Processing 20,000 event goers smoothly

by | Nov 12, 2021

Oxford Roundtable processed more than 20,000 event goers through its entry gates for a firework display in record time, via digital technology.

In previous years the organisers struggled to sell tickets in advance of its annual bonfire night and to manage long queues when the gates opened. This year it used TicketCo’s digital platform and it transformed both the event operations and ticket buyers’ experience.

Offline sales

TicketCo’s cloud-based technology delivers ticket buyers a QR code to scan at entry points on their smart phones or printed tickets to enter events. The platform works both offline and online – meaning organisers do not need to worry about dreaded internet dropouts.

This was a vital feature for Joseph Garbett, Fireworks Director at Oxford Roundtable to host the charity’s 53rd annual fireworks display smoothly.

“Because we had so many people in one place, we lost all cellular service meaning any online aspects of our operations would not work,” he said. “We expected this as we knew we would be hosting up to 20,000 people. It meant we needed our ticketing scanners to work offline, which is a feature of TicketCo. It meant should we lose the internet, we could still let people in. The offline capability was the most important feature for us. We needed to guarantee the ability to scan tickets, with or without internet and that is what TicketCo provides.”

Smooth admission

With thousands of event goers arriving and seeking entry to the display in a narrow time window long queues have traditionally been a challenge for the Oxford Roundtable.

A combination of not selling many tickets in advance combined with having to process ticket collections, cash and card payments meant long waiting times at previous events. However, with a high percentage of ticket buyers buying online in advance and fast scanning technology queues moved quickly and efficiently.

“Because of COVID, everyone is familiar with QR codes,” added Joseph. “People understand that if they see a QR code they’re to scan it and if they are presented with it, they’ve got to show it. That seemed to work to our advantage this year.”

Instant analytics

Before the pandemic, Oxford Roundtable’s ticket office used outdated techniques unfit for the modern, digital, era.
Another benefit of going digital is instant access to real time analytics. This helps organisers prepare for events by understanding how many people will be in attendance.

Joseph said: “We have been able to see, ticket by ticket, the different types of tickets that have been bought and at the rate they’ve been bought at. It’s a very powerful tool and one we haven’t had in 53 years of hosting our fireworks display. It’s fantastic.

“The analytics and insights you must have for your customers are really important and TicketCo gives that. It frustrates me we’ve not had this technology before, we’ve previously had to derive information whereas this time we can actually have it instantly which is brilliant. I’m really impressed with TicketCo’s capabilities.”

Record numbers

The power of digital ticketing was reflected in the event’s pre-sale performance as organisers confirmed more than 22,000 people bought prior to arriving at the event, making it a new record. A huge 75% of people bought through mobile with the remaining amount via desktop of people booked their tickets in advance of the display, meaning organisers could plan more effectively. It meant Oxford Roundtable raised a record amount of money for good causes.

“This event has had record numbers in every conceivable fashion,” said Joseph. “It was the highest attended, most pre-bookings and most money raised for Oxford Roundtable all in one go which is fantastic.”

Innovation partnership

TicketCo is proud to have partnered with a successful event and look forward to the future.

“The Oxford Roundtable’s annual bonfire night is organised by a group of volunteers who do a tremendous job of hosting such a popular event for the community,” said Joe Edwards, Senior Global Key Account Manager at TicketCo. “The night raises a lot of money for charities and good causes on top of entertaining thousands of people.

“It has attracted great crowds for many years and we are pleased Oxford Roundtable embraced our technology and used it to make their lives and their ticket buyers lives easier and look forward to developing our partnership together.”

Written by Greig Box Turnbull

Experienced communications and strategic PR advisor, with a strong background in journalism and public relations. Founder of Fortitude Communications, director of Oxford City ice hockey club and Vice Chair of Oxford United in the Community. A former Daily Mirror journalist and Oxford United FC managing director.

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