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Since moving its box office system to the cloud, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama has increased online sales and started taking online donations, says Paul McGuinness.

Photo of people on terrace overlooking river and park
The terrace at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Customer expectations have been transformed by digital, and the range of choices and competition for discretionary entertainment spend is on the rise. That makes understanding audiences and their behaviour essential, along with finding opportunities to offer new purchases and donations online.

The system integrates easily with venue websites, while capturing and correlating sales, engagement and charitable-giving data from all customer touchpoints

In changing times, with revenues and budgets under pressure, technology suppliers have to demonstrate they are committed to helping arts organisations meet these objectives. Arts organisations are now choosing technology partners who will help them to respond quickly to those objectives and drive success in their operations and growth.

Expanding capabilities

In 2017 the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD), the National Conservatoire of Wales and part of the University of South Wales, decided to move its ticketing, e-commerce, marketing and fundraising capability to the cloud.

With many different types of performance space and programming decisions, the box office system needed to be flexible enough to support the diverse requirements of a higher education institution, while grounding strategic decisions in the most current information about audiences and donors.

Gareth Tottle, its Information Systems Manager, said: “When we began to look at expanding our in-house box office capability, we wanted something that would make it easier to add supplementary offers and cross-sell additional purchases, such as recommended events, packages or merchandise. We also wanted to simplify the journey to GDPR compliance and have easy access to ongoing consultancy and support from the technology supplier.”

Sharing information with different stakeholders across the organisation was another objective. Gareth and his team wanted to encourage better system adoption between departments to inform decision-making and improve collaboration. Any new system selected would therefore have to meet the varied needs of each department, while also being intuitive to use.

Advantages of the cloud

Using Spektrix’s cloud-based ticketing and CRM platform, RWCMD has been able to circumvent the capital expenditure and ongoing maintenance issues that come with purchasing a new IT infrastructure.

Cloud is rapidly becoming the norm for software deployment in every sector. It means that regardless of an organisation’s size, they don’t have to invest in servers or install and manage locally hosted software. Needing only a fast internet connection to use, Spektrix is designed to be quick and intuitive for staff in the box office, as well as for customers making a ticket purchase.

The system integrates easily with venue websites, while capturing and correlating sales, engagement and charitable-giving data from all customer touchpoints. Marketing and fundraising teams can use that information to analyse trends and segment audiences for more appropriate and bespoke communication campaigns and offers that take individual preferences and interests into account.

Results since the move

RWCMD has improved its ability to measure and report accurately on purchasing behaviour. Training its staff on the new system has happened quickly and cost-effectively, and has also led to the greater use of the system and better sharing of information across the organisation.

In just six months, this has helped drive a 7% increase in online ticket purchases. Online top-up donations on ticket purchases have been introduced and 660 donations have already been received since January. This represents an increase in the frequency of individual giving from a wider base – a much more robust, predictable and financially sustainable model.

RWCMD is benefiting from the system’s flexibility for adding supplementary offers, and has developed food and beverage packages that are cross-promoted with ticket sales along the online booking path. This has helped push up the average value of web transactions by over 50%.

In both cases our support team has been on hand to assist and consult in the use of the system to fundraise, cross-sell, optimise package offers, and ensure a seamless purchase journey for customers.

Customers can now choose print-at-home tickets, create and manage their own ticket accounts online and have more confidence in seat selection thanks to new and improved seating plans.

Laura Avery, RWCMD’s Box Office & Reception Manager, added: “The move to cloud-based software has improved access to the system across the organisation. Spektrix’s user-friendly interface means we can train staff quickly and easily and our box office team have fully embraced it and all its features.

“Our website and ticketing system are delivering better results. We can market more of our programming to audiences while they are in the process of making a purchase and use those new opportunities to increase ancillary sales. We also find the ability to add event attributes that are specific to us as a venue is really useful as we can tailor our event set-up, making reporting both quicker and easier.”

Paul McGuinness is Head of Account Management at Spektrix.

This article is an advertising feature sponsored and contributed by Spektrix.

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