Having recently moved our main year-round bookings system into the cloud we took the decision to move onto VIA by Red61 for our festival ticketing as this would improve efficiency, remove allocation management and allow all our companies to access their own reports. Whilst scoping the installation of VIA it became clear that we’d need to invest more than £3k in two ticket printers which would only be used for three weeks each year. As a small venue that only operates a theatre during August this investment didn’t stack up and so we discussed alternatives with Red61.
The plan to go ticketless emerged quickly and we worked through the permutations deciding that a live ‘check-in’ function operated on tablet computers at the venue entrances would work best. The idea being that when a customer books their tickets they give an e-mail address and receive a confirmation telling them not to collect their tickets but to just turn up. As we examined the rest of our festival operation and looked for other ways we could reduce paper consumption we decided to offer electronic programmes that could be downloaded onto smartphones instead of being printed. The knock on effect of purchasing tablet computers for paperless tickets would also mean that staff could use these during the rest of the year to again reduce paper consumption when printing documents for meetings.
Off we went into the festival and Red61 delivered the promised web app to make check in possible. Our staff were trained and we considered how to make the process seamless for customers, I think we probably worried too much about this as the public adopted it without question, some even commented on how good an idea it was. Crunch day of the first show arrived and the check-in worked seamlessly with the show going in on time and just a couple of creases to be ironed out. Less successful was the take-up on downloading show programmes to phones and we quickly realised that this wasn’t being adopted. We came to a midway solution of having paper programmes available to pick up on demand rather than putting them on every seat as in past years.
The results? We planned to save 60m² in virgin paper from ticket stock and in fact saved 66m² We planned to save 3000 sheets of paper from programmes and, because of the change of approach only saved 1854. Reduction in paper usage for meetings is yet to be analysed but staff are certainly enjoying the benefits of being able to Google answers to questions and access their network files whilst in meetings.