SeatChoice.com is the UK's first real-time price and availability comparison service for the ticketing industry. We believe consumers should have a choice of where they buy their ticket and should be able to see exactly what they are paying for it. Seatchoice.com has been set up to offer them exactly that. This new and innovative free service was conceived as a direct result of the lack of transparency in the market highlighted by the Which? Report.
In response to the Which? Report, Robert Iles says, "SeatChoice.com welcome's the Which? Report, raising the curtain on transparency in the entertainment tickets market. In many instance the consumer is either being misled or ripped off and there is little or no transparency in the market. This is no truer than on the Internet where there are now over 3 million websites worldwide claiming to sell theatre tickets for London shows. But, it does not have to be that way there are also plenty of legitimate agents out there selling at sensible prices and sometimes at a discount. The problem for the customer is that it is often difficult to track these suppliers down. SeatChoice.com solves that problem by doing real time ticket comparison across all major agents. The site clearly states the face value of the ticket and the actual price the consumer will pay. What's more, it concentrates on listing tickets from official agents, always telling you the agents status, and avoids the touts which trade online".
Robert adds, "The danger for consumers lies in not knowing who they can trust when searching for that, 'must have' ticket, and risk falling in to the hands of the touts. SeatChoice.com seeks to clarify this hitherto murky area and for the first time offer real choice, making their entertainment experience much safer and ultimately more enjoyable."
Ticketing Briefly Explained:
Consumers are often forced to look outside of the traditional box office for their tickets as, whilst the box-office holds most of the tickets it is also usually the first to sell out. If you are trying to track down a ticket for a hot show the chances are that the box-office will not have any left but the ticket agents will. They will have been given their stock by the theatre but, because they have less ability to market themselves, will often still be holding tickets. The box-office was, traditionally the little cubicle in the corner of the theatre entrance where tickets were bought and collected. These days it also refers to all of the ways you can buy direct from the theatre owner. This could be online or via the phone.
There are many common misconceptions about ticketing and who makes all of the money and why there are booking fees. It is the root cause of most frustration and perceived injustice. So, who really does make all of the money? Ask a producer this question and he'll tell you it is the theatre owner ask a theatre owner and, he'll tell you it is the producer. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that legitimate ticket agents don't actually make that much.
Booking Fee - The price charged in addition to the value of the ticket at the time of purchase. This can be anything from a few pence to 25% of the total value of the ticket.
Processing Fee - Some agents, in addition to your booking fee, actually also pass on the cost of processing your credit or debit card. This can be another 2% which is typically what the banks charge the agents.
Secondary Agent – A secondary agent is someone who sells tickets that have already been bought so, EBay for example, acts as a broker for secondary agents which are those people who bought tickets to an event but now cannot attend. In recent years several Secondary websites have sprung up for sellers of tickets. They are great if you really, really have to get that ticket for Led Zepplin and don’t care what you pay but, they tend to charge huge prices for tickets as the seller decides what they want for the ticket and waits for buyers. SeatChoice.com does also search secondary ticketing sites.
Tout – Essentially, a tout buys tickets, at retail prices, from official ticket agents or the box office. He does what he can not to get caught by buying small numbers of tickets from several sources. He then sells them, hopefully, at a profit. This used to be the realm of men in sheepskin coats lurking outside theatres. Nowadays it is much more sophisticated and tends to happen online.
Typically a touting site will offer prices massively more than those you would get at the box office. In some cases we have seen £60 tickets advertised at £250. The tout is taking a gamble on the fact that if you give him £250 for a ticket then he will find a supplier. In most cases he will find a seller at the £60 price but, even if he has to pay over the odds himself and buys at £125 a ticket he is still making a healthy profit.
This trade is one of the reasons why you cannot always trust the results from traditional search engines. The tout, who may be making 300-400% margin on a ticket, can easily afford to buy his way into the search rankings while the Official agent, who is selling at much closer to the face value and is only making a few percent per ticket, cannot compete. SeatChoice.com does not search any touting sites.
For a more detailed background on how the ticketing industry works or for further comment/interview please contact:
Viv Quail, Viv Quail PR Tel: 020 7603 7507; email: email@example.com
Robert Iles, Founder and Director has over twenty years experience in ticketing systems and what’s on content delivery. He also developed the first on-line ticket sales systems for the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and the Wycombe Swan and has been an advisor on performance listings data to the Theatre Museum (part of the Victoria and Albert Museum).
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