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

Which? campaigns to stamp out hidden and unfair ticket fees

If you did not think the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) was out to change the basis of ticketing in the UK, consumer group Which? has launched a campaign to stamp out "hidden and unfair" ticket fees.  Which? has launched an on-line petition which has reached 20,000 in just 24 hours.

Which? says their research shows that "8 out of 10 eventgoers think ticket fees are a rip-off" and "almost half of audiences say that these extra charges have put them off booking tickets online".  Ironically, Which? is challenging the ticketing industry on all the points they are not complying with which are covered by the ASA rulings and the new Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) Code for advertising ticket prices: Ticket Picing (non-broadcast).

It is worth re-stating that "advertising" includes all an organisation's print and web and social media communications, so the presentation of ticket prices on websites is fundamentally covered by the Code.  The Code clearly requires the advertising of inclusive ticket prices (combined face value and booking fees) where the booking fees and related charges are unavoidable through most of the advertised channels.  

S.T.A.R. and a number of the arts and entertainment sector bodies have already been advising their members of the need to comply with the change in advertising practice, though some venues and promoters are still reeling in shock since the separation of the face value of a ticket from the booking fee has become so enshrined in deal-making.

Of course, because of earlier rulings, many promoters and agents have simply stopped advertising ticket prices, leading to purchasers finding out about the actual prices and charges during their on-line transactions. But the new CAP Code is designed to catch these practices, since it requires the inclusive price to be shown the first time the purchaser is advised of the price.  Which? has clearly shown that some ticket agents, including some S.T.A.R. members, are not conforming.

Which? intends to take their campaign to the ticketing industry in the New Year and also has the option of forming a "super-complaint" to the Office of Fair Trading.

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. 

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