Ticket to Success
In 2005, San Francisco-based StubHub, a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay that serves as an open online ticket marketplace for the buying and selling of event tickets, had a problem. The rapidly growing company had limited visibility into current data, customers and business drivers, all of which threatened the long-term survival of the business. The root of these problems was an inadequate technology infrastructure.
"We had virtually no information management infrastructure," says Rob Singer, director of customer intelligence and relationship marketing at StubHub. "We didn't have a data warehouse or a centralized reporting mechanism, and we had not identified the core metrics of the company and what the key performance indicators of the company were."
In short, day-to-day business decisions weren't being driven by data and analysis and an understanding of what the levers of the company at the time were, he recalls.
Faced with these challenges, that year StubHub embarked on a campaign to turn the company into more of a data-driven, scientifically oriented entity.
Launched in 2000, StubHub enables customers to buy and sell tickets at fair market value to sporting, concert, theater and other live entertainment events — even those that are sold out.
In 2007, eBay acquired StubHub for about $310 million. The acquisition was designed to enable eBay to expand its presence in the online tickets segment while allowing StubHub to leverage its business with the e-commerce expertise and resources of eBay.
While StubHub has a similar business model to eBay, a big difference is StubHub manages all transactions for both buyers and sellers.
"In effect, we are a managed marketplace, meaning a buyer never communicates with a seller, and vice versa," says Ray Elias, StubHub's co-director of marketing. "You're operating in an environment with the advantages of inventory from multiple sources but also with the peace of mind of dealing with a single, reputable source for the transactions."