Your Tour Management Software May Need a Boost
Tour management software is fantastic in many ways and you don’t need to be on StubHub’s list of the most in-demand acts to take advantage of it. Popular products offer a personalized directory with real-time collaboration, itinerary planning, basic accounting, guest list management, and a searchable venue database. While all of these are necessary to create great concerts, they are missing several key items that make live music management more streamlined, efficient and profitable.
Pulling off a live music event starts with bookings. Tour management software doesn’t offer a way to place holds and book shows directly from your calendar. This is important because so much of what talent buyers, tour agents, and venue managers/owners do is related to filling up the calendar with great shows. If you are a tour manager, you can get more from your calendar by using one that allows you to see every hold and booked show for months out. Venue owners and talent buyers can use purposely-built live music management software to manage holds for all of your rooms and shows on one calendar.
Live music management software offers several other features to round out tour management software, including an offer generation capability, detailed financial reports to track revenue and expenses in real time, team and stakeholder collaboration, and internal and external show settlement.
Let’s break those features down a bit.
Your calendar is about more than keeping everyone in sync or listing out a to-do list for each day. Yes, you need your team to know what’s coming up and what their schedules, but for venue owners, having an interactive calendar that enables you to add multiple dates and holds to a show, pull and share avails with talent agents or promoters, and automatically generate appropriate hold levels across multiple dates turns a basic calendar into a powerful tool. Tour managers and agents need to see where they have holds and what’s already booked, making sure everything lines up on the tour calendar for a seamless travel schedule.
As a venue owner or manager, how much time do you spend building offers? Eventbrite surveyed nearly 50 live music venues and found that the average venue employee spends up to four hours every day on booking and ticketing alone. You may have a template, which definitely makes things a bit easier, but offers are highly customized to the show. You’re still likely taking plenty of time out of your day to tweak those templates to fit precise requirements. With live music management software, however, you can create and send your own branded offers in seconds. The software still leverages templates, but they are flexible to allow you to set up different templates based on the deal and room type.
Now, you can select the template that matches your deals and with a few clicks, send to the agent or talent. Even better, as you build your offer, you can see real-time calculations that help you understand if it will be profitable and what you have to offer simply to break even. By being able to compare scenarios, you will be better equipped to build offers that ensure you turn a profit on more deals. No more guessing or agreeing to terms that provide no benefit to your business. With this kind of visibility, you can run your business smarter.
These kinds of financials are important for everyone involved in the live music business. For talent and tour managers, you want to know what you need to make to break even and turn a profit as well. By being able to conduct what-if scenarios, you will reduce your risk for agreeing to terms that are disadvantageous to you and your team.
Revenue and Expense Tracking
Tour management software may offer a basic financial overview, but managing your venue or your tour is anything but basic. You need to know more than how your tour is doing in that moment. You need to be able to forecast by using software that automatically collects historical and real-time data to analyze your current and future financial status. And when your financials are directly integrated with your ticketing platform, you can see what happens to your financials as soon as someone purchases a ticket.
Think about that for a second. Instead of waiting for the ticketing company to generate and send you a report, typically once or twice a week, you can see sales as they happen so you can be more proactive in how you manage your business. This financial data provides foresight, giving you a glimpse into how well (or not) the show is attracting buyers. Use this information to adjust your marketing strategy, ticket pricing tiers, and future talent booking and shows.
The software also enables you to send invoices and track expenses as they occur instead of after settlement. Again, this improves your ability to make adjustments to your budgets and spending habits before issues can derail your ability to turn a profit.
Most shows end in the wee hours of the night, not exactly when you are running at full steam. You’re tired and so is your team. Tour management software has nothing in it to help with settlements, but live music management software does. Whether you are the talent, an agent or a venue manager, the faster you can get through the settlement part of the night, the faster you can get paid and relax.
The software enables venue managers to generate their own branded settlement sheet with a single click to immediately settle with the agent, artist or tour manager. It doesn’t get any easier or faster than that. But the software goes a step further and allows you to calculate accurate tax payments and other variable expenses just as quickly so you pay exactly what you owe and nothing more or less. Your books are instantly updated to include any adjustments and the payout method per show, per artist, per settlement.
The key to all of this and the reason why live music professionals need more than tour management software is real-time data visualization. It’s one thing to see show performance status. It’s quite another to be able to generate interactive reports that go deeper, revealing every show’s profit and loss so you can make more informed decisions going forward.
By consolidating all of the financial data in one place, you save time by not having to track numbers in different systems and manually input data. Everything is automated, revealing true net, marketing ROI, additional revenue streams, taxes owed and paid, sales trends, shows’ profitability, and even employee productivity. No more digging through spreadsheets, either. Your financial information is displayed on an interactive dashboard and in shareable reports.
All of this data is power. Power to be more responsive and agile to changes in the industry and your local scene. Power to make profit projections in the context of other variables, such as marketing spend, ticket sales and offers. You’ll know how to balance and prioritize your spending based on your expected income instead of blindly signing checks and contracts that only dig a hole for yearly revenue. Yes, this is power to run your business profitably, taking care of your employees and your clients without sacrificing the long-term success of your business.