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General Booking on Tuesday 9 April

Apologies to those customers who had trouble booking today.

By Rob Greig (Chief Technology Officer)

9 April 2013 at 3.06pm | 18 Comments

We would like to apologize to anyone who had problems booking tickets this morning. Some customers could not complete their transaction when they had tickets in the shopping basket, or were uncertain whether they had secured tickets.

We are investigating what caused this, and the difficulties seem to have been caused by a new bug that we have not seen on previous booking days. We have escalated this to the third party developers who created our online shopping basket and will update you once we know more.

I do hope that if you were affected, you were able to get tickets. The service has now returned to normal. Once again, we are very sorry if you had difficulties today.

By Rob Greig (Chief Technology Officer)

9 April 2013 at 3.06pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged Booking Day, website

This article has 18 comments

  1. jules responded on 9 April 2013 at 3:26pm Reply

    this always happens on the day when so much activity must happen in the first hours after booking - you have NEVER solved the problem from when you forced all customers to use online for booking and need to spend more thought on making it work for us.

  2. jules responded on 9 April 2013 at 3:46pm Reply

    by the way - service will be normal NOW - the traffic that has to get on at 10 am has gone - if you dont do it at 10 AM then all popular ones have GONE by now

  3. Olivia responded on 9 April 2013 at 3:51pm Reply

    This was pretty awful service really. I had two different sets of tickets which disappeared out of my basket and when I tried to find them again from scratch, they were gone. Really disappointed that this issue seems to happen time and again....

  4. Terry Norris responded on 9 April 2013 at 3:59pm Reply

    I encountered two problems
    Firstly I tried to select two adjoining seats which were shown as available. The website would only allow me to select either one but not the other
    Later (after allowing the website to select best available) I tried to update my address details on the charge to section of the website. Instead of updating I received an error message and had to abort thw whole process. This is a really poor site!

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 9 April 2013 at 4:14pm

      Hi Terry,

      Sorry to hear about your experience today. Please be assured our team are working hard to ensure that this issue doesn't occur again. Thank you for the information you've supplied, we will pass this on to our technical team.

      Digital Content Producer

  5. Nicolas responded on 9 April 2013 at 4:40pm Reply

    I can't complain too much as I could get all I wanted, after the complete shambles that was last booking period, I learned my lesson, I know place an order per show rather than risk losing my tickets.
    But it sounds like it was exactly the same problem as last time, how is that a new bug?
    At least you were a bit quicker in apologising this time...

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 9 April 2013 at 4:57pm

      Hi Nicolas,

      Though the effect may have appeared the same to the user, the cause was different. We do, of course, realize that this doesn't change the fact that today's booking was problematic for a small number of bookers and are very sorry.

      As Rob says, we are working hard to resolve this.


      Digital Content Producer

  6. John Chapman responded on 9 April 2013 at 4:42pm Reply

    I spent 1 3/4 hours trying to get checked out. I was concurrently trying to get through on the phone but for over 1 hour I couldn't even get into the queue of 50 people! This spike in demand is caused by your policies; you know it is going to happen, so why on earth you cannot set up processes to cope I do not understand. I was spending £300 yet experiencing this level of "customer service".

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 9 April 2013 at 4:54pm

      Very sorry about this John. As Rob says, we are working hard to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

      Digital Content Producer

  7. Stephen King responded on 9 April 2013 at 5:13pm Reply

    Interesting language in your statement that this has been "escalated" to your suppliers. Seems to suggest some inversion on your part of where accountability lies. Or maybe I am being too precious about language. As others have said, although you have identified this an a new bug, the effect is anything but new.

  8. Carrie responded on 9 April 2013 at 5:22pm Reply

    I see the complaints about this fiasco are still coming in.... I work and therefore am unable to log on at 10.00 to join the scramble for tickets so in January my husband did this on my behalf and today a friend. On each occasion they were incredibly frustrated that they were unable to ascertain whether or not they had actually managed to secure tickets. As it turns out we have secured 2 lots of tickets (for the same performance) so have been fortunate and will be returning 1 set.
    Fellow bloggers, you may be interested to read the Letters Page of the April edition of the Dancing Times as there is a letter from Christopher Millard (of the ROH) responding to earlier letters (to the D Times) of complaint about the January debacle. In it Mr Millard states "the ROH has a policy to ensure that at least 20% of tickets accross all areas of the theatre are reserved for the public to purchase once booking has closed to members". No wonder there is such a scramble when the booking opens when potentially so few tickets are available! I have considered paying a premium to become a member but it's very expensive and as as I live in Guernsey the cost of indulging my passion of visiting the ballet is expensive enough anyway.
    Mr Shipman - your IT providor does not deserve to have your business.

  9. Jeremy Fielding responded on 9 April 2013 at 5:52pm Reply

    Whilst we appreciate the lip service of your apologies it doesn't lessen the fact that come every booking day, there are numerous bugs and errors within your website that cause some customers problems. Look back on your own pages and you'll see a string of feedback complaints on every booking day, for which you apologise as you have done today, but then absolutely no responsibility is taken or progress made to prevent this happening at the next booking window. As this is continually happening, might I suggest that you are not getting value for money in your IT provision which tax payers subsidies are funding. I lost all the tickets in my basket at checkout, and then trying different parts of the website received 5 different error messages (I have kept copies of all of these). Surely there is something drastically corrupt in your systems for this to keep happening on such a scale on every booking day since you have 'upgraded' the system, and somebody should admit that and actually do something about it please.

  10. Stuart Dixon responded on 9 April 2013 at 11:34pm Reply

    As in ex I.T.Director I can understand the pressures caused when the system is overloaded. So to avoid the overloading? the answer is surprisingly simple. Have different days when the booking period starts. One week is Opera the next Ballet. Monday is one Opera. Tuesday another Opera etc.etc.etc. easy peasy. Not rocket science and not major upgrades to the system. SPREAD THE LOAD.

  11. AliX responded on 11 April 2013 at 12:20am Reply

    I logged onto the site at 10.03 and I had problems immediately, lost the tickets in my basket and got an error message. I stayed on-line for over three hours without success and with frequent error messages. This scramble for the 20% of tickets available for general sale is unseemly and is perhaps caused by the elitist early provision of tickets to those who can afford to pay much more in membership fees.
    Carrie above says she is considering becoming a member to get early access to tickets - I wouldn't bother! I couldn't get any Hansel and Gretel tickets as an ordinary Friend as they we all gone by the time my booking date came round and I was forced to join the general booking debacle on April 9.
    All that aside, I went on to the site again today, and was able to book two tickets for Hansel and Gretel with no problem - not my original date or seat choice, but I am happy with the result.
    This isn't an IT glitch; this is caused by ROH's ticketing policy!

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 13 April 2013 at 11:25pm

      Thanks for your comments, and apologies that you had such a difficult time booking for this season.

      Best wishes


  12. Elizabeth Lock responded on 11 April 2013 at 9:55am Reply

    Stuart Dixon's idea is a good one: a straightforward way to reduce pressure on the site. I also agree with Carrie that it isn't the best idea to open booking when people who work are at work. It doesn't look good to discriminate in favour of people who either don't have to work at all or are so senior that Big Brother doesn't watch their computer use at work (though I don't suppose many workplaces think of blocking the ROH). I'm all right, I have flexible hours ....

    To be fair the clean-up after this debacle seems to be being handled well. I got a sensible, personal e-mail explaining what had happened and refunding me for the six tickets I bought by mistake when WorldPay kept crashing. They also found the tickets I actually wanted still in the system! But I sent a fairly chunky complaint on Tuesday which may have helped.

  13. Matteo Gallanti responded on 11 April 2013 at 6:58pm Reply

    I find these comments a bit exaggerated... it is normally that when booking opens it is difficult to get tickets quickly for all we want... have you ever tried salzburg or munich where the booking system is totally obscure or Milan and Paris?
    I think that all this is better than queuing for 8 hours as we used to do 15 years ago...

  14. bill griffiths responded on 15 April 2013 at 7:43am Reply

    Yet agaihn there are problems with the web site and I, like so many experienced booking problems. I am not a Friend and will not conisder joining with the current poor standard of opera productions. I think one of the problems is that there are far too many productions in each period added to which there are many popular productions. I gather that in the first booking period of nexdt season there are 6 productions including the new Parsifal and Scilian Vespers. These are bound to be popular. Would it be sensible to have sperate booking dates for these productions?

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