Innovations in ticket software have changed the way venues advertise to customers and attract new business. More and more people are buying their tickets through their smartphones. Online ticket marketplace Seat Geek reported in February 2015 that 70 percent of its website traffic comes from mobile devices, up from 45 percent in 2014, according to Internet Retailer.
So where does that leave stadiums, performance spaces and concert halls, who have devoted staff and space to will calls? If fewer and fewer people are buying tickets at a venue, a physical will call will soon become a thing of the past.
The idea of a will call can live on, however, as venues continue to evolve. The ability for customers to buy their seats to a game, show or event directly from the venue where it will be held can be a great help. A resource where patrons can go for help or assistance is similarly important.
Many places have turned to online resources to make up for the decline in will call traffic. Third-party website are a terrific way to do this. Like with hotels that sell unused rooms on discount travel websites, many venues are selling their empty seats for less than face value on the secondary ticket market, according to Ticketing Today. Instead of an empty chair, the venue can still earn some money from the online ticket sales, while also potentially attracting a new loyal customer.
A venue can tie this into the will call by mandating that tickets purchased on these sites must be picked up on-location. With ticket printers already in place, it is wise to have customers who didn't pay the full price have to go to the venue to retrieve their purchase. This potentially could lessen the chance those customers turn around and try to scalp their tickets for a profit.
A good way to keep customers coming back to the stadium or theater is offering a loyalty program by giving people a reason to come to the will call every time they want to see an event. When companies offer a loyalty program, they see a return on investment 75 percent of the time, according to Loyalty360. This can be beneficial if a venue is not ready to completely phase out the use of its will call.
Loyalty programs can work in different ways, from offering discounted prices on tickets to the chance to buy seats early before the general public. Many offer a membership card for the chance to win upgraded seats or a free ticket to a future game, reported Ticketing Today. Requiring loyal customers to pick up their tickets at the will call will ensure they get to the event on time and encourages others to use that element of the venue.
Using a will call as a customer service location is another way to attract customers to that part of a venue. People may have issues with all sorts of things at a game or show, from their seat location to pricing. Having them bring their complaints to a location within the theater or stadium can help resolve issues more quickly.
Quality service is what keeps customers coming back and is an important part of any venue experience. Technology has many benefits, but it can't fully replace what a person-to-person interaction can bring, a Disney Institute survey said in 2013. Having humans on-site to deal with problems will let customers know that the venue truly is hearing what they have to say.