Ryanair to sell concert tickets via web and text

23 Jul 2007

Ryanair has teamed up with an innovative Irish text messaging company to sell tickets for concerts, exhibitions and sporting events via its website to its 53m flying customers, who will receive the tickets in the form of a text message to their phone.

Ticket Text, a Dublin based mobile technology firm headed up by Mark McLaughlin struck an exclusive deal with Ryanair, and the plan is to take advantage of Ryanair’s European city reach to couple events with weekend breaks.

“Tourist attractions, museums, bull fights – it is even cheaper to fly somewhere and see a band than see them at home,” says McLaughlin, who prior to starting up Ticket Text worked in the area of technology sales at Goldman Sachs.

“We would like to be low cost ticket seller in Europe,” said McLaughlin. “Ryanair reduced international boundaries when it comes to travel so there’s no reason why event ticketing should be any different.”

He said that the entire idea for Ticket Text came about after he had a fight with Ticketmaster. “I was trying to buy a ticket for Oasis and because I became disgruntled I felt there had to be a better model for ticketing.”

The model developed by Ticket Text involves trained Ticket Text staff being present at specific events with 2D barcode scanners to scan barcodes as tickets. “We would be planning to strike agreements with the venues and eventually having permanent installations at venues.”

The company has deployed ticketing software from Toronto-based AudienceView whose technology is used by the Football Association, PGA Tour, MGM Mirage in Vegas, Toronto Blue Jays and NEC Birmingham.

The company is chaired by Tim Delaney, former head of marketing at Sony BMG in Europe. Director of operations is Ronan Kitching, who has been heavily involved in venue and ticketing management for the last four Olympic Games and was senior project for the Athens Olympics in 2004 and the Torino Winter Olympics in 2006.

Ticket Text’s music veteran chairman Tim Delaney said the onset of mobile ticketing could have a disruptive effect on the concert and events industry.

“I have seen how technology has disrupted the music industry. We have now reached the tipping point where technology will start to impact the business model of the ticketing industry.

“Ryanair’s participation combined with Ticket Text’s innovative ticketing solution will contribute significantly to this change. Ryanair has significant presence in all of Europe’s key ticketing markets so there is a natural fit to be the leading ticket seller in all these markets with more events on sale to be added every week,” Delaney said.

Among events currently being offered by Ticket Text are Take That in Barcelona and Rod Stewart in Zaragosa. “If you go and buy a Ryanair flight you can now organise car hire and hotels so there’s no reason why you can’t organise entertainment.”

To ensure that customers will use the Ticket Text website for more than just purchasing tickets, the company has incorporated social networking functionality into its ticketing service. “This will encourage increased usage of the website for both the purchase of tickets and other goods and services,” McLaughlin said.

Ryanair’s head of ancillary revenue Santina Doherty said that the objectives of Ticket Text complement the company’s Europe-wide services.

“It has never been cheaper or easier to travel to concerts and other live events around Europe. Ticket Text’s innovative and easy to use service provides an ideal match for passengers who want to combine their trip abroad with concerts, festivals and other live events. This is a fast growing part of our business and we look forward to developing it with the help of Ticket Text,” Doherty said.

By John Kennedy