By now everyone has seen Adele’s announcement on her need to postpone her highly anticipated Vegas residency. In her tears-laden video, she talks earnestly and openly about the numerous factors that led her, and her team, to make the gut-wrenching decision to push the dates back, the pandemic being a significant factor.
This scenario isn’t unique to concerts or Adele, however. The pandemic has time and again led live event productions scrambling to reschedule, causing a ripple among their fans and ticket holders to change plans at short notice. This notably happened when several cast members of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” on Broadway tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the show producers to cancel as some patrons were taking their seats. Our own venue and Performing Arts customers have felt this crunch across Europe and the Nordics.
These days, “The show must go on” is only true if PCR tests are negative and the (always evolving) gathering rules allow it. So, how can event producers, venues and ticket holders alike work together for the best outcomes in these situations and get back on track as restrictions lift and dates and seats need to be reconfigured?
To understand the true complexity of this situation, you must understand how customer service, ticketing software and communications protocols factor into these changes. A few ways we’ve helped our own venue and event producers through the pandemic is by quickly implementing a social distancing feature into our ticketing management dashboard to adapt their venue seating plans in one click, as well as enable bulk refunding and communication tools, or by giving the ticket holders themselves the chance to pick new dates through self-service.
Refocusing on Donors and Season Ticket Holders
One key way venues across the world have adapted to the pandemic, especially as restrictions are reduced and events go live again, was to focus attention on their repeat customers– donors and season ticket holders. We can look to recent changes at the arena level to see how major multi-event venues, particularly in sports, changed their approach. As new variants started to spread across North America and it became clear we weren’t out of the woods yet, organizations like MLSE, which is the parent company of teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors in Ontario Canada began prioritizing season ticket holders first, as capacity at any venue with over 1,000 seats in Canada was reduced 50%. Non-season ticket holders were refunded and season ticket holder attendance was selected at random. It takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to make this successful, especially if your ticketing and communications software lacks the capabilities to manage this digitally and with as little friction as possible.
What to do when you must postpone or cancel your live event?
In some cases, ticket holders are given a deadline to decide whether to retain their ticket or roll it over to a future event, as happened with some of comedian Hannah Gadsby’s tour dates recently, first due to the pandemic and then an unfortunate slip on Iceland’s notorious winter ice (Hope you're feeling better, Hannah!). In other cases, when postponing is not an option, a full refund can be issued immediately upon cancellation. But what happens behind the box office doors to make these difficult decisions have the best possible outcomes, retaining the customer and donor relationship and mitigating extra steps?
Bulk Refunds for canceled events
It’s really this simple. Circumstances beyond your control means you must cancel the event. Weather disruptions, performers are sick or injured, tours have been rerouted. There are a number of reasons that can impact the show going on. Everyone is devastated, but you have to make the cancellation process quick, easy and as stress-free as possible.
Tixly enables ticketing managers to issue bulk refunds, in on one step. Select the event, and/or the ticket holders from the list, click. Refund.
Ticket holder communications
CRM features within Tixly make communicating with ticket holders easy when plans need to change, either because of Covid or any other reason. Events brands, organizers and venues can quickly launch new email and online communication campaigns and segment communications per customer group, so that the correct information gets to the correct ticket holder.
Patron Self-Service Ticketing
Putting patrons in control gives them the freedom to choose the options that are best for them, while freeing up organizers and venues to focus on all of the logistics details that a cancellation of event postponement creates.
Ticketing self-service, to us, is the future of ticketing. We’ve built patron self-service into our ticketing software and CRM. Whether they are requesting a refund or making sure tickets are rolled over to a date of their choice in the future, self-service puts the power pack in the patron and donor’s hands.
Alongside self-serve seat changing, ticket forwarding and refund solutions, Tixly is packed full of easy-to-use features that ticketing managers and customers alike love, wrapped in a simple and beautifully designed interface.
Two years into the pandemic and with so many false starts, postponements and cancellations, one of the primary focuses of 2022 for venue operators is making sure their repeat customers, season ticket holders and Performing Arts donors.
Now more than ever, it’s important to have the ticketing tools needed to quickly and efficiently adapt to live event logistics, delivered in a cloud-based software solution that makes the entire end-to-end ticketing experience enjoyable, cost-effective and prepares your venue and organisation for the future of live events.
Hrefna Sif Jónsdóttir