17 March 2015 at 2.26pm | 20 Comments
General booking for performances in the Summer Season will open online at 8am on 31 March rather than 10am. However, booking by telephone or in person will still open at 10am. Please note that between 8am and 10am there will be no Box Office support by telephone or in person.
This follows a trial with Friends of Covent Garden earlier this month which proved successful.
We know that many of our valued customers have had poor experiences on days when a new Season goes on sale, with our recent Spring Season suffering an hour of interrupted sales back in January. Although we’ve spent a lot of time and effort rebuilding an outdated and unstable ticketing system over the past few years we know that problems related to our new systems have caused huge frustration and inconvenience for our audience, for which we sincerely apologize. We wanted to let you know how important your booking experience is to us and how committed we are to doing everything we can to make it work well.
If we do have a problem in the future we want to minimize the impact on our audiences, and testing has revealed that if we separate those who book online from customers who do so on the phones or in person it will make a real difference to the booking experience for everyone. We know that 90% of our audience book via our website and only 10% use the telephones or book in person, so we will ensure that we have an allocation from across the house for our customers who book in person or by telephone supporters who do not have access to the internet.
We are planning to trial staggered booking to see whether this improves the experience for our customers the way it did for the Friends of Covent Garden earlier this month. This means that on 31 March, online booking will start at 8am and booking by phone and in person opens at 10am, as normal.
This is an approach taken by other organizations including the Royal Shakespeare Company. Depending on the findings of this trial, this may be rolled out for future booking days. Please note that we are still opening advance package booking on 24 March at 10am both online and by telephone.
There are other things you can do to improve your booking experience; Take a look at the website ahead of the booking day – you may find our new Season pages helpful. If you have trouble with the card payment stage of your purchase, we also offer the option to complete your order via PayPal, which is a safe, quick and easy way to pay: visit the PayPal website to set up an account in advance. And finally, if there is a problem or you want to get live information during the booking, the best place to go is social media. We continuously monitor our Twitter and Facebook accounts during booking days, posting updates and answering questions. You don’t need a Twitter or Facebook account to read our updates, but you will need one to ask a question.
Thank you for being so patient with us through what has been a challenging time. We do care very much about the experience of all our valued customers and will do our very best to ensure that future booking days are trouble free.