Why buying tickets doesn’t have to be complicated and stressful

Last week I tried, and failed, to get London Grammar tickets and it got me thinking once again that something needs to be done about how tickets are sold. I don’t see why it’s so hard to keep everyone happy so here’s my solution.

To set the scene…

Before we start, I was fully aware that my chances of getting tickets were slim despite the fact I’d pre-registered and been given a code to access the tickets. London Grammar are a well-known band with a large following playing at a small venue so the odds were bound to be against me.

Nevertheless, I had everything ready to go at 10am on Friday – the code copied and ready to paste, the site open in multiple browsers and my card details memorised – but none of that helped when they appeared to be sold out when I managed to get on at 9:59!

Not all events and gigs have this problem so I’m mainly talking about when tickets sell out in minutes.

I’m talking about the stressful process of buying tickets here rather than the issue of touts, which is a large part of the problem, and a tricky part to solve as despite the London Grammar site saying customers would need ID matching the name on the ticket, plenty of tickets are already being resold for as much as £500 – the face value is £27.50!

London Grammar Tickets Hackney resell

Companies like Vibe even have the cheek to Tweet disappointed fans, encouraging them to search for tickets being resold – see here for one example.

Asking for ID to match the ticket is a good start but there still needs to be a way for people to sell tickets for legitimate reasons at face value.

Anyway, onto my solution…

For starters, I don’t understand why customers can’t be told the price of tickets ahead of them going on sale. It is so you panic and buy them at whatever cost should you be lucky enough to have the opportunity? Whatever the reason, the whole thing causes a huge amount of stress and unnecessarily so, I think.

  1. When events like this come around where the amount of people trying to buy tickets hugely outweighs the number of tickets, I’d much rather know all the details in advance so I can decide whether or not I can go and afford it. So many times I’ve sat waiting to get tickets only to find they are out of my budget.
  2. Next, give people a period of time to sign up to buy tickets, this means customers can do it at a convenient time and the site doesn’t fall over with traffic. You can select how many tickets you want and agree to pay the price ahead of the tickets going on sale.
  3. If a gig is oversold, then I’d much rather just get an email telling me whether I’ve been successful or not. Too many tickets to go around means people are picked at random, therefore taking the panic and stress out of the typical nightmare that is buying tickets.

It’s a method that’s been used occasionally (the 2012 Olympics is a sort of example) but it’s never been done well and more importantly not often enough.

Let me know what you think of the ticket purchasing situation (including touts) in the comments below or on Twitter.

Read next: Craft beer events calendar 2017.


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