As a company we have had the privilege to work with some amazing organisations. From festivals and theatre, to dance to tourism, the projects we have have been involved with – and perhaps more importantly the people behind them – have been outstanding. Even so, we haven’t before had the opportunity to work on an event of national and historical significance.
This past March we got our chance.
This Easter, Ireland marked 100 years of one of the most impactful events in Irish history – The Easter Rising 1916. The Rising brought history and culture to life right across Ireland with events, exhibitions and ceremonies from the local, to the county, and to the national and even international level.
While many of the events and exhibitions began in January and will continue right through the year, much of the focus of the events was on Easter Monday – the actual day of the Rising.
Ticketsolve had the privilege of providing all the online sales and capacity for The Rising’s Easter Monday events. With sell outs for every event, across 85 venues, this was one of the biggest events we have been involved with. With events happening across Dublin and across multiple venues. We provided online capabilities not just to Irish audiences, but to audiences who travelled from the US, UK, and 40 other countries to be part of the festivities.
The event pulled in multiple stakeholders including RTE,An Garda Síochána, Culture Ireland, Defence Forces, Department of Defence, Department of Education & Skills, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice and Equality, and The Department of Children and Youth Affairs. This was a true team effort in every sense of the word.
To Charge or Not to Charge?
For such a large scale event – and one of such significance – there was early discussion on whether or not to charge for events. Using our aggregate data, we were able to show that free events are typically poorly attended. Even for such an important event like The Rising stakeholders were worried about a lack of attendance. While only a nominal fee of €5 per ticket was suggested, the unique nature of the events and the cultural significance, meant that all events would remain free to attend.
Significantly, organisers insisted that all ticketed events would be booked online only. While this may seem risky, it was received positively by attendees. Interestingly, 1 in 3 tickets were booked through smart phones.
Free Tickets and High Demand: Managing the Onsale
As might be expected the coordination and planning for the onsale for an event of this scale was crucial. The importance of The Rising plus the fact that all tickets were free, meant demand was expected to be high. RTE averaged 450k daily impressions through the events being promoted all media channels.
This was going to be a huge, in demand event. In order to ensure a smooth ticket buying experience, all information was fed to the Ticketsolve engineering and operations team internally to ensure we had provisioned enough capacity for the expected large demand.
Ticketsolve’s ability to scale and manage large high demand onsales, meant that when 32% of the entire inventory was booked on the first day – there were no issues.
Delighted Audiences and a Seamless Experience
The day of the event saw over 300 staff and volunteers deliver a seamless experience to thousands of audience members across Dublin.
Audience feedback was absolute: they applauded the ease with which they could book tickets, and were delighted with entire Rising experience. RTE also noted an increase in website hits from ticket buyers.
We are very proud to have had a small part in The Rising, and look forward to a year long celebration of 1916.