One task was to computerise the club’s ticketing function. From gates of around 700 only a few seasons ago, to regular crowds of 4,000 – 5,000, the club needed a solution that was flexible and proven, and a partner that had the necessary experience and ability to provide a first class service.
Following a thorough investigation of the market, Crawley Town chose Tickethour UK Ltd. Based in Northampton, Tickethour are recent entrants to the UK marketplace. Born from the Athens 2004 Olympic Organising Committee, Tickethour have dominated the sports ticketing market in SE Europe, and have a significant footprint in the Middle East. Moving into territories like the UK is a natural step in the company’s international evolution.
“There were a number of factors in our decision to move forward with Tickethour” said Alan Williams, Chief Executive at Crawley Town. “Obviously the software had to be good, and it is. It’s a true Cloud Computing delivery, which is fantastic IT jargon but to us it means we can sell tickets just about anywhere we choose at the drop of a hat, and don’t have the IT responsibility of servers. Selling tickets is really easy, and the web sales channel of the system looks really good. The system can be configured to work the way we want to, rather than the usual vice-versa. As it’s hosted in the Cloud, we can tap into as much web-server power as we need, so if we have a major cup draw we don’t need to worry about people waiting for hours and websites crashing – we can just turn up the dial to handle the traffic, and turn it down again when it gets quiet. The system can process 63 actual ticket sales per second, which means we could sell out the whole of Wembley in less than 25 minutes.”
Williams was quick to point out that the system itself was only one of the deciding factors. “We needed to know that the system and the provider could grow the solution at our pace. We’re already looking at an ATM solution which will allow 24/7 purchasing for our supporters who don’t want to book on-line. We’re also comfortable that card-based membership and season ticket management, access control, loyalty programmes and retail integration are available to us as and when we’re ready to move forward with those aspects. Tickethour were also able to offer us ‘white label’ call centre and fulfilment services.”
When asked whether partnering with a new player in the UK market was a high risk strategy, Williams countered “Not really. Any supplier in any market can be a risk, particularly in today’s economy. Also, Tickethour were able to show us international growth and financial stability which we found reassuring, and although new to the UK, the software is established and proven, they sell millions of tickets for clubs in Greece, Cyprus and the Middle East in European and International competition.
They have some very credible UK partnerships and their UK staff members are all very experienced in the domestic ticketing marketplace, with ‘sharp-end’ club experience of selling football tickets. They are prepared to go the extra mile and are available to support us pretty much 24/7. They got us live for season ticket renewals in less than two weeks of being given the job.”
Tickethour UK is headed up by David McClellan, a known figure in the UK and European ticketing industry. “When I got the opportunity to bring this solution to the UK, I jumped at it” said McClellan. “I just can’t express strongly enough how pleased we are to be chosen by Crawley Town as their ticketing solution provider. The evidence that Alan and his team do things right is there for the industry to see, and we’re extremely proud to be one of those business decisions.”
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