The Ticketing Institute

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Welcome to The Ticketing Institute

Launched in 2010, the Ticketing Institute is here to help you take up the new opportunites for ticketing, marketing and CRM, digital marketing and social media integration, here to help you to work smarter, and here to help you drive more audience development = more people, new people, attending more, enjoying the arts more, more often. We are helping more and more organisations with their ticketing system tender processes, including local authorities. The Functionality Builder now has over 500 criteria created by user organisations across Europe, the US and Canada.

The Ticketing Institute is Roger Tomlinson's website as a resource for the cultural sector, so people working in arts and entertainment organisations, museums and galleries, can share experience and knowledge around customer facing practices and technologies, to drive audience development and more effective marketing.

Sharing encompasses marketing, ticketing, customer relationship management (CRM), memberships, loyalty schemes, websites, on-line sales and e-commerce, e-marketing, Facebook integration and social media networking. Working with the right tools (at the right cost) has never been more important.

Look inside for details on selecting and procuring systems and digital technologies as well as advice on how to get the most out of them. Since this is intended to be a professional community, we ask you to sign in for in-depth access, and we'll notify you of content updates on a regular basis. Since we believe in Data Protection, your data will not be shared with anyone.

The Ticketing Institute includes a powerful application: the Functionality Builder, created to share the benefit of detailed "functionality specifications" for users wanting to procure new systems. This is behind a paywall since it is part of the Roger Tomlinson Limited service.

Latest News

Friday 13th bad day for ticket sales practices?

They have been coming for some time, but Friday 13th June saw arriving into law the European Union Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013.  Europe-wide these fundamentally ban hidden fees and charges - no more drip pricing - and pre-ticked check-boxes on websites.  Perhaps the more surprising one for some ticket offices will be the ban on premium rate numbers and lines which pay part of the call cost back to the seller - consumers must now be able to call directly on local rate phone lines where they only pay the basic rate.

There have been a steady series of consumer protection measures to deal with the multiple ways customers are charged or additionally opted-in without their obvious consent.  The UK Government hurriedly introduced regulations banning specifically named card charges for paying by debit and credit card in April 2013, if these charges were for more than the actual cost of processing.  Now the legilsative push is for no hidden charges, so customers can see the full price they will pay before they start the purchase process.  

Inclusive pricing is starting to be a practice adopted internationally - StubHub and Live Nation have done so in the US - and @WhichCampaigns in the UK are continuing their action against agencies like Ticketmaster and See for charging excessively and having multiple charges including for 'Print-at-Home'.  

This also means practices must change for options such as adding ticket insurance to transactions - no more pre-ticked boxes - and Round-Up donations must be an Opt-In.  UK venues which had already changed their presentation of web donations at the end of ticketing transactions had in fact seen some increase in consent and the value of donations after providing explanataory information.

Some ticket re-sellers may find themselves caught by the detail: Retailers will be required to provide certain prescribed information to a consumer before the consumer can be bound. Such information will include in particular: (i) the main characteristics of the goods; (ii) the identity of the trader; (iii) the total price of the goods/services (inclusive of taxes); and (iv) all additional delivery charges and any other costs. This seems potentially likely to inhibit some secondary market practices.

It is also less clear how some of the new requirements for extended "cooling off" periods and for refunds will apply to ticket purchases made on-line.  But one thing is clear: Consumer Protection regulations are steadily impacting on ticketing, joining action in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority in a drive to inclusive pricing and the removal of excessive charges around ticket purchases.

Featured Opinion

Advertising ticket prices the right way

What price that ticket?  Are we making sure we are advertising ticket prices to comply with UK law and codes of advertising practice?

The Theatrical Management Association has issued new guidance to its members in the UK on the advertising of ticket prices.  Essentially, ticket prices when advertised must be inclusive of the booking fees and service charges imposed on the purchase.  Advertising as defined by the Advertising Standards Authority extends to a venue or producer’s own print and posters, websites, social media and other distributed information and not just paid-for advertising. 

The TMA has acted after the Ambassadors Theatre Group, the Old Vic, and Cheltenham Everyman Theatre was approached by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) following on public complaints about imposed booking fees which cannot be avoided.  There is considerable argument about what is the right way to present this, but Jonathan Brown of S.T.A.R. confirms "If you advertise a ticket price, you have to be able to buy it for that price, somewhere".  The CAP and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have published detailed guidance and interpretations in relation to ticket prices and purchase Terms and Conditions which have largely been ignored by many venues since December 2001.  These codes of practice supplement the law and the ASA rulings are intended to be a new benchmark across the ticketing sector.

Debbie Richards of Baker Richards points out that this will require detailed presentational changes for venues that have chosen 'per transaction' fees and charge different fees for different channels, but it will still be possible to comply if the information is given whenever prices are quoted.

This is fairly simple: you cannot advertise something using a price to attract attention and then for consumers not to be able to buy it for that price.  The arts and entertainment industry needs a fair and healthy relationship with its customers, especially in a time of cuts to funding.  Many venues, especially presenting theatres and concert halls, are introducing or increasing booking fees, which in a recession may itself upset some customers.  Advertising the new “prices” in the right way is essential.  There is an irony here: according to the OFT, consumers prefer inclusive prices, so advertising inclusive prices is likely to be viewed by ticket purchasers as a benefit. 

I value the arts! - ivaluethearts.org.uk
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