5 Steps to Digital Ticketing Success: A Conversation With Georgetown University

With a rich and storied history, Georgetown University’s Men’s Basketball continues to evolve by delivering exceptional experiences to fans through digital ticketing. Introduced during the 2012-13 season, digital ticket adoption has grown so much that nearly 50% of all tickets used to enter Capital One Arena in 2018-19 were digital.

Georgetown’s implementation of Presence® – the next-gen venue access control and fan engagement platform – transformed the entry experience by replacing paper tickets with digital passes. Since its inception, Presence has also streamlined countless back-office operations and provided real-time insights that allowed Georgetown to better understand, protect and engage with their fans.

To set you up for success in your move to digital, check out a few of the best practices below from Steve Alleva, Executive Director for Ticket Operations & Donor Relations at Georgetown University:

1. One Team, One Goal

Getting your team on board is a vital first step to launching digital ticketing in your organization because everyone has a role in a successful rollout. Additionally, stakeholders in your organization who act as proponents of digital ticketing can also help you formulate a comprehensive launch plan.

For Alleva, “colleagues across the department (including but not limited to those in development, marketing, and athletics communications) became proponents of digital as they took pride in GU’s ability to offer fans the latest, cutting-edge technology and a convenient, state-of-the-art experience. Georgetown Athletics staff members regularly had the opportunity to advocate for digital ticketing as they encouraged their own guests to ‘go mobile’ when attending home athletic events.”

2. Communication is Key

When communicating with fans, start early. Starting early gives fans the opportunity to ask questions and your team ample time to reinforce messaging in-market. In these reminders, be clear about how to manage tickets with simple and consistent instructions and lean on branded assets to catch your fans’ attention. People who follow directions with text and illustrations do +323% better than people following instructions without illustrations, so keep your copy short and sweet and your visuals clear and consistent.1

For organizations that have made the decision to go digital, our Digital Ticketing Kit gives you access to fully-customizable guides to email templates and social cards, so you can get fans ready for event day. We recommend you consider the following when putting together your digital ticketing launch plan:

  • How-to videos
  • Splash/info page
  • Email communications
  • Push Notifications
  • Branded Assets

Utilizing Ticketmaster digital ticketing kit, Georgetown eased the fan’s transition to digital ticketing through a series of helpful fan resources. For their first season using digital tickets, they printed paper guides to ease the transition for those less familiar with mobile tickets. PDF guides then replaced the paper guides and eventually a page was created on their website, containing vital information a fan would need when it comes to digital ticketing.

Stressing the importance of communication, Alleva’s word of advice to those moving to digital is: “When taking your first or next step with digital ticketing, be sure to explain the benefits. Your fans will appreciate knowing why you are making the change and how it is in their best interest.”

3. Test, Test, Test

Testing doesn’t just stop at barcodes. Testing your fan education strategy to learn what is most effective matters too. From subject lines to frequency of reminders, let fan and staff responses guide your digital ticketing education efforts.

4. Make Resolution Easy

Your staff are your first points of contact, so transparently training staff with consistent messaging will provide a strong foundation that gets your fans to their seats faster.

Georgetown prides themselves on their first-class customer service. After extensive yet simple staff training, ticket office representatives were able to assist fans by phone, email and live chat.

On event day, Georgetown also created an easy resolution process stationing employees at different entrances to provide in-person assistance. This ensured fans were scanned in at record speed, thanks to trained staff.

5. Learn and Adjust

By better understanding what is important to fans through surveys, fan events, contests and social audits, Georgetown was able to incentivize season ticket holders to switch to mobile tickets. Rewards for making the switch included concession vouchers and drawings for free season tickets. These incentives helped Georgetown to receive rapid adoption.

In addition to incentives, Alleva and team wanted to make sure that the move to digital was as seamless as possible, especially for season ticket holders: “When we began digital ticketing in 2012-13, season ticket holders who had received vanity tickets in the past were instead issued a season ticket card and provided access to online ticket management. In subsequent years, as mobile ticketing became more popular, fewer and fewer season ticket holders used their ticket cards.” As fan preferences changed, they learned and adjusted their strategy – now, Georgetown’s focus is on mobile.

Through planning, educating, testing, resolution and continuous learning, Georgetown has been able to nurture and grow their digital ticketing success. If you would like to learn more about digital ticketing, please reach out to your Ticketmaster representative.

 

Footnotes

1. Effects of Text Illustrations, Levie & Lentz