Will Passbook Change The Way We Buy Event Tickets?

The newly released iOS6 marks the launch of a new service called Passbook, a bold move by Apple to change the event industry for good. Will it work?

iOS6 has just been released for the rest of us. After months of anticipations and excitement, significant new features appeared for what is the most popular phone of all times, the iPhone.

Maps, Siri and Facebook integration aside, Passbook is the most significant announcement for the event industry.

Here is what you need to know, why should you care and what you need to do to integrate your event with Passbook.

What Is It?

Passbook is an iPhone application that aims to cut paper out of the event ticketing equation. You can use it for your flight boarding pass, gift cart or event ticket.

The last bit being the one we are interested in.

The way it works is also quite exceptional. Despite early reports of upset users (usually fixes are quick), Passbook alerts you when you are in proximity of the venue of your event, showing your ticket as a notification.

That also happens when the time of your event approaches.

Merchants will just scan a barcode and voila, you’re in.

Who Is Involved?

Lots of vendors have joined the Passbook bandwagon. United Airlines, Starbucks, Fandango, Sheraton and Target are only a few of the big brands who clicked ‘like’ on this new app.

In the ticketing industry, Ticketmaster and Stubhub are the most prominent ticket brokers who joined.

In the registration space Accesso and TicketBiscuit seems to be the only ones supporting Passbook (use comments if your system does or will shortly support it).

Reportedly Eventbrite (disclosure, Eventbrite sponsors this blog) will be launching integration soon.

What’s The Value of This Business?

iOS may not be the most popular platform for mobiles with 19.9% market share but surely having 400 million (as of last June) credit cards on file would mean something.

Apple users have quite some spending power. Paid apps usually appear first on iOS as, well, users buy them.

Such penetration combined with spending power increase the opportunities for ticket sellers.

Is All That Glitters Gold?

Yes Apple has significant numbers and unprecedented successful rate in launching popular products and software.

However, there are a few things you need to consider before embracing Passbook as ‘the future’:

– Passbook is a big blow to NFC. Apple does not follow trends and they decided not to integrate with NFC. NFC has quite low penetration (“only 2% of U.S. and Western European NFC-ready smartphone users will buy goods with such devices in all of 2012”), but brands like Google and Vodafone are backing it up.

– Not all Apple ideas are created equal. Remember Ping?

– Event Merchants need to have a barcode scanning device. That may take a bit of time to become the norm.

Said that ticketing systems may introduce cheap scanning facilities (possibly in form of an app) soon and that would instantly become a no brainer for most of us.

In fact Passbook would just become an easy to implement, environmentally friendly ticketing option.

In Conclusion

Watch this space as Passbook may change the way we experience events. Only time and adoption will tell us if this app will be a hit.

Using a compatible ticketing system could be a wise piece of advice but make sure you are organized to manage guest check ins with Passbook.

Ahhh, exciting times ahead.



Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of EventManagerBlog.com, he is an international speaker and author of The Good Event Registration Guide and Event App Bible.
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