Business Development is a big word in the startup industry. Well, they’re actually two words, and they’re both big.
But what does it actually mean? And why is it so important to a company like Tiqets? To find out, we sat down with Matthijs Muijser, head of Business Development at Tiqets, to chat APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), affiliates, and everything in-between.
Let’s start with the basics – how would you describe Business Development, in complete layman’s terms?
I always tell people that it’s about selling tickets via channels that are not the normal B2C routes. I divide it in two ways, one would be the affiliate business. We work with many affiliates to add links directing users to our site, where they can buy tickets through our checkout.
The other way is using API integrations with bigger companies. We have a flexible API that allows us to retrieve content and even handle in-house bookings.
And what are the benefits of that?
There’s a much bigger margin. At the moment, we rely on adverts for a lot of orders, which can be quite costly. With this method, we’re simply giving the partner a commission. This enables us to retain the customer, which creates added value for us. We have lots of widgets that partners can use to sell tickets or show availability, so it benefits both sides.
What is the main advantage for affiliates?
Well, for example, we work with lots of bloggers who feature content about certain locations – say Barcelona. This is an easy way for them to make money, by offering tickets for the Sagrada Familia alongside their content and getting a commission.
So it’s more of a scientific process in working out who are the best people to target?
Yes, but it can be quite hit-and-miss. We have some affiliates who get 2,000,000 visitors and you think “wow, this is going to huge!” but then that affiliate still underperforms compared to our expectations. Then we have websites that are getting 20,000 hits, and they’re among our highest-value affiliates. So that’s the nice and frustrating thing about approaching affiliates. I talk to many people in the affiliate business and they all say the same: you really need some luck.
How do you work to decrease that risk?
Well, that’s what our approach is all about. We only formed the team in April 2017 and we’ve tailored the whole BizDev approach to minimize chance and wastage. But we’re still learning of course, and in the end, you never really know. You just have to keep on pushing, and you’ll invariably come across the big winners.
So there’s quite a lot of interpersonal management involved?
Yes, exactly. We’re a small team and there are a lot of ‘sleeping’ affiliates that we want to wake up. Often it’s just a case of saying “hey, it would be better if you placed this widget there”. But there can be thousands of reasons, which is one of the reasons we’re expanding our team. It’s important to show partners that we’re involved, that we don’t just sign the contract and say “bye”, but that we’re here to help them.
Could you tell me about your team? Who does what?
Right now we have five members. Anna looks after all the Spanish-speaking affiliates, plus a lot of English-speaking partners. Then there’s Desiree, we always call her the Back Office Queen, making sure everything is optimized for affiliates while working with Dutch and English clients. Wilmar handles German and English, as well as focusing on networks of potential affiliates. Then there’s Rieg, who handles all our French partners.
And obviously, there’s me. I’m leading the team and making sure everyone is doing everything they can to increase growth, but I’m also responsible for bigger partners and for maintaining relationships with them.
What does an ordinary BizDev day look like?
We always start the day with a ‘stand up’, where we discuss the day before and to come. We then break off and contact our respective partners, following up previous communications. We use special software helps track everything that we need to do and where we are with certain partners – and naturally, we have meetings all day!
As the company grows bigger, is scalability a concern? Is that just a case of expanding the team?
When we add new products and venues it’s actually good for the BizDev team because we get more leads from those. We just added the Louvre Abu Dhabi to Tiqets, so that’s beneficial for affiliates who are selling tickets in the UAE and further afield.
What are your aims for 2018? What are the targets you’d like to achieve?
We have to double our performance from 2017, that’s our main target! We’re working on a few interesting projects, and t’s always a race against time. If the API takes longer than expected, then we have to wait longer before we see the results from partners.
And the biggest challenges facing you and your team?
It’s always time or the lack of it. Especially for a company at this stage – everything needs to go really fast. But that goes for every team: supply need to connect with new venues, tech needs to finish a lot of great stuff, it all takes time. We have competitors that are doing amazing things, but they’ve been doing it a lot longer than we have. It’s our job to surpass them and to convince affiliates that we have a better product.
And in closing, what is it that makes Tiqets different?
Well like I said, it’s all about quality. We have really really high standards across the board and it shows in our product.
Want to join the Tiqets Business Development team? Check out our current job openings!
Halloween is here, and millions of people are busy preparing their scariest/most revealing costumes for a night of devilish debauchery. But… why? Why do kids ‘trick-or-treat’? But why do we carve pumpkins? Why do apparently rational adults choose to dress up as sexy crayons?
When you think about it, our Halloween traditions are all pretty weird, and its origins are even weirder. This family-friendly extravaganza is its own Frankenstein’s monster – cobbled together from ancient Gaelic festivals and Native American death rites, with a healthy dose of colonialism thrown in for good measure. So, before you leave the land of the living, get to know the real origins of this most frightful of holidays
Halloween, the Early Years
The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the Gaelic Samhain festival, which took place in Ireland and Scotland over 2000 years ago. The original Pagans believed that when the seasons changed, the boundaries between the living world and the afterlife became looser, and rogue spirits would temporarily roam the earth.
The Pagans were a superstitious bunch, and would ‘hide in plain sight’ by disguising themselves as the undead. Likewise, they would leave food on their doorsteps to appease any frightful ne’er do wells who may be passing by – the origins of today’s Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating.
Samhain continued in various forms as Christianity began to spread across the world, ‘borrowing’ many Pagan traditions as it went. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III made it official, and established the first All Saints’ Day on the 1st of November. This celebration of all things saintly was also known as ‘All Hallows Day’, making the day before ‘All Hallows Eve’.
A Church-Sanctioned Pagan Festival
Convenient as this may seem, this was likely a political move, intended to replace these ancient Celtic rites with a more respectable Church-sanctioned holiday. As we know, the Christian church is anything if not persistent, and All Hallows Eve was here to stay. With the ‘discovery’/brutal colonization of the Americas, European holidays meshed with Native America’s undead-oriented traditions, and Halloween as we know it began to take shape.
It was still a celebration of the changing seasons, but the Pagans and Native Americans alike associated this period with fortune-telling, usually in relation to life’s two great pillars – death and marriage. The link to death should be fairly self-explanatory, but divination of all kinds has always focused on fertility and partnership. This was before Tinder, after all.
Naturally, the opportunity to wear masks and liaise with mischievous spirits meant that the holiday became associated with malicious pranks and widespread vandalism. There were various attempts throughout the 19th century to strip away the more grotesque elements, but it was only with the 1950s baby boom that celebrations shifted into the classroom and became more family-friendly. Trick-or-treating was now officially endorsed as a means of keeping kids out of trouble. Weirdly, this state-sanctioned begging can be traced back to the medieval practice of ‘souling’, when masked ‘soulers’ would go door-to-door begging rich families for ‘soulcakes’ in exchange for prayers. Basically the same thing as, “give me candy or I’ll put a brick through your window,” right?
Often, they would carry a lamp made from a candle inside a hollowed-out turnip – supposedly representing a soul trapped in purgatory. As All Hallows Eve shifted to America, people began to use pumpkins as they were more plentiful in the States, and much easier to carve. And, just like that, the iconic orange jack o’lantern was born.
Sex, Death, and Diabetes
So there we have it, Halloween is the bastard child of sacred Pagan rituals and the meddling of the Catholic Church, filtered through the American tradition of sheltering children from anything remotely rebellious.Still, whether it’s healthier for a child to indulge in some harmless mischief or dress up as a ‘sexy’ Donald Trump is yet to be determined…
So how will you be celebrating Samhain? Let us know on Twitter!
The history of Sevenoaks Asylum is long and sordid, besmirched by several high profile scandals and inexplicable tragedies. What started as an attempt to cure society’s ills soon descended into a festival of brutality and sadism, with zero successful rehabilitations recorded.