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Leading the Ticketing Revolution – Evolving the Industry Standard from Paper Tickets to Mobile Gate-Ready Access

Updated: July 14, 2017 | Ticketing | Galaxy Connect | Online Sales | Share on LinkedIn

by Michael Andre, President/CEO, and Kimberly Weidman, Marketing Manager

Back in the dark ages when computers were not yet roaming the earth, attractions relied on paper. Paper tickets sold at the front gate. And paper vouchers if a guest bought their ticket from a travel agency.

Twenty-five years later, reliance on the paper voucher process remains. However, the impact of using this outdated process now has far greater consequences on attractions and the overall guest experience.

The problem for the guest

Let’s pretend that you’re the person planning a family vacation. You go online and buy “tickets” from an online travel agency for admission to the brand-new ABC Theme Park plus “tickets” to the 1 p.m. concert of your daughter’s favorite band. After your purchase, you receive an email with the details of your transaction. Attached to this email are your “tickets.”

Two months later, your family excitedly heads off on vacation, and you arrive at the front gate of the theme park. You find out that your email didn’t contain actual tickets. What you actually have is a voucher that needs to be redeemed for real tickets. Now unexpectedly, your family has to stand in a long line with guests who haven’t yet purchased tickets.

When you get up to the ticket window, the employee prints out your park admission tickets but informs you that the 1 p.m. concert is sold out. Needless to say, your daughter is upset and exclaims that “the day is ruined.”

Subsequent problem for the attraction

Unfortunately, the guest has most likely forgotten that they received the voucher through a travel agency, and now blames the theme park for a dissatisfying experience. Sometimes this can result in a screaming guest who berates your front-line staff, and sometimes it can lead to poor online reviews which can damage your reputation.

The solution for attractions

With the advent of the technological solution Galaxy Connect™, attractions can now sell live tickets through their distributor relationships. A cloud-based platform, Galaxy Connect taps into an attraction’s real-time inventory ensuring that the tickets sold (especially important for capacity-managed events) are live. This means two things: 1) guests can proceed directly to the gate for admission, and 2) the guest has a guaranteed “seat” at the event they want to attend.

Operational challenges of “vouchers”

Stack of vouchers, not ticketsIn addition to the scenario above, there are other problems with the antiquated voucher process: manual reconciliation and fraud.

Attractions that accept vouchers tend to have big stacks of paper that need daily reconciliation. That manual process is taking away a key resource who could be used elsewhere, providing a better guest experience. There’s also a real expense to processing all that paper: separating, counting, compiling into a report, invoicing, and on and on.

Another challenging aspect is fraud. Though you might think the amount of fraud impacting your attraction is small, we have found that, when investigated, fraud is generally always more significant than anticipated – and that translates to your bottom line as lost revenue.

Paper vouchers are susceptible to fraud for numerous reasons:

 

1.       They are easy to reproduce.

2.       There’s little consistency in format and style from one travel agency to another.

3.       If they are from another country, they might be in a foreign language.

4.       There is no way to validate them.

So, how is your front-line team going to know what’s legitimate and what’s counterfeit? Particularly if you have a low volume of vouchers, your employees may rarely see them and not be easily able to identify what’s real or fake. Most likely, you’re going to err on the side of letting the guest in.

If instead of vouchers you issued live tickets, your team would have a mechanism in place to verify the legitimacy of tickets being presented. With an automated process in place, your front-line employees can then provide better guest interactions.

The power of technology

Though some attractions have found workarounds to integrate with online travel agencies, the process involves custom one-off integrations with each distributor. Ultimately, this custom work is time-consuming and puts a drain on IT resources.

Each integration involves punching holes in an attraction’s firewall. And though there are ways to put security around those holes, it just continues to mount up the work for IT teams, let alone if a problem occurs that needs troubleshooting.

It’s for all these reasons that Galaxy Connect was developed.

The power of Galaxy Connect

The Galaxy Connect technology platform connects attractions with any number of distributors and online travel agencies through only one integration point. Through this connection, distributors access real-time ticket inventory and can sell mobile gate-ready tickets.

The benefits of this technology positively impact the attractions, distributors and guests.

Everyone saves time

      • Guests no longer have to stand in line. They can proceed directly to the gate for admission.
      • Attractions and distributors no longer have a time-consuming integration process. Galaxy Connect simplifies connections. Some integrations being done in as little as a day.
      • Attractions benefit from a more automated reconciliation process, saving countless man-hours.

Guests enjoy a better experience

      • Expectations are met – they are more efficiently admitted into the venue and don’t miss out on limited-availability events by not having “live” tickets.
      • Research shows that guests that have a better front gate experience tend to spend more money within the attraction throughout the day.

Do you work with distributors or resellers? Do you want to open up more revenue streams with new online travel agency partnerships? Do you want to provide a better experience for your guests? If you answer yes to any of these questions, we can help you. To get the conversation started or learn more about Galaxy Connect, contact us today.

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