With the last period of booking for our Inspire tickets having passed I thought it would be a good moment to recap how we got to this point and why the system we have was introduced. First, though, a comment about the costs of calls to our 0300 number. The 0300 numbers are designed for charities, not for profit and public sector organisations who wish to have recognisable, memorable numbers. Calls to 030 numbers are included in any bundled and mobile tariffs. Any additional minutes costs 1.5p per minute. There has been some concern that those who have had to wait on the telephone will have been charged a great deal. If you have a bundled mobile package with minutes then the call would not have cost any money other than using up minutes on that package. One caveat to that is if you are calling from aborad of course.
We introduced the telephone only system because the previous system of having them first available online, and then half online and half on the phone was unfair to those who did not have internet access. Given the nature of these tickets, it is entirely possible that some people taking advantage of them do not have access to the internet. We also stopped the ability of patrons to visit the box office since clearly those who live nearer have an advantage. Finally, we introduced caps on the number of tickets per person for the season. all of this is designed to make the Inspire tickets as fairly distributed as possible.
Clearly, people find the need to be on the telephone all day to be tiresome and we understand the frustration this causes but the demand is such that this would probably still be the case if we had 100 people on the telephones! Having said that, we are entirely unhappy that people have to spend so long on the phone and then run the risk of not being successful in acquiring tickets. If we could process calls more quickly that would be preferable then at least people havent wasted too much of their time and we recognise that.
But how to improve things? We will look at it again but be assured no matter what system we come up with, there will be many who will be dissappointed; with so many people wanting the Inspire seats that is inevitable. We have looked at postal ballot but that feels like a retrograde step and requires a lot of cost, effort on the part of patrons and a great deal more administration. Email ballot or internet forms would help that but would people be convinced of the fairness of ticket distribution? I am more than happy to listen to suggestions. Clearly, when offering several thousand seats at £12, there are going to be those who miss out but making it fair and easy is our primary goal.
feedback and suggestions can be sent to info(at) operahollandpark.com.