Eastleigh FC reducing match-day queues
Guest blog by Tom Coffey, operations director at Eastleigh FC, a National League club who partnered with TicketCo at the beginning of the 2018/19 season
Our goal when we first began talks with TicketCo was to reduce match-day queues. Match-day meant large queues at the ticket office where people were queuing to buy and collect tickets. We wanted to stop that from happening.
Eastleigh were the first football club in this country to use TicketCo and I like to think we are quite similar operations.
We have both grown together and, having seen where TicketCo are now with football clubs in Britain and in Norway, I know that as we grow they will be there to meet all our needs.
Reducing match-day queues
Our goal when we first began talks with TicketCo was to reduce match-day queues. Our previous system enabled online sales, but we either had to post out physical tickets or buyers would have to collect them. On a match-day this meant large queues at the ticket office where people were queuing to buy and collect tickets. We wanted to stop that from happening, and the TicketCo Wallet system means fans can buy in advance online and don’t have to collect a physical ticket.
Better use of staff time
We are a 9am-5pm football club but we don’t operate a 9am-5pm ticket office during the week, so everyone who works here is helping with various things. Now that we have the online TicketCo system for advance sales we no longer take ticket bookings over the phone, which frees up staff time during the week. We still have people coming to the stadium to buy tickets in person, but we tell them that they can get the same discount online and plenty of them have moved over to that way of buying.
Positive response from the fans
In the beginning you are always going to have fans who want to stick with the traditional way of buying tickets and keeping stubs, which is perfectly understandable, but we have managed to significantly reduce match-day queues and I think supporters appreciate that. There has been a big increase in the number of fans buying in advance online since we moved over to the TicketCo system.
In the future
When we first spoke to TicketCo we were aware that we could upsell items like programmes and refreshments with the tickets. We have yet to do that, but as the club and our infrastructure grows it is definitely something we are interested in.
We now also have a much better database of fans who have bought tickets, and although we don’t pepper them with information, we could, for example, let all ticket holders know that there is a pitch inspection planned for a certain fixture if the weather is bad.
Having a much better idea of how many tickets have been sold in advance can also help us with match-day planning. At the moment, we are fortunate to have a large 500-space car park and we know what our average attendance is, but as the club progresses and we get near to sell-out crowds we will be able to use the system to help us plan stewarding and staffing levels.