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Final public booking day on the old website: Tuesday 10 April

Please bear with us in the period leading up to relaunch.

By Ellen West (Head of Online Content)

9 April 2012 at 11.29am | 18 Comments

In a couple of recent blog posts our Chief Technology Officer Rob Greig has written about the work we've been doing on a new Royal Opera House website.

We have been planning and developing a new site for the last couple of years and are fully aware of the problems some customers experience when they book online.

Our apologies if you have been affected by recent bumpy booking days. Our next public booking day is Tuesday 10 April and some customers may still experience hiccups. Our current website is struggling to cope with the intense demand for tickets and each major booking day places it under increased strain.

The good news is that we are nearing the launch of the new website and if all goes well this will be the last big booking day before we switch over to a new system: our plan is to eliminate the need for a waiting room altogether. We cannot promise that the process will be entirely smooth, but we are all working extremely hard to deliver an improved online booking system. Please bear with us as we enter the final stage.

By Ellen West (Head of Online Content)

9 April 2012 at 11.29am

This article has been categorised Uncategorised and tagged booking, digital, online, website

This article has 18 comments

  1. John Feast responded on 6 April 2012 at 10:25am Reply

    Although on the face of it doing away with a waiting room is beneficial at least the current system allows an orderly queue at peak times. Even then it is possible for seats to have been taken by someone else between selecting them and adding them to the basket. This makes it difficult to ensure multiple tickets are for adjoining seats.
    What will happen when (from what you say) everyone will be trying to book tickets at the same time? Sounds like a recipe for chaos to me.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 6 April 2012 at 7:47pm

      Hi John, no system is perfect, but we feel that the elimination of the waiting room will make a big difference to most people buying tickets. We will, of course, review how people respond to the changes once they are introduced. Best, Ellen

  2. Janssens Freek responded on 9 April 2012 at 2:58pm Reply

    When will the new ROH site become online? Is there already any date in mind? Looking forward to it!

    Janssens Freek
    Belgium

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 April 2012 at 4:44pm

      Hi Janssens, we are in the final stages of testing and will be launching in the near future. We can't share a date with you yet, but we're very much looking forward to presenting the new website. Ellen

  3. My problem (besides website crashes, obviously) was not the waiting room, but that I never got any useful answer from the booking office in those situations. Fine to say you're sorry, but I don't write emails for that, I ask for a solution!

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 April 2012 at 4:54pm

      The Box Office team do their very best to help answer customers' questions, but they have also had to cope with the current booking system. We hope that when the new site arrives you will find it a big improvement.

  4. Anna responded on 10 April 2012 at 8:00am Reply

    Please say we will still be able to choose a specific seat - not just seating areas - with the new system.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 April 2012 at 4:54pm

      You will indeed be able to pick a specific seat.

  5. matteo Gallanti responded on 10 April 2012 at 10:42am Reply

    the booking sistem of the ROH is just bad. Why you can easily book on the websites of the MET, the Opera in Paris and Milan??
    Now people cant even log in.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 April 2012 at 4:55pm

      Our apologies, we are aware of how frustrating the current system is and are working to deliver a new one soon.

  6. Operavore responded on 10 April 2012 at 5:37pm Reply

    So farewell, and good riddance the old system. 10 April - today. As stressful as ever. Tried to log on at 1000. After (only) one crash, much frustration, including the need to be away from the screen for a time, and a longer spell than ever in the waiting room, got my tickets at 1824. The worst in the House probably, but all that was left. Roll on, or should that be out, the new!

  7. Hariclea responded on 10 April 2012 at 7:22pm Reply

    Let's be realistic here in comparisons. Let us not forget thet Met has 4000 seats not 2,200 and it is more expensive for the rest of the world to go to NY then for Europeans and others to come to London more often for example. with 4000 seats the Met never sells out on booking day, so it is much easier to handle when you effectively have double the amount of seats on offer.

    Milan is not a sales model i would ever want anywhere close to the ROH - most of there tickets go to third party agencies who sells them at huge premiums, the cheap tickets are mostly available only by queueing in person on the day and there are virtually no price bands, don't set the Scala as any example until you have purchased a 100+Euro ticket in a box and your view is the upper right hand corner of the stage and unless somebody is dangling from the ceiling this means zero view of any production. Also the internet sales at Scala carry huge transaction fees which on a top price ticket can be 25 euros a ticket!!!! No thanks to the Scala system!

    Paris until recently at least did not let you choose your seat , just the range and it could mean row 4 or row 20 something which is not the same thing. Also there is no returns policy whatsoever. Box office and online sales also started on different dates, which meant on internet sales you were at a disadvantage to locals who could walk up to box office. At Garnier there is also no good information on visibility from seat. It's not as bad as Scala but not ideal, mitigated at Bastille due to size of place , but try getting tickets for Garnier, where it van easily sell out on subscriptions for shows on demand and then again you find yourself with tickets sold to third parties and sold to you at significant premiums. Scala by the way also charges more for weekend performances, as if the singers would sing any differently. Paris also charges extra for first nights if I remember well.

    Whatever we think about the current system, it is in spite of difficulties one of the fairest, as tickets are always reserved for wider public, access is the same for everyone, performances are priced the same. visibility is clearly explained and there is more variety of price. And these are features I would be very keen to find in the new system as well. I hope the day seats will be maintained? It was nice to be able to rely on these if you wanted to see something again or weren't able to book on booking days. I also like the fact that tickets are resold on the website so again you may get another chance.Once done with the waiting room i actually found the screens with the actual booking and view of the house very good, you know where it was, could see view from seat (more of those please :-) and book the seat you chose. Also like the fact that we had 30 min to pay, unlike other places where you couldn't book all performances at once because you ran out of time before paying. Honestly, other than time spent in waiting room and reliability and stability of cue, once in I find the purchase experience the best of the various ones i have had to deal with. I wouldn't want that to change.

  8. Paul White responded on 11 April 2012 at 7:58am Reply

    My frustration with the old site was not the waiting room, but that pre-waiting room the site ground to a halt half-way through purchasing, or at the point when the credit card company was contacted, meaning that tickets already in the basket were lost. In that respect, things were much better with a waiting room. Will the new system ensure that tickets placed in the basket will not get lost?

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 12 April 2012 at 8:54am

      One of the things we aim to address with the new site is the robustness of the purchasing path - we want to make buying tickets as simple as possible and to remove the frustrations you describe.

  9. julio Ranea responded on 11 April 2012 at 8:32am Reply

    Finally a new website! it was horrendous, specially for those who work and cannot book online at work.

    My main problem is still that you cannot select your seats on Ipad when for example Sadlers Wells allows you to do so.
    You can't be stuck on your home computer all day waiting for a ticket.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 12 April 2012 at 8:56am

      Making the website usable for tablets (including iPads) is another one of our key objectives. A site that works fully on all mobile devices will come in a later phase of development.

  10. Steve responded on 11 April 2012 at 10:14am Reply

    I agree with Hariclea. The system has always been very fair. The new system sounds equally fair, but I share John Feast's concern that every time you select a seat, it will be gone (if everyone is buying at the same time). And given that even the robust Ticketmaster crashes when they let everyone in at once (the Olympic ticket sales turned particularly sour), I suspect a complete system crash will be the result of ending the queuing, and noone but those on the phone will be able to buy tickets at all. I hope I am proved wrong! :)

  11. Hariclea responded on 11 April 2012 at 2:50pm Reply

    One more thing though ;-) There is scope of improvement on the access tickets, as somebody here already pointed out, and i have friends in the same situation too, for access tickets the situation was bad, as they couldn't get though on the phone and therefore had to give up the discount they are entitled too and try to book online. It would really help if access tickets could be purchased on line with the discount included, i am sure a technical solution can be found for that and i hope the new system will cover this :-)

    Otherwise rest assured we will moan about the new system just as much as we moaned about the old, as the ROH always manages to put on shows the whole world wants to see, but only 2200 can on a single night ;-)

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