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First public booking day on new ROH website

An update on recent improvements, and how to get the best from the new site.

By Rob Greig (Chief Technology Officer)

9 July 2012 at 8.07pm | 40 Comments

Tomorrow (Tuesday 10 July) will be the first public booking day on the new website and we wanted to share our progress to date and give you an idea of what to expect. Last month’s priority booking days for were very successful and most people had a good experience, which is exactly what we were trying to achieve.

Of course, these being the first-ever booking days on the new site, issues came up that we hadn’t seen before. We’ve been working to address these. Overall, the feedback shows the new website is an improvement on the old but tomorrow we will venture into new territory again. We have tested and tested again but this will be our first public booking day with ballet and opera productions combined.

We have made some small changes since the Friends booking days but even though these should improve your experience these fixes may themselves create issues. Not everything that we intend to achieve will be ready for tomorrow, but we hope that you will find the new system a real improvement on the old one.

Looking back on what we have learnt from June, we have some recommendations for buying tickets online:

- The best web browser to use is Google Chrome, followed by Firefox, Safari and then Internet Explorer.  At the current time some Orange broadband customers are having problems connecting to the ROH website, we have been in touch with Orange and they are trying to resolve the issue at their end.

- It is really important that you only use one shopping basket for your purchase. Using more than one basket can cause orders to be rejected. When you select your tickets from the map of the auditorium be sure to select all the tickets you want before you hit "Add to basket". The system works slightly differently from the old website so it's worth checking out the process beforehand.

- We recommend you login to the website before you start your purchase, you can login before booking starts at 10am. You will need to refresh your page to see the performances come available at 10am, and you can do this on most computers by pressing the F5 button. If you are using an iPad it's a good idea to close other apps to get the best performance from the seat map.

- Most importantly, you won't get a confirmation email straight away. It could take 2 or 3 hours for the confirmation email to arrive *Added 16:45 Tuesday 10 July - confirmation orders are currently taking almost 6 hours to arrive*. This is because we queue the orders into the system to ensure everything happens in a safe and orderly fashion. We are working on an email that can be sent immediately but it won't be ready for tomorrow. We would advise waiting until the end of the day before contacting the Box Office. The system is designed to keep hold of your seats if there is a problem.

The new website is part of phase 1 of four planned phases of work, which will take us to 2013. As well as working on tweaks and issues that have arisen since the launch of the website we are also developing a new online shop at the moment. Please check our help page for more information.

You can see details of all bookable productions for Autumn Season listed on our website as well as an online seat map.

By Rob Greig (Chief Technology Officer)

9 July 2012 at 8.07pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged booking announcement, Booking Day, Friends of Covent Garden, help, order, tickets, website

This article has 40 comments

  1. simon fisher responded on 10 July 2012 at 11:02am Reply

    That was a VERY difficult booking session : I use Firefox and have had no problems previously, but this time I kept getting error messages, was not allowed to see various parts of the house for seat selection, kept losing seats I had reserved whilst trying to get them into the basket, and worst of all, got to the end of the whole procedure twice (I was booking 3 x two seats for various productions) only to have an error message after submitting card details - of course the seats I wanted had again gone when I had to start all over again twice before finally getting to completion (I hope!) on the third try. One hour and 2 minutes altogether. This is not good.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 11:39am

      Apologies for the error message Simon, we think that server problems have caused today's difficulties and we are working to ensure that the problems are resolved.

  2. Allyson Jenkins responded on 10 July 2012 at 11:10am Reply

    Public booking day - web site a disaster. Slow with having to back and forth in order to try to get seats next to each other for the same performance. Error messages popping up all the time. Confirmation of order page wouldn't let me go to my already registered card details so it wouldn't move on, so I had to enter in my card as if a new one. I had added 2 x £78 tickets to basket for L'elisir d'amore performancen 20th Nov, then added 4 at £52 pounds but cancelled off the 2 expensive ones. My shopping basket showed this had happened so I proceeded with the payment, but when payment confirmation came up it showed that the 2 expensive seats were still there, and only one of the £52 tickets had been secured. As email confirmation hasn't come through yet I don't know what I've actually got. Dreadful mess. Am really frustrated about the errors, the time it has taken and, probably the time which has been wasted. I will absolutely refuse to pay any admin charges for the unwanted tickets that I will have to return because of errors in the ROH system.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 12:00pm

      Dear Allyson

      Apologies for the frustrating booking experience - you will not be charged any admin fees for exchanging or refunding tickets purchased due to website errors. I would suggest contacting the Box Office in a few hours when the lines should be less busy; they will be able to help you with your tickets.

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  3. Elizabeth Lock responded on 10 July 2012 at 11:59am Reply

    I too had lots of error messages--at least four. But I was lucky in that the session did not seem to get lost and I could go back to my basket. I too got an error message after submitting card details and was left in a quandary about whether or not to start again and buy more tickets. In my case I eventually got confirmation (while I understand why ROH doesn't confirm instantly, my biggest criticism is the lack of immediate WORLDPAY confirmation when you pay). I was left to contact support because I had no idea whether my payment had gone through.

    Seems like an improvement on the old system but I hope the glitches are ironed out before there is a production involving Plácido Domingo and complete booking frenzy. I only wanted Robert le Diable, The Minotaur and The Lighthouse, which meant that I didn't see tickets disappearing before my eyes while I was struggling with the errors.

  4. Laura responded on 10 July 2012 at 12:12pm Reply

    The online booking system appears worse than normal - several errors during selection and having twice made it through payment I was left with no tickets

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 12:42pm

      Dear Laura

      Apologies for the frustrating experience. If you made it through payment you may have secured the tickets, despite seeing an error. I would suggest emailing Online Booking: onlinebooking@roh.org.uk as they will be able to help. Bear in mind that they will have received a lot of emails this morning and they won't be able to respond immediately.

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  5. Caroline Jenkins responded on 10 July 2012 at 12:24pm Reply

    A hugely disappointing experience, just when it was all looking like such an improvement. I had 5x tickets in my basket and got to the stage of entering my card details, then the Lloyds TSB clicksafe screen appeared and.... my tickets vanished from the basket. I am so exasperated having now spent literally several hours trying to get through to the box office that I am giving up. I'm gutted, it should have been my birthday treat. Hugely disappointing.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 1:10pm

      So sorry to hear that Caroline. If you'd like to email the Box Office directly and give them your phone number I'm sure that someone can ring you back once things have calmed down. Here's the email for Box Office: onlinebooking@roh.org.uk

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  6. Wendy responded on 10 July 2012 at 1:21pm Reply

    Similar problems to those above. Encountered 8 error messages and then entered payment details and accept then a big black hole for La Boheme on Jan 3rd.
    My C Card company says payment has been accepted so I am hoping I have secured my tickets.
    Impossible to get through by phone of course so I will email.

  7. Andrew responded on 10 July 2012 at 1:25pm Reply

    The seat selection/availability is vastly improved from the older version. A much better experience.

    However, the integration with payment services seems to have some serious issues, as reflected in previous comments. I made four attempts to pay because the payment process declared that it had succeeded. This resulted in my card issuer contacting me to confirm that a fraud was not being committed.

    I have since received email confirmation of my tickets and hopefully my other transactions will not be processed and force me to cancel the unwanted tickets.

  8. Mike Riley responded on 10 July 2012 at 1:46pm Reply

    As per a number of other posts; I booked online at around 10.45am and appear to have got through the payment process, but multiple errors and the lack of email or "My Account" confirmation does not inspire confidence in receiving any tickets. Fingers crossed though!

    Could tickets not be released in a staggered fashion, rather than the entire season on one morning to avoid overwhelming the IT infrastructure?

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 2:25pm

      Hi Mike

      Thanks for the feedback. Priority booking for Friends of Covent Garden splits ballet and opera onto separate days, but there are no plans at the moment to stagger for public booking.

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  9. TF responded on 10 July 2012 at 1:59pm Reply

    I found that I had ordered 94 GBP of tickets but when I went through to payment, it had 20 GBP as the total. I have no idea what went through and what didn't. The site crashed several times. I tried re-ordering for those performances. Again several crashes. I checked my "Upcoming events" nothing new shows there and there has been no confirmation emails. I have no idea what has gone through. Should I re-order for performances?

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 3:26pm

      I would suggest waiting to see what email confirmation comes through - it may be that all the tickets you attempted to purchase have come through. If you haven't heard anything in a couple of hours it would be worth emailing the Box Office.

  10. Tracy responded on 10 July 2012 at 3:47pm Reply

    No problems whatsoever, great system! Fantastic improvement on the old way, no more queuing for hours so I could login not long before 10am. No longer will I have to get to work early to purchase tickets! Thanks so much.

  11. ML responded on 10 July 2012 at 3:59pm Reply

    Using IInternet Explorer I had a relatively pain free experience and made it straight through with no errors, However , 5 hours later I have had no email confirmation nor do the tickets show under my "upcoming events", money appears to be reserved against my debit card so hopefully that is a positive sign( and I have a confirmation number). Not being the usual buyer of tickets in the family I didn't realise that it was a new website. Fingers crossed!

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 5:01pm

      Your tickets are almost certainly secured - unfortunately the volume of ticket sales has led to the confirmation emails coming through nearly 6 hours after bookings have been made.

  12. Michael G responded on 10 July 2012 at 4:06pm Reply

    How do I buy an opera package please ?

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 5:00pm

      Opera packages are not currently available to buy online.

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  13. stephen dunn responded on 10 July 2012 at 4:12pm Reply

    I have just booked for L'elisir d'amore and La Boheme but nothing is coming up in my account as forthcoming events and no confirmation email???Should i rebook? I am really anxious as I need tickets for the set dates . I cannot seem to get though on the phone :(((

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 10 July 2012 at 4:58pm

      Hi Stephen, due to the volume of orders confirmation emails are currently taking nearly 6 hours to arrive and the forthcoming events area on your account will also take a long time to be updated. We're sorry for this delay, but your tickets are likely to have been secured. Box Office are currently snowed under with queries, so I am afraid that waiting for the email is the best course. Apologies for any frustration.

  14. Jonathan responded on 10 July 2012 at 5:27pm Reply

    Don't panic! Computers are complicated machines and sometimes take time to work properly. Error messages appeared today 10th July 2012 when I tried to view some booking pages - its probably best to try the page again later after going to the previous page using the browser back button. Don't try to rush things - with so many people using the website on certain days today was better than before, less of a queue to get to the website and the booking system seems fine. Make sure you allow the pages to update before the next task. Overall, well done ROH for moving with the times and giving us new technology online.

  15. Paul Y responded on 10 July 2012 at 9:54pm Reply

    Purchased 4 tickets tonight using the latest Firefox browser. All seems to have gone smoothly, just awaiting for that confirmation email - and of course looking forward to the performance!
    My suggestion for future improvements would be to enable multiple seats to be selected at once, rather than one at a time.

  16. Julie Rowles responded on 11 July 2012 at 8:42am Reply

    I found the whole experience very frusrating. I had error messages and had to try and book using two computers and I was surprised at how long the seats were held for blocking them for other people and then I did not know if it had been actually booked and had to wait a long tiem for a confirmation email

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 11 July 2012 at 4:22pm

      Hi Julie,

      We are working to streamline the confirmation delay as detailed in the blog. Thanks for your comment.

      Chris
      Social Media Manager

  17. TF responded on 11 July 2012 at 11:26am Reply

    Shall we go back to using Tessitura?

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 11 July 2012 at 12:33pm

      Hi Terry,

      Both the new and old systems run using Tessitura. Errors were caused by the server and we're working hard to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

      Thanks,

      Chris
      Social Media Manager

  18. James Playfair responded on 11 July 2012 at 1:52pm Reply

    The new system worked well for me yesterday evening. It is great, one thought, to be able book as easily as this, As with others though no e-mail confirmation has yet been received (more than 12hrs but only about 6 working hours later), We are both hopeful and on tenterhooks.

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 11 July 2012 at 4:23pm

      Hi James,

      Have you received this confirmation yet? If not, we'd suggest contacting our Box Office to confirm the status of your booking.
      Thanks,

      Chris
      Social Media Manager

  19. shelly responded on 11 July 2012 at 2:06pm Reply

    TERRIBLE website. TERRIBLE booking procedure. Error messages constantly and I ended up booking duplicate tickets as I didn't know which transactions had actually been successful.

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 11 July 2012 at 3:31pm

      Hi Shelly,

      Sorry to hear about your experience booking. It seems the errors were caused by a server error which we are working hard to avoid in future. In terms of the duplicate tickets. Please contact our Box Office (onlinebooking@roh.org.uk / +44(0)20 7304 4000). They'll be able to resolve this issue for you.

      Apologies again,

      Chris
      Social Media Manager

  20. Linda Preston responded on 11 July 2012 at 2:40pm Reply

    Found your system frustrating and rather worrying. Bought two lots of tickets 3@ 175 pounds each for La Boheme and then 3 @ 110 pounds for Nutcracker. I live in Australia and found my debit card was deducted almost instantaneously with no receipts. This was very disturbing when spending almost 1000 pounds. I had no difficulties of this sort with the Royal Albert Hall or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Not a happy customer!

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 11 July 2012 at 3:30pm

      Hi Linda,

      There may be a delay between payment going through and a confirmation email arriving but you should have seen a 'Payment being processed' screen. If you don't receive this in the next 24 hours, please do contact our Box Office at onlinebooking@roh.org.uk. Please be assured we are looking to streamline this area of the booking process as detailed in the blog.

      Thanks,

      Chris
      Social Media Manager

  21. elaine responded on 12 July 2012 at 9:13am Reply

    well, two days later..money taken out of my account but still no confirmation email...did i make a very expensive charity contribution???

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 12 July 2012 at 5:05pm

      Hi Elaine,

      Apologies for the delayed reply. We'd recommend calling Box Office on +44(0)20 7304 4000. They'll be able to let you know the status of your order.

      Thanks,

      Chris
      Social Media Manager

  22. Grinberg Michel responded on 28 July 2012 at 11:03pm Reply

    When will the online booking for Don Carlo start ?

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 2 August 2012 at 7:09pm

      Don Carlo is in our Spring Season, which means that it will go on sale to the public on 15 January. Our members (Friends of Covent Garden) receive priority booking as one of their benefits.

  23. ian walsh responded on 20 September 2012 at 1:11pm Reply

    The 20th September is liitle better
    Crash at 10am
    No confirmation after booking OK at 12.30 the seats ( much poorer than I had hoped ) had been allocated and paid for - I just hope as they are no longer on sale!
    The old system of a waiting room was much better, if you were patient ) and the confirmation system infinitely so

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 21 September 2012 at 10:38am

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your comment and sorry you experienced issues at 10am. Please be assured that in the light of yesterday's booking we have taken steps to ensure that this doesn't happen again in future.

      Apologies again,

      Chris
      Social Media Manager

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