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Royal Opera House to introduce e-tickets during 2016

New functionality to be available to all online customers in time for Summer Season booking days.

By Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development)

14 January 2016 at 3.16pm | 49 Comments

During the first half of 2016 we will introduce an e-ticket delivery option for online ticket purchases. We recently carried out an e-ticket survey in the Paul Hamlyn Hall with a selection of our customers and found that many expect this service from theatres and value the convenience it offers. Electronic ticketing has become increasingly common in the travel and event industries over the last few years with many consumers showing a preference for the option.

For the time being, our website's default option will still be to deliver your tickets by post but the new e-ticket functionality will replace our online option to collect your tickets from the box office. For our international customers, students and those buying tickets within a few days of the performance e-tickets will become the standard option.

The roll-out will commence on the Student Booking Day on the 18 January when e-ticket delivery will be enabled for those purchasing solely for the dedicated student performance of Frankenstein (Students purchasing other Spring Season performances will not see the option). We will then begin to roll-out to all customers buying Summer Season tickets from 16 February when priority booking for Premium 2 Friends commences. The e-ticket option will only be available to customers booking online and will not yet be offered over the phone.

E-tickets will offer the option of either simply showing a ticket on your phone or printing from home. They will be made available through a link in your order confirmation email and then sent to you directly as a reminder email shortly before the performance. E-tickets can also be accessed from the 'Upcoming events' section of your account on the website if you selected the e-ticket delivery option when placing your order. Performance vouchers for programmes, champagne and ice cream will be made available alongside your tickets. We will also deliver your tickets for use in Apple Wallet and similar Android apps that support the passkit format. All tickets and vouchers will display a 2D barcode (QR code) and we are looking to introduce these barcodes across the physical ticket stock too. Having a bar code that uniquely identifies the ticket will, in time, allow us to introduce ticket scanners helping us work more efficiently in understanding access and validating redemption of vouchers.

The experience for customers choosing e-ticket delivery should be very smooth allowing you to pick your preferred method. Whether it's showing the web page or email on your phone or presenting a print out of the PDF, our front of house staff will be ready to accept all formats.

The key benefit for customers is the convenience of having access to your ticket straight away, allowing you swift entry to the building and more time to enjoy your visit to the Royal Opera House. For the Royal Opera House it creates environmental benefits as we'll be able to reduce the volume of printed tickets.

If you have a query about how e-ticketing will affect you or a suggestion for e-ticketing features you'd like to see then please do leave a comment below. We're also collating a list of frequently asked questions so that the introduction of e-tickets is a smooth experience for all.

By Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development)

14 January 2016 at 3.16pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged Apple Wallet, digital, e-tickets, online booking, paperless, website

This article has 49 comments

  1. Stuart Dixon responded on 14 January 2016 at 3:48pm Reply

    Will you need a particular iphone version, for example iphone 6, which you need for some banking facilities, or will it work on earlier versions. Great idea by the way plus it will save you thousands in postage costs so you can make the seat prices cheeper. Hooray.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 14 January 2016 at 5:09pm

      Hi Stuart,

      You won't need a particular iPhone or device - e-ticketing will be available via any smartphone. If a device supports passkit (for example Apple Wallet or its Android equivalent), you can store tickets via that functionality. If it doesn't, you're able to show your e-ticket or (for those without a smartphone) print it at home.



    • Great news. I buy tickets for my wife and myself. How will I get her ticket onto her smartphone? by "sending" it from your web-site to her email address? Or to her mobile phone number? I presume I don't have to establish a separate user account for her? Best regards, Per B-A

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 27 January 2016 at 7:28am

      Hi Per, we're looking at how we could technically formalise the sharing of tickets with individuals and members of your group but this won't be available at launch. In the meantime, the e-ticket is simply delivered as an email in the week before the performance (with a link to an online version and with a PDF attached) - it would be very straightforward for you to forward that email to your wife. If she is not attending the performance with you or is simply arriving at a different time she could show the email on her smartphone and still be granted swift access.

  2. Greg Garner responded on 14 January 2016 at 9:11pm Reply

    Will e-tickets work with an ipod which can receive emails (as opposed to a mobile phone)?

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 14 January 2016 at 10:26pm

      Hi Greg, yes it will. If you can view an email on your iPod then you can use the device for presenting our e-tickets.

  3. Johanna responded on 15 January 2016 at 7:38am Reply

    Will anyone have to touch your phone? I have OCD! Thanks

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 15 January 2016 at 9:02am

      Hi Johanna, there should be no need for any Royal Opera House staff to touch your phone unless invited. We have designed the e-ticket with a summary at the very top that will allow you to present all that's required for access within a single screen - no need for scrolling. When redeeming vouchers you will need to present your phone with the specific e-ticket voucher visible so that our staff can scan the barcode with a handheld scanning device - once again, no contact should be required.

  4. Alison responded on 15 January 2016 at 12:01pm Reply

    I hope you will continue to offer "collect at box office" as an option? I don't have a smartphone.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 15 January 2016 at 3:46pm

      Hi Alison,

      If you're unable to present an e-ticket, you'll be able to select the postal or print from home option when booking.

      If you are an international customer, ROH student or are buying tickets within a few days of the performance and have been given only the e-ticket option then please keep a record of your order number and seats and bring these details to the Box Office along with proof of identity so that we can print your tickets for you.



  5. Peter Martindale responded on 15 January 2016 at 1:52pm Reply

    Will there be a hierarchy of access to your website such that people purchasing by phone will be either advantaged or disadvantaged when compared to people purchasing from pc/laptop/tablet; and will the service to people seeking to book by telephone be downgraded?

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 22 January 2016 at 10:44pm

      Hi Peter, the e-ticket option is only being made available to online customers first (those customers who we can guarantee have an active email address and online access) but we would like to make it available as a delivery option for telephone and in-person bookings. The telephone booking options will remain the same for the time being.

  6. Coppelia responded on 15 January 2016 at 2:18pm Reply

    Will this have any impact on the Returns/Resales policy?

  7. Daria responded on 15 January 2016 at 4:12pm Reply

    this is great that you are introducing etickets but how will they affect returns/exchanges? At the moment I have to bring the ticket in person by a certain deadline which sometimes can be a bit of a problem. How will it work with e-tickets - will I have to email them back to the box office?

  8. Domonique responded on 15 January 2016 at 7:04pm Reply

    Great idea! How will returns/resales be handled?

  9. Clare Bracewell responded on 16 January 2016 at 3:12pm Reply

    How will this work if I need to exchange my tickets though? How will I prove that I'm not using the old e-tickets?

  10. Ann O'Shaughnessy responded on 16 January 2016 at 5:55pm Reply

    Great idea.

  11. James responded on 17 January 2016 at 11:33am Reply

    hi, how will it affect ticket resales, as i currently have to surrender the paper ticket to do this, thanks

  12. Margaret Parker responded on 17 January 2016 at 9:23pm Reply

    Hope we can still book by 'phone and in
    person as some folk for sight and other reasons cannot use computers!

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 18 January 2016 at 11:59am

      Hi Margaret,

      Please be assured that you'll still be able to book by phone and in person. This is additional functionality that we hope will make booking and collecting tickets easier for our audience.


      ROH Content Producer

  13. Terry responded on 17 January 2016 at 11:04pm Reply

    I live outside London, so returning a ticket I cannot use is difficult. If I am unable to make it to a performance, will you be able to put up my e-ticket for resale? This was the great advantage of selecting the 'collect at box office' option.

  14. Judy responded on 19 January 2016 at 9:31am Reply

    What about Blackberries?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 19 January 2016 at 11:47am

      Hi Judy,

      Blackberries will be able to use e-ticketing. The model you're using will dictate whether you're able to use 'wallet' functionality, but if not, you'll still be able to show an e-ticket



  15. Alonso responded on 19 January 2016 at 9:56am Reply

    I bougth a ticket for Tannhäuser, for the 2 May 2016, 6 pm. I hadn't the possibility of pursaching the e-ticket, I only had the possibility of pursaching a ticket to delivering in the box office. Can I change my ticket for an e-ticket for print at home? Thanks.

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 22 January 2016 at 10:12pm

      Hi Alonso, we've just begun our roll-out of e-tickets and it will only become more widely available as Summer Season events go onsale (Tannhäuser is in our Spring Season). We have not yet built the option to change the delivery method of an existing order and so, for now, you will still need to collect your tickets from the Box Office.

  16. Barbara Heyda responded on 19 January 2016 at 10:25am Reply

    How will ticket exchange and resale work with eticketing, please?

  17. Charles Seaford responded on 20 January 2016 at 9:00am Reply

    The withdrawal of collection from the box office represents a decline in service quality. It is presumably being done to save money and the suggestion that withdrawal of an option represents service improvement is an insult to the intelligence of opera goers. E ticketing is just one more extra hassle.

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 26 January 2016 at 10:57am

      Hi Charles, our main objective with e-tickets is to improve customer service by removing the need for everyone booking last minute or from overseas to come to the Box Office for ticket collection. However, we recognise that not everyone will be able to use e-tickets and therefore, as long as you keep a record of your booking and bring these details with you along with proof of identity, the Box Office will always be able to print out your tickets for you.

  18. Mark responded on 20 January 2016 at 8:24pm Reply

    This is a great idea, particularly if the e-ticket is one that is sent to e-mail as a pdf, so it is not tied to a particular device.

    I do hope though that this is not the end of actual tickets, particularly for gift purposes or a special event. Having the ticket is a nice gift itself to keep as a memento.

    Next request: Can the free cast sheet be able to be downloaded from the ROH site for a period of time after the performance as a pdf?

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 22 January 2016 at 6:01pm

      Hi Mark, PDF is one of the formats we will support. The PDF will come attached to the e-ticket email we will send you in the week before the performance. We will also make the PDF available from your accounts 'Upcoming events' as soon as you receive your order confirmation. 'Actual tickets' will still be sent when choosing the postal delivery option and remain, for the time being, the only option when booking tickets over the phone or in person. Great feature request regarding the cast sheets being made available as a PDF download. I'll add it to our develpment backlog and investigate what new procedures we would need to make it happen.

  19. Ali Cenani responded on 21 January 2016 at 5:08pm Reply

    Finalmente !! The Bolshoi and Mariinsky had this for years now and one was able to go see ballet there on an overnight trip. However in our antiquated ROH you have to get off your flight rush to check into your hotel rush to queue up at the ROH box office to collect your tix. Bah !!

  20. Dilniya Fattah responded on 21 January 2016 at 5:29pm Reply

    E-ticket will cause delays and creat long queu as I experienced it at airports.
    Not all phones have large screens to see quickly by staff and let you enter, and when they go into blank mode will create more delays while trying to retrieve screen display. This will not help those who hold tickets yet delayed by technology.

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 27 January 2016 at 7:41am

      Hi Dilniya, we've taken every effort in the design of the e-ticket to ensure the information that ushers need to grant access is clearly displayed at the very top. The roll out through the Spring Season will be gradual and we will be keeping a close eye on the process; looking to iron out any issues as they occur.

  21. Prudence Meek responded on 21 January 2016 at 6:29pm Reply

    Will rehearsal tickets be available as e-tickets? And if so, when?

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 22 January 2016 at 10:51pm

      Hi Prudence, yes, e-tickets will be available for rehearsals on the Summer Season Friends Rehearsal booking day (8 March 2016).

  22. Paul Rothwell responded on 21 January 2016 at 7:14pm Reply

    Should be great step forward. Does the new functionality allow tickets to be returned electronically for resale? I once was unable to return 2 tickets for a sold out performance because the box office did not take postal deliveries on a Saturday - so 2 opera lovers could not benefit from my misfortune.

  23. Timothy Blake responded on 21 January 2016 at 8:44pm Reply

    I find using a phone for the sort of thing is often slow and aggravating (I gave up using it for boarding passes for this reason) although doubtless it will become more efficient in due course. I also like physical tickets as it helps me to remember what I am doing. But as long as your system allows us to print the ticket at home (as at ENO) then I am happy. Certainly it's a good idea if you don't have to process and dispatch all those tickets.

  24. Violaine Marcq responded on 21 January 2016 at 10:36pm Reply

    Great news for international customers for whom receiving the tickets by mail was not an option.

  25. Andrea Liu responded on 21 January 2016 at 11:30pm Reply

    Hurrah! Welcome to the 21st century.

  26. Nigel Fountain responded on 22 January 2016 at 10:40am Reply

    Can e-tickets be cancelled/returned on the day for resale by telephoning the box office?

    Also, do e-tickets still need to be returned by post if one cannot attend a given performance perhaps weeks in advance?

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 22 January 2016 at 4:01pm

      Hi Nigel (and earlier Coppelia, Daria, Domonique, Clare, James, Terry, Barbara, Paul), the introduction of e-tickets will change very little about the existing exchange and re-sale policies. Requests for an exchange must be received three working days before the performance and re-sales can be requested as late as 30 minutes before curtain-up if you speak directly to the Box Office. A key benefit of e-tickets is you will not be asked to return your ticket to the Box Office. For any exchange and re-sale requests always contact the Box Office on +44(0)20 7304 4000. Once an exchange or resale is processed your account 'Upcoming events' will be updated accordingly and the previously issued e-ticket will scan as invalid.

  27. Simon responded on 26 January 2016 at 1:23am Reply

    Some of us do NOT welcome this if it becomes compulsory. It's fine as an option for those who want it, but some of us do not have smart phones! Also it is NOT more convinient for me to have to spend hours at work printing my own tickets - this actually takes up my time as opposed to simply receiving my tickets in the post and taking them out of the envelope each week as they are needed. I think to charge people a fortune for their tickets and then expect them to print their own at their own cost both in terms of their time to do so and their own printing adn paper costs would be an outrage. So please by all means introduce this as an option for those that want it, but always keep the traditional ticket option too.

    • Jamie Tetlow (Former Head of Digital Development) responded on 26 January 2016 at 8:29am

      Hi Simon, if you buy tickets well in advance and are used to receiving them in the post then please be assured that the introduction of e-tickets will not affect your current experience.

  28. Joanna responded on 11 April 2016 at 9:35am Reply

    Will you accept a valid NUS card as student ID?

  29. Bruce responded on 18 October 2016 at 9:33am Reply

    I just made my order for the 2016/17 Winter season ... but stupidly did not change the delivery option to e-ticket. It therefore reverted to post - but I do want e-tickets. Can I change my delivery option once an order has been made? Grateful for your kind advice.

  30. markus van horn responded on 3 May 2017 at 11:50am Reply

    I have been trying for the past hour to get the tickets that have been emailed to me into my iPhone wallet with no success The code appears incompatible. Has this been a good investment of my time ? Not really. Just frustrating

    • Asher Korner (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 4 May 2017 at 10:09am

      Dear Markus,

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear that you have been having trouble getting your e-tickets into your iPhone wallet!

      Please give the Royal Opera House Box Office a call today on +44 (0)20 7304 4000. They will be able to help you resolve the issue.

      Many thanks,

      Asher Korner

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