Legal Challenge on Pricing of Disable Patron and Carer Tickets

The Stage has reported this week about SMG Europe venues standardising their pricing structure for their disabled patrons and carers after a recent legal challenge (read more).

SMG, which operates 10 venues across the UK came under fire recently when a York, Barbican patron claimed the pricing policy at the Barbican was discriminatory.

The patron, Doug Paulley, who is disabled, wanted to purchase tickets for the Bill Bailey show, but was told he would need to purchase an additional full priced ticket for his carer. He was told there was no possibility of a discount.

Paulley began legal proceedings, but SMG has since said that it would be investigating the matter and announced that it would standardise tickets across its venues. They have stated that where disabled patrons require a carer, tickets for a visitor and their carer would be the cost of one full priced ticket.

The Stage spoke to Chris Fry of Unity Law who represented Paulley, he said, “the case establishes a legal precedent in relation to ticket-pricing policies for disabled customers and their carers. By bringing his case, Doug has secured a change of policy, which not only affects this venue, but has a wide-reaching impact on sports and entertainment venues across the UK”.

Following Best Practices
While there is no specific law in place regards patron and carer ticketing, The Society of London Theatres and UK Theatres, suggests “when a disabled person’s access requirements necessitate them being accompanied to the theatre, [best practice is] that the carer go free”.

Regardless of how you address ticketing for disabled patrons and their carers, having a clear policy in place and good staff training is crucial.

Ticketsolve supports any pricing changes or policies you require. You can easily and quickly set up named price category and set the prices as you wish for each show and venue.

What do you think about carer ticket pricing? Do you need help setting up a unique pricing category? Contact us on +353 4100 647.

Valentine’s Day Offer? Set it Up in a Few Easy Steps.

Valentine’s day. Brings up a lot ire, or well, love.

Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s day is often about a night out with the mister or missus.

It is also the perfect opportunity to promote a discount package or membership offer to patrons interested in a unique gift.

Let’s look at setting up a 2 for 1 discount in Ticketsolve. We need to do two basic things: create a new discount and save it. In our Valentine’s Day example, we will name it “Valentine’s Discount 2014”. And set the rules for the Valentine’s discount.

So what do we need to do?

Apply rules to all shows or one show.
Once we have set the rules for offer, we can apply these rules to all shows or a specific show.

Set offer for type of tickets. We can also set the offer on specific types of tickets, for example, adults only. You can also set the discount to a specifically priced ticket using the “at price” rule.

Set the percent off. Our Valentine’s Day offer is essentially 50% off on two tickets. So, you would leave this menu option as ‘with % off’ and then in the following box you would enter 50. You do not need to type in the ‘ % ‘, the system automatically adds this for you.

Group buying limits.
This allows you to set buying limits to the code. For example, you can set the discount to only be available for 50 tickets, so you need to set the discount limit to 50. Use ‘Any number of times’ if the discount code has unlimited usage.

Buy exactly. For our Valentine’s discount, we only want people to be able to buy 2 tickets per order. So, we need to change this drop down to say ‘buy exactly’ and then enter the number 2.

Apply to a specific show. Since, our Valentine’s day offer only applies to one show, we need to set the options as ‘tickets for’ then select the show. If it is for all prices, we need to leave it ‘at any price’. If it is a specific price, then you would repeat the process above as shown in point 5.

Save. To activate the code, we need to leave the option as ‘use promotion code’ and then press save. With our code generated, we can now use the integrated MailChimp option to send an email promoting our offer.

Other ideas. Another idea would be to set up a promotional offer, such as “Buy 2 tickets and get a complimentary glass of champagne on arrival” or “Buy 2 tickets and receive a free long stemmed rose.” Offers such as these, can be set up very easily through Ticketsolve.

Need help setting up your Valentine’s day offer? Call us on +353 14100 647, email us on info@ticketsolve.com or get in touch via zendesk.

Mobile App Update: Event Filtering and Offline Scanning

If you are an avid follower of this blog (and we know you are), you will recall that we launched the new Ticketsolve Mobile App before Christmas. Well we have a made a few changes we wanted to let you know about.

Event filtering
If you are running multiple events from your box office, and want event-specific info going to event-specific staff – you can do that! The filtering allows each event to be run separately, meaning event information goes where you want. The data of course is still centrally located – and again can be separated by event.

Offline Scanning
The Ticketsolve mobile app can turn any mobile device (smart phone, tablet etc.) into a scanner. Using Wifi, you can scan tickets at the gate, and have the date upload directly into your Ticketsolve box office. But as we all know, Wifi can go down. Obviously, this would create a serious issue with hand-held scanners. That is why Ticketsolve’s mobile app has an inbuilt contingency – offline scanning. The app will still scan and collect data locally, which can then be uploaded once the Wifi is back working. Sweet.

Need help with the Ticketsolve mobile app? Call us or drop us a line – +353 1 4100647 or info@ticketsolve.com – or even submit a request to the helpdesk – we love chatting about our new baby . . .

Ugly Tickets

Print at home tickets are ubiquitous. And most people would question the notion of trying to redesign box office tickets when home printing is so prevalent.

But there is something about traditional printed box office tickets. In fact, just yesterday Sports Illustrated posted a breaking story on SI Wire about what this year’s Super Bowl tickets will look like. As we have discussed before, tickets are mementos from an experience or memory we want to keep.

That is why I love Matthew Lew. He looked at tickets (specifically Ticketmaster tickets) and said, “this could be done better.”

Lew was inspired to look at ticket design, after reading about redesigning boarding passes.

What is really wonderful about this kind of thinking is that it is user driven. The redesign is about usability – not just because we want a pretty keepsake.

In the case of box office printed tickets, Lew considered the following:

1. Information. There are two users to consider, the front of house staff and the end customer. Both need to be able to validate tickets and get seating information quickly.

2. The flow. Certain information for your tickets is relevant pre-event and certain at the gate. So what date are these tickets for? What time do doors open? What is the event? And where are my seats?

3. Branding. Space is at a premium on tickets, so how do we include branding without crowding the space?

4. Security. The involves incorporating a security strip (hologram), and bar code.

5. Fit. Traditional tickets are not wallet or pocket friendly.

So what Lew designed is a credit-card sized ticket that trims down the information to basics, while still retaining security and branding. The new designed ticket is vertical with seating information right at the top, followed by hologram strip with branding, event date and price, event details (including promoter), location and barcode with number at the bottom.

rsz_116wnpjrprh1lwng5davj37g

The ticket uses easy to read typography that is left aligned and on a background colour print for added branding.

rsz_1tc5qrj2jzmhcq0jc_pqm-g

Lew also tested the design on thermal printers to ensure it could work – and it does, even in colour. The only question he doesn’t address is dealing with ticket stock and printer options.

rsz_1dysj35yila0dr60zyx99fg

But I like where he is going with this. A practical redesign where usability trumps everything else. This is after all how Ticketsolve got its legs – thinking about how to make selling tickets easier and more user friendly for everyone.

So what do you think of Matthew Lew’s design? Could it work for your venue or theatre?

*Images courtesy of Matthew Lew

UK Ticketsolve Usergroup

So Ticketsolve went on tour recently. You may have been “lucky enough” to catch the crew in the UK where we hosted user days in Wales, London and North West England.

We rolled out the user days in a new format this time, shorter and more informal and with smaller groups.

Overall I think the new format was great in that it was much more personal, and gave everybody a voice during the feedback sessions.

It was also great to sit in on the feedback sessions, so we could answer questions very quickly – I think this worked really well. We were able to address all the issues (bar 1) within a week or so of the user days.

We also got support updates and view into where support is heading. And we had some fantastic bite-sized workshops focused on some specific how-tos, such as reporting on mobile sales, top customers, cross genre bookers, bundle discounts, 3 for 2 discounts, and bulk discounts.


Personally I think the upcoming features presentation was the best one (hint: I gave that presentation).

Looking forward to seeing you all at the next user day events!

Also, if you attended, let us know how you felt the user days went – we love feedback!

If you could not attend, but are interested in the content (especially those very useful workshops), drop us a line at info@ticketsolve.com and we can pass on the presentations and video demos.

Should We Send a Segmented Email?

On our recent webinar on using Mailchimp and Ticketsolve, we had a great question.

One of our customers recently had an upcoming comedy show they wanted to promote through an email. Rather then send the promo email to their entire master list, they sent it to just a segment of the list – those that either had attended a comedy event previously, or had specifically signed up for information about comedy shows. The result was rather “meh”. Less than average click throughs and lower ROI. Her question was – should we really segment at all, especially when it comes to theatre events? Today’s opera goer might be tomorrow’s panto goer. So what gives?

To be honest it depends.

What is Market Segmentation
Segmenting your market involves (basically) splitting your target market up, so that when you sell your products (or shows in our case) you are talking to people who actually want to hear more. If you don’t segment your market, you risk wasting your marketing euros and pounds on people who are just not interested. Segmenting your market should give you more ROI.

Customer Data
In order to segment your market you need to have a lot of customer data to accurately get a picture of their buying patterns. A basic amount of data would include geographical and demographic data, as well as information on buying patterns, add ons and donations. The deeper we can go with our customer data, the better our profile of them, and the better we can target a message just for them.

On the whole, segmenting is considered a must do, to get the most bang for your marketing buck. But it is not as easy as it first appears. To really get segmenting to work for you – it requires a lot of data capture, analysis, and frankly, trial and error.

Importantly, the more information you can gather about your customers the more honed your message can be. Purchase history, abandon shopping carts, power users and inactive users all represent information we can use to create powerful messages. Used wisely, this can help you create a real connection with your customers. Remember of course that we cannot abuse the information we have and we cannot overwhelm our patrons with tons of emails either.

No Segmenting Needed?
But, there might some instances where there is no need to segment the market at all. If you are selling a commodity for example. Or if all your customers use media in the same way and make their purchases in the same way. Are they all worth the same in terms of profitability? Are all your customers sourced from the same pool? If you answered yes to any of these questions you might be able to get away with not segmenting your customer base.

If for example, you are focused on a specific geographical area, or your overall audience size is small, it might make sense not to segment at all. If you did segment and it didn’t work as well as you had hoped, maybe there is a concrete reason why. Timing of your email was off, perhaps the segmented email came directly on the heels of another mass email.

But maybe we can tailor our mass emails, so they better fit each segment.

For example, let’s say we want to send a mass email on our winter productions. We have a mix of music, comedy, kids panto and drama. We can send the same email out, but swap our lead piece depending on the market segment we are emailing. So those on our comedy list get the email with the lead show being comedy, and our family and kids list gets the email with the panto as lead, etc. Ensuring we remove any dupes, will mean we can send a tailored message with annoying our patrons.

Another example would be during an annual giving drive. It makes sense to segment our customers based on who has given before. A message of “we value your continued support” will be more effective than, “support your theatre!”

Again this is really about trial, test and adjust, and see what really works for your market.

So what do you think? How do you segment your market? Or don’t you do it all?