27 April 2015 at 3.18pm | 21 Comments
Thank you to everyone who has expressed their views on the early opening times that we trialled last month. Our news posts for the Friends Booking and General Booking days provided a rich source of feedback. While we appreciate that no timing would suit everyone, the majority of those who commented welcomed an earlier start.
Taking this feedback into account – but recognizing that for some 8am was too early – we have decided that future online booking opening times will be 9am instead of 10am. This includes all booking days, from priority booking for Friends of Covent Garden and students, to rehearsal and package booking, and our large general booking days. Booking by telephone and in person remains unchanged and will open at 10am.
During February and March of this year we have been testing the capacity and performance of our technical architecture and have made a series of improvements. The change that has most significantly reduced stress on our systems is the decision to split online and telephone booking; this is down to technology rather than audience numbers. Our Box Office Assistants use third-party desktop software to make bookings for customers, and this software interacts with the same database you are calling on when you visit our website. What we have discovered in the course of our investigations is that the software is very resource-heavy and that the activity of just 32 Box Office Assistants makes remarkable demands on our database, creating issues for online booking. Splitting the booking times has removed this issue.
We have considered customers’ comments about booking clashing with their commute, and office hours, and balanced these with our own operational requirements. We hope the new online booking time of 9am will provide a good experience for the majority of customers.
If you don't feel confident booking online or prefer to deal with our Box Office Assistants we will have an allocation of tickets set aside based on the percentage of customers who book over the telephone or in person.
Thank you for your ongoing support. We look forward to providing a stable booking experience for our exciting new 2015/16 Season!