise on their team, Red61 specialises in working with clients to build creative and flexible solutions that improve existing businesses or are the strong foundation on which to build new ones.
With a bold vision to be "an internationally acclaimed open-access arts festival and year-round professional resource, that stimulates, educates and develops audiences and artistic communities", Brighton Fringe was looking for a way that would help all of their stakeholders connect in an intuitive and easy way to elevate the user journeys for the various audiences they serve year-round.
Brighton is a uniquely complex festival that uses four companies to deliver an advanced and customised digital experience - two digital agencies, as well as a registration system and the Red61 ticketing system. They were looking for a clear, simple way to help their stakeholders by streamlining the different tools and systems at their disposal to create a better overall user journey.
How to accomplish this? Readying Brighton Fringe's website for their festival in May each year is a critically important step in the success of the festival and so this is where they started - by focusing on significantly improving the website experience from a user perspective, including the look and feel of the site.
Alongside the website, Brighton launched a mobile app in 2017 - their first experience in app development - to offer customers another option for purchasing event tickets. The app provides audiences with everything they need to know, when they want to know and gives festival-goers the ability to quickly find out about events while they're onsite during the festival itself. The mobile app was always meant to be an on-ground communication tool, not just to communicate one-way with the audience.
While the app has made the ticketing experience more accessible since the launch, Brighton was looking for better integration with the other tools and systems they had in place to best serve their audiences and stakeholders.
Ultimately, Brighton Fringe was laser focused on getting their community to interact using integrated systems that work together to make that connection as easy as possible.
A flexible, powerful and fully integrated solution that talks to other data? Enter Red61's API which comes as standard in their client software packages. Red61's API offers the flexibility to integrate with other applications, improving the way venue stakeholders are able to connect with one another. Easy to understand and integrate, the API allows organisations to create amazing website and mobile user journeys with the ability to deliver an enhanced user experience for customers.
Brighton Fringe have been innovating in mobile and web technologies for the past few years, trying to improve the user experience overall and annually review their digital practices to improve their capabilities and introduce new features.
The purpose of launching the mobile app in 2017 was to have a separate tool to the website to provide a new on-ground communication tool. The solution was meant to be a starting point that could be further developed to create another type of powerful user journey based on how it was used during the initial launch.
Brighton changed the way that information was displayed within the website, focusing primarily on providing customers with the quickest way to find what they wanted and get them to where they needed to go. The development process saw them looking at what would be the best ways for their audiences to navigate and/or filter to quickly narrow down the events they are interested in, such as by specific dates, sub-genres, venues, offers, accessibility, content, age restrictions, ticket types and prices. By using the API, all of this information is pulled from various systems and sources and presented seamlessly to the customer to make this information as accessible as possible.
Now, both the Red61 ticketing system and the festival registration system talk to their mobile app and website via the API to filter thousands of events. The API makes it easier for customers to find what is available now. By using the API, it was also easier to configure the ticketing and registration systems, ensuring both systems communicate with each other as well as with the mobile and web platforms. Brighton Fringe was able to easily work together with the various stakeholders to utilise the API to handle this amount of information.
Photo Credit: Justin Hopes
"Voting in the mobile app and on the website is a big part of the festival-goer's experience. The best event and venue are voted for by the audience. Votes are then filtered through the API into the Red61 ticketing system and the data is extracted to tally the votes. The API provides an easy way to collaborate across multiple devices and tools in creative ways."
Marketing Manager, Brighton Fringe
By implementing Red61's API, Brighton Fringe were able to provide their customers with easy access to event information online and on the ground with the mobile app. Customers happily experimented with the features which led both Brighton Fringe and their customers to adopt this enhanced technology. Working with all of their partners and developers allowed them to build bespoke tools to suit their wide range of needs.
With the ability to customise and develop with the API, Brighton Fringe can now better understand what people are looking for. They have the flexibility to continue to develop the right tools and to help communication with different groups. This allows them to extend accessibility to their audience, participants and the venues they work with. By using a flexible ticketing platform, they can look at different types of people and engage with them in different ways.
590,000+ attendees at the annual festival
240,000+ tickets sold annually
140% increase in mobile app downloads
10% increase in unique visitors to the website
32% increase in mobile app sessions
7% increase in audience attendance
21% increase in box office sales
It comes down to flexibility. Brighton Fringe is a complicated festival that requires a flexible and engaging system to benefit their audiences and stakeholders. Brighton Fringe are continuing to build on the momentum they've seen following how the Red61 API can be used to work successfully with their various stakeholders. Brighton Fringe and Red61 will continue to work together in collaborating on flexible tools and offerings to continue to improve the user journey and how information is filtered each year for the festival.
Brighton Fringe is focused on building a community in the festival and with how they communicate to their festival-goers and in the types of user content that can be delivered. They want to evolve in being communicative. They want to make the platforms that they are working on something different - not just a website or a mobile app, but instead a place where people can congregate and connect in more meaningful ways.
Connecting will develop in different ways through working with age brackets, groups of events, and international categories and systems. There is the potential to build other tools with the mobile app with GEO tagging, communications, analytics and user content. Brighton Fringe strives to evolve the mobile app offering as not only a device for selling tickets, but ultimately as a tool for the Fringe community to connect with on the ground and a place where they can distribute information.
For Red61, the commitment continues in providing a flexible ticketing solution with a powerful API that provides organisations and their stakeholders with the ability to continue to innovate and tailor compelling user journeys and experiences with their technology platforms.
For more information about Brighton Fringe visit: www.brightonfringe.org