Skift Take

If Eventbrite indeed goes public, watch to see whether it continues its spending-fueled period of growth or transitions into a more risk-averse period. The global event market is still booming, but growth can come at a steep cost with a lack of focus on innovation.

Late last week, Eventbrite finally announced its intention to go public. I delved into the company’s S-1 filing to find out more about its future plans and what they reflect about the event technology sector at large.

The company has raised a lot of money and has posted losses in recent years, preferring to acquire its way into new markets rather than grow organically. If all goes as planned, though, the money raised from going public will let Eventbrite pay off its moderate debt and move forward. Questions remain about whether the company’s growth is sustainable as it integrates a variety of global ticketing companies.

The deeper issue is whether the company will be able to improve its event technology tools as time goes on, with the pressure of quarterly financial reporting. Eventbrite’s low customer churn rate shows this is not a pressing issue in the near term.

Eventbrite has built a better mousetrap than its competitors over the last decade, and enterprise event technology companies have taken notice that organizers crave intuitive planning and marketing tools.

In other news, this week we also have a wonderful profile of departing Visit Philadelphia CEO Meryl Levitz, looking at the lessons learned from 40 years of promoting a destination, along with an excerpt from Skift’s recent book on long-lasting travel brands focused on the continued success of the South by Southwest festival.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out to me via email at [email protected] or tweet me @sheivach.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor

The Future of Events and Meetings

Eventbrite’s Planned IPO Reveals Tension in Global Event Marketplace: Taken as a whole, Eventbrite’s IPO filing shows the company has been spending to scale its ticketing platform globally and tee up a strong offering for investors. It will be interesting to see if the company can continue its explosive growth when scrutinized as a public company.

Retiring Visit Philadelphia CEO Reflects on 4 Decades on Tourism’s Front Lines: Levitz uses her weaknesses as strengths and has remained a humble leader, despite the outsize impact she has had on Philadelphia’s booming tourism industry during the past four decades. Every destination can learn something from her leadership.

South by Southwest’s Formula for How to Keep Them Coming Back to Austin: Is it tough to keep it cool and relevant? You bet. But the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, has found some secrets to packing ’em in every year. SXSW is one of the subjects in Skift’s recent sixth anniversary book, For the Long Haul, Lessons on Business Longevity, whose chapters we have been excerpting.

Around the Industry

Early Stumbles for Marriott and Starwood Loyalty Merger: The union of Marriott and Starwood’s loyalty programs last week could have gone far worse based on previous mergers. But it also could have gone better.

Hotels Missing Out on Federal Security Protections: Many hotels, including some in Las Vegas, already have systems to monitor guests for security threats, especially after the MGM Resorts massacre. They could probably do more to get certified for federal protections.

How Streamlining Hotel Technology Will Help Business Travelers: Instead of selling their platform to hotels, Conichi is now relying on corporate partners to help push through its technology instead. This can only be good news for business travelers as more efficient check-in processes and simpler expensing move into the mainstream.


Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [[email protected]] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Photo credit: Co-founder and chairman Kevin Hartz and co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz at Eventbrite headquarters in San Francisco. The company plans to go public soon, and has experienced strong growth in recent years despite posting losses. Stefan Wieland / Eventbrite

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