Why is it important to have a digital presence?
“After the COVID crisis, I think it became clear that every type of business has to have an online element. When you are in the events business, you have a limited amount of people that you can fit into the venue, right? So, if you are doing an event and you can add this hybrid (physical + digital) element to it, you can have another layer where you can connect to the whole world.”
What are some good examples of hybrid, real life, and digital event experiences?
“What I think is beginning and is really cool is that instead of selling tickets, events are selling NFTs as the tickets. Then for example you create a group and say, ‘If you have this NFT, you will be able to access a certain channel reserved only for the people who participated’.
And then you can build more incentives, give some discounts. It can become very interesting for offline venues to be able to start tapping into this potential of staying in touch and building a platform for their fans and community to stay active on.
The other element is how do you organise the people who are visiting your venue. I think NFTs can be combined to create new forms of loyalty and a sense of belonging to something. It's not just a loyalty card, it can be also visually interesting, and I think that's an element that will become ever more important for the industry.”
If I want to start using NFTs with my venue/event… what do I do?
“There are several platforms where you can mint NFTs. I would look into the best option to fit my use case. For example, will people need to have a cryptocurrency in their wallets to buy it, or can they just buy it with a credit card?
But I think the way to start is just to simply do an event and do the NFT as a ticket. Then make sure you create a user flow whereby people register with their email, then they come to Discord or some other app where you can stay in touch with them. I think that's a good start.”
What's the biggest misconception you hear when talking about NFTs?
“Lots of people think this is just a jpeg. But the technology is a contract that is unique, and you can do anything. I think it's a really cool way to disintermediate how the internet works now. Because some central organisations have all the information of what you do, and if you make it on the blockchain, it's transparent.
With a participation NFT, if I have an event I always know who has come to this event because I know there is a wallet that has these NFTs. Otherwise, either Facebook or Eventbrite or whoever else will have this information. I think that makes it more accessible.
Yes it can be used in very negative ways, for Ponzi schemes and whatever, but technology I think is very good and it's very good for fundraising as well. For example, you buy this NFT because I'm fundraising the renovation of this place, then you will always have a 20% discount in the future if you check-in with that.”
Where do you see the metaverse in 5 years?
“I think it's pretty clear this is going to be big. Right now, we access websites in a two-dimensional way. And so, now, we're going more and more in the ways that we can access information in a three-dimensional way and in a multiplayer way. This has a lot of advantages for how we see the engagement.
If you look at the gaming industry, the gaming industry is bigger than the music industry and the film industry together. And that's goes under the table because people don't realise this.
I think there's a lot to be learned from that industry. There are multiple ways you can gamify the experience of your venue, and I think right now we have very preliminary technologies that don't make it so easy for venues to use.
You can create some interactive things in the venue, but I feel like we are still very early in virtual reality. I'm pretty sure over the next 3-4 years we going to have this popularisation of augmented reality. And then, I think it will become really essential for the brands to have an augmented reality aspect.
You could come to the venue, you can put information on the wall. Whoever can activate whatever, it's in there. So, you can have this digital and physical world functioning in the same ways, in the same channel.”
Sounds amazing – but how should we prepare?
“It's always good, I mean, if you can always take a part of your yearly budget to run some experiments to see what works.
“Let's say you can create a 3D model of your venue, and let's say somebody wants to hire a venue as per an event. They don't need to come to your venue, you just say, ‘Come to our website. Log into this. You can walk with your avatar inside of the venue, sit down and figure it out.’ That could be really, really cool for groups that want to book you. And then, you could use the same thing to do some sort of events.
I think also, activate a channel where you can retain the people that visit your venue, to know who they are, what they're engaged in, and partaking in. We are able to leverage this. I think that can be very powerful.”
It's our shout at the real-life bar, what are you drinking?
"It depends. I would either go for some fancy cocktails – something like a Whiskey Sour, or cider or white wine ;)"