Laurence Miller tells how Nimax Theatres has been working with Enta to improve its sales to the elusive visitor market
Nimax Theatres manage the Apollo, Duchess, Garrick, Lyric and Vaudeville theatres in London’s West End. Our emphasis is very much on sales. One of our aims is to be continually proactive in helping our producers to sell tickets, and we’re always looking for new ways and new technologies that can engage with potential audiences, bring our shows to their attention and make it easy for them to buy tickets. As a West End group, the visitor market is particular important to us. A customised ticket sales site supplied by Enta Ticketing Solutions has enabled us to build our direct web sales very significantly in recent years, but we wanted to revisit other sales channels that visitors may use to ensure the broadest possible reach.
Many people now carry Internet access in their pockets and may book tickets on their phones whilst visiting London if something prompts them to do so. Our aim was to provide that prompt effectively and make immediate booking as simple as possible before something else captures the customer’s attention in our bustling city. We wanted to offer the convenience of ‘any time, anywhere’ mobile Internet ticketing to more customers, coupled with a strong call to action to see one of our shows. Enta’s solution has been to create a tablet version of the Nimax website so that our teams of promotional staff can walk the streets engaging with the public and getting them excited about a show, negotiate on price, offer special deals when appropriate and make the booking there and then. We are confident that this approach of combining traditional retail promotion with fulfilment via Internet technology will help us to continue to serve our producers by developing audiences for them.
In our latest review of sales channel strategy we decided to prioritise improving the service we offer through our agents. The traditional West End agency ticket allocation model has some limitations and can lead to frustration. We felt that the allocation of tickets to agents sometimes doesn’t give the visitor a great service on the day of performance: choice and availability of tickets is limited by the particular agent’s allocation, and speed of booking is compromised if agents need to phone our trade desk for extra tickets for popular shows. Working with the Enta team, we have enabled STAR member ticket agents with retail outlets around the West End to access all of the same inventory available at the venue box office via a simple-to-use Internet application. Agents at retail outlets can now check availability, book tickets and confirm immediately to the customer, so providing much improved customer service. And when our audiences are happy, so are our producers – and so are we.