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Still about beating ticket touts…

December 7, 2016

For those who tried to get “Adele” tickets and found themselves chasing pavements instead, the usual reasons given in the press were that automated systems were sucking up the tickets before anyone else had a chance – by entering payment details faster than a human could. Further, agreements between venues and “secondary ticketing” websites meant that vast blocks were never on sale at “normal” prices anyway.

Now, last Thursday, something interesting happened. It was Theatremonkey.com’s 16th birthday – and thank you to the literally hundreds of readers who tweeted, emailed and posted on www.theatreboard.co.uk their good wishes, you’ve NO idea how much that meant – anyway again…

I also got an email telling me that (after the late, great, Paul Daniels, may he rest in peace always) my favourite magicians Penn and Teller would be in the UK next year. I’ve always promised myself to go see them, and since Las Vegas is out of the question for the time being, the UK seemed a far better bet.

Better still, if willing to use AXA ticketing, a priority bunch of seats were on sale. True, you couldn’t choose your own, and the fees were £2 more than the usual site, but even so… I went for it, and have a wonderful seat, £30 cheaper than just 2 rows in front. Delighted and can’t wait for my Miser’s Dream (I hope. If it doesn’t happen, watch out at the stage door is all I’m saying).

Point is, though, AXA have found a way to beat the automated system so far as entering personal details as fast as a machine can… while in the “waiting room” to buy tickets, you can ENTER ALL YOUR CARD DETAILS so that when you do get on to buy, just like the computers, it’s all there and you don’t have to do anything more once your seats have been allocated.

It speeds up booking too, as the site isn’t waiting for hundreds of people to fumble with the forms as well as selecting the tickets and dealing with the line, and the whole thing works. I was impressed (even if the total booking fees were, frankly, pretty high and imaginative – “facility fee,” anyone?). So, that’s that bit sorted. Next thing is to eliminate the usability of tickets to start with, making it pointless for a tout to buy them in the first place.

My latest suggestion: ask those customers who are interested to pre-register for an event, and upload photos of those who will be using the tickets. At checkout, once logged into your account (details entered), the user must select the photos of those attending – and the photos will be printed out on the tickets AND digitally entered into the database so that on arrival ushers can check faces and compare them with the online photo brought up on the entry device too, if there’s a question.

There’s no way to re-sell a ticket with a photo on it, nor alter the photo if it is going to be compared, and it’s another weapon, I think. Also, if I’m paying £7 for the service privilege, a personalised souvenir ticket is at least way of getting something for it, isn’t it!

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