Mobile phones have become a key part in how we buy tickets for theatre shows in recent years. Even more so now, with the likes of TodayTix who hold daily lotteries and rush ticket programmes, enabling users to get discount tickets at a single click. You can select the show you want to see, press a few buttons and then whoosh, your tickets are ready to collect before the performance starts.
But it hasn’t always been like this. It used to be that you could only buy theatre tickets over the home telephone or in person at a Ticketmaster office (or such like) because the internet and mobile phones didn’t exist. You would see adverts for the latest shows on television, in newspapers and on the radio and hear about them from your friends. Then you would call up to make your booking. The internet has changed things forever and it is now common to sell tickets online through websites, blogs, third-party vendors and on social media platforms, and a much wider audience can be reached in no time at all. I remember it used to be a case of who ever had their newspaper delivered the earliest were the ones with the best chance of getting tickets to the hottest shows before they sold out.
So, what might buying tickets in the future look like? As opposed to downloading and physically printing tickets, shows like Hamilton have been paving the way forward, requiring just the payment card used to make the booking to be presented at the box office in order to allow you access. Not only does this save on unnecessary paper but it also helps to combat people buying tickets and selling them on at a higher price.
E-commerce providers like Shopify are allowing marketing agencies to target specific groups of people (age groups, those with specific interests etc). Higher degrees of efficiency should therefore be another trend to watch out for in the near future. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival now has a brilliant mobile app which allows you to search for shows and book tickets and I hope we are very close to seeing apps like this develop so there is no need to print tickets at all, and e-tickets can just be presented on your mobile phone when you arrive at the theatre, saving time and most importantly, unnecessary paper wastage.
Technology has come a long way in the last ten years and I can’t even begin to think how much further advanced it will be in another ten!
FOLLOW WEST END WILMA