The live entertainment industry is changing… here are our 2020 predictions

We share our predictions for the live entertainment industry in 2020.

Here at Booking Protect, we work with clients across the live entertainment sector, from theatre to sports. We like to keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to key industry trends. Take a look at our 2020 predictions and make sure you keep ahead of the curve… 

Entertainment industry

VR will give us access to 24/7 entertainment

Cinema screenings already provide digital access to live events we can’t attend in person. But what if you could “attend” a gig or theatre show simply by putting on a VR headset? As technology evolves, so will its place in the live entertainment industry. Most of the big events of the year happen in city centres, are prohibitively expensive and notoriously difficult to get tickets for. Could it be possible for people to pay to stream gigs or festival sets and enjoy it from the comfort of their own sofa in 2020? 

Experience will be on everyone’s mind

Customers will expect more than a clunky service. They’ll expect a seamless process, from purchasing their ticket right through to taking their seat. Event organisers and venues must ensure customer experience is at the forefront of every business decision. Some venues allow customers to order food and drinks via an app, ready for delivery to their seats or collection during the interval. And, of course, customers will want flexible ticketing options. They want to be able to dive straight in and buy a ticket for an event they’re interested in, knowing they can give backword if they can’t make it.

Upselling the experience

Live entertainment venues will look for new ways to increase revenue. This will include selling tickets to backstage areas, offering gourmet food options, VIP experiences, meet-and-greets and after show Q&As. This not only allows venues to put a few extra pounds on the price tag, it gives customers a more unusual and unique experience.

Live music

Smaller events will thrive

Huge music events aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, as Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour has demonstrated. But as well as these mammoth gigs, we expect live music fans will explore smaller venues and take a chance on up-and-coming artists. Events showcasing a range of local and unsigned talent will rise, giving people chance to explore new music and discover new sounds. Event promoters and programmers will be hunting for great new talent, too, due to the rising cost of more establish artists.

Social media isn’t going anywhere

Musicians, event promoters and venues will need to invest in social media, using boosted posts to reach potential audiences. We also anticipate a rise in the use of TikTok – a video platform that will give musicians chance to show off their fun side and reach a younger audience. Video is the most engaging form of content, and platforms such as YouTube will continue to be the best way for artists to showcase their music.

Sporting events

Mindfulness will be on everyone’s mind

Research shows exercise is good for mental health. So, with people becoming more aware of the importance of wellbeing, we expect the number of people exercising will increase. And people feel more motivated and less likely to give up when they exercise as a group. Step forward sporting events…

Endurance challenges such as Tough Mudder can be a mental challenge as well as a physical one. With people keen to grow personally and take on new challenges, we expect the motivator for taking part in sporting events will shift to a stronger focus on wellbeing in addition to getting fit.

Participation will grow and change

Those signing up to endurance events will no longer be just fitness enthusiasts. People looking for a fun way to bond with family and friends, or those looking for a motivator to get fit or raise money for charity will be getting involved. We’ve talked before about the increasing value of experience – and the endurance industry will be no different. Consumers are looking for unique, shared experiences and this will spark a much wider interest in endurance events.


Immersive theatre will increase customer experience

In immersive theatre, audiences become part of the action in some way. This provides a completely unique experience and makes the audience feel much less passive. Theatres will start to include immersive elements to make the most of their shows, such as pre-show audience participation or theming throughout the venue. 

Theatrical influencers will become more prominent

Theatre-goers are getting tired of celebrities taking leading roles in shows, with seemingly little merit within the industry. Theatre stars are becoming industry influencers in their own right, meaning their name and accolades will start to draw in audiences. Established performers will use social media and press relationships to grow their influence, and casting directors will start to notice those who engage with fans and use their audience to help market a show. And, with influencers, comes influence. Soon enough we predict these theatre stars will have a real impact on the wider entertainment industry.

Flexible seating will be on the wish list

If it’s possible, theatres will prioritise flexible seating. This allows the venue to be reconfigured depending on the specific show. It also allows the venue to be used for a multitude of other reasons. Venues can be hired out for community uses such as fairs or conferences, or rehearsal space. This gives theatres chance to connect with a wider range of users and also increases revenue. 


Last minute buyers

Event professionals estimate up to a half of all ticket sales are sold in the final month sprint before an event. Organisers must push their marketing efforts in the last month to help encourage last-minute sales – and they shouldn’t be disheartened if event sales don’t take off straight away.

With last minute buyers, comes people who change their plans last minute too. This is leading to an increasing number of no-shows, which can have a devastating impact on atmosphere for a live performance. Venues are increasingly offering flexible ticketing options to include refund protection and cancellation cover to try and increase revenue.

Paperless tickets will rise

Customers prefer mobile tickets for a number of reasons – it allows flexibility, personalisation and generally it’s just a lot easier than having to remember to print and bring a physical ticket to an event. In the future we may even see face recognition software taking over the ticketing industry. Customers would then simply need to walk through a sensor to be recognised as a ticketholder.

What are your 2020 predictions?

We’d love to know what you’ve got planned for next year! Get in touch with us on LinkedIn or contact us and let us know your predictions for the live entertainment industry.



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