Just the Ticket

The longer I work in the Ticketing industry the more I realise that we don't sell tickets...

I know people who get this, and people who don’t… but it’s easy to understand why some people don’t.

The box office is surely a place where tickets are sold, I know ticketing managers, and ticketing departments, I’ve been to hundreds of ticketing meetings, and a ticket conference or 12… and most agencies have the phrase ticket in their title somewhere… cough cough

We measure our success by the number of tickets we sell, and the speed at which we sell them, with the ticketing systems we use


But it’s becoming clearer to me day by day, tickets are not what we sell.

At the end of the day the ticket is just a placeholder, a piece of paper that’s used as a way of saving a seat, a portion of floor space

A ticket is really a promise, a promise of something better, it’s the wrapper, the packaging...

Nowadays tickets themselves are being replaced with barcodes, with numbers, and soon you won’t even see the number, with the adoption of systems like Apple’s Passbook we’re just selling a small chunk of data, a personal api integration to an electric wallet...

Experiences, that’s what we sell… promises, dreams… we sell smiles and laughs and excitement, or unfortunately often tears, pain and frustration. 

And critically, the experience we sell, that the customer pays for, starts before the day of the event, it starts before the day of purchase. The experience we sell starts the minute the customer considers attending, that might be the minute a gig is officially announced, or mentioned by a friend, sometimes it starts when they're lying in bed and randomly think “I’d like to go and see a show”.

Yes, we are responsible for the way a customer feels during that part of the experience, it’s part of the ticket price… we are responsible for the experience the customer enjoys from the moment they consider purchasing through to months and months, even years after the event when they think back and remember, and decide to go again.

Why? because we crafted that experience, we created the expectation, the perceptions that go through that persons head, the industry has shaped the way people perceive the buying process, it’s customer service, the ups and downs, Onsales, the Secondary market, the refund policies, the communication that surrounds the process, we shaped that, and only we have the power to change it.

That’s a lot of responsibility and maybe the scope of this responsibility is the reason that most box offices, venues, agencies don't take it on board.