KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – Feb. 27, 2019 – This week 20 years ago, EventBooking became the first web-based venue management software company.
EventBooking was founded 1999 by John Platillero, a successful promoter at the time who saw the need for an online way for venues to book and manage events. His vision was a simple but powerful one—to create a tool for venue professionals to access, manage, and share event information from anywhere in real time. Not a novel concept today, but it was for the late 1990s. In those days, no one was using 100% web-based software—or “cloud based” as we know it today.
As a result, the fledgling EventBooking team served not only as developers and entrepreneurs, but also as educators—informing the live events industry of the benefits of accessing software online, rather than the traditional way of hosting it on local, high-maintenance servers. The marketplace was still accustomed to expensive installations and dedicated IT, whose primary job was to upkeep locally hosted programs. Or worse still, venues operated “by the book”—managing avails, holds, and other event details with paper and pencil.
Early adopters of EventBooking software include Thompson Boling Arena (Knoxville, TN), Verizon Arena (Little Rock, AR), CAJUNDOME (Lafayette, LA), Dolby Theatre (Hollywood, CA), and Staples Center (Los Angeles, CA).
Pam DeVille, Director of the CAJUNDOME & Convention Center and a long-time client, commented, “It boggles my mind to think that 20+ years ago we actually used a spiral notebook with calendar page inserts to keep up with dates and holds in our venue. Then came this energetic engineer from Knoxville, TN with a ‘booking’ program that not only changed the way we booked our facility, it actually created a paradigm shift in the business.”
EventBooking not only survived the “dot com” burst of the early 2000s but steadily grew, attracting venue networks such as SMG, AEG, and Spectra.
Today, EventBooking serves over 1,000 arenas, convention centers, and performing arts centers across 23 countries—including the new LA Stadium (Los Angeles, US), O2 Arena (London, UK), Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre (Christchurch, New Zealand), Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre (Shanghai, China), Dubai Arena (Dubai, UA Emirates) and Fox Theatre (Atlanta, US).
Brad Mayne, President and CEO of IAVM, became aware of EventBooking soon after its inception. He commented, “Ever since I met John and heard about EventBooking, it’s been a pleasure to watch it grow and impact this industry for the good. We trusted his instincts and it’s paid off—making our members’ jobs more efficient while raising their success to a higher level.”
Kim Bedier, Director of Tacoma Venues & Events, shared a similar sentiment: “It’s been a 15-year run for me opening EventBooking nearly every day. I’ve enjoyed seeing the milestones they’ve reached over the years, especially this one.”
The president of EventBooking, Steve Mackenzie, attributes the company’s recent growth and market expansion to their latest product, VenueOps, which launched in April 2017. Today’s technology, such as computers and mobile phones, hardly resemble their former 1999 models, and VenueOps is no different. It differs from the original iterations of EventBooking software in many ways, which yet again called for a bit of industry education, as Steve explains:
“From 1999 until the ‘teen’ years of the 2000s, our company rose to success and industry recognition through our legacy product, EventBooking Classic. This previous product was known as a ‘great calendar tool for arenas.’ So in 2017 when non-arena venues interacted with our newer platform, VenueOps, it took some time to change the perception of the tool we were offering. VenueOps is vastly different from our previous platform. It’s a truly multi-departmental, enterprise tool for the largest and most complex venues—including convention centers, exposition halls, performing arts centers—and yes, even arenas and stadiums.”
However, some things about EventBooking have never changed, according to Founder and CEO John Platillero:
“First and foremost, we are a service company. Our original intent has always been to improve and simplify the day-to-day lives of event professionals. We serve people first, and we just happen to make great software. I’m so incredibly grateful to everyone who has trusted EventBooking, even from the beginning, to serve them. Our promise is to continue to uphold that standard of care and appreciation through our software, and the service that supports it.”
The launch of EventBooking in 1999, at what was then called the Concert Industry Consortium (CIC) produced by Pollstar
CEO John Platillero presents new features of the software at an IAVM conference in the early 2000’s.
(From Left to Right) John Platillero, Virginia Attaway, and Rob Scott attend to one of the first EventBooking booths at a tradeshow.
Photos of the first iteration of EventBooking software is featured on the cover page of Pollstar in 1999.
Founder & CEO John Platillero is featured in an “Executive Interview” for Pollstar Magazine
This article from 2002 explains different ways the internet can benefit venues
An evolution of the EventBooking booth throughout the years.
A screenshot of the EventBooking homepage from 2001.
“Wireless Solutions” via palm pilots
EventBooking is a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that specializes in online booking and venue management for arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and performing arts centers. EventBooking takes pride in their clients, who oversee the many moving parts that make a concert, conference, or sporting event possible. EventBooking retains a 99% customer satisfaction rating, based on regular polls of their client base.