Ticket agents have been a part of the ticketing industry for as long as most of us can remember, and they serve a good purpose. Not all arts organisations can reach every corner of the market, and if you’re one of them, selling tickets through agents is a great way of broadening your reach.
Working with agents hasn’t always been the simplest process in the past, with complicated and time-intensive processes of allocating tickets and marking them back, and making sure the right customers get the right tickets. In recent years, though, advances in technology have seen the introduction of APIs which have made working with agents so much easier.
AP I’ve no idea what that is...
What’s an API, you ask? At its simplest, an API is a way for devices and applications to connect and communicate with each other. Think of, for example, how Google Maps might get information from a train company on departure times - that’s happening via an API. Here’s a nice video which explains the idea really simply.
Spektrix provides a powerful API which allows you to give agents access to your inventory in real time, which means they can sell tickets for your events via their own websites, tapping into their own databases of customers on your behalf. There’s no need for you to allocate tickets to agents specifically, they can just pick seats directly from your seating plans, and you’ve then got the orders in Spektrix with all the information you need.
In other words...sell! Sell! Sell!
What’s the fuss?
You might be thinking to yourself “why is an API such a big deal in terms of selling via agents?” Well, as ticketing professionals it can be easy to forget what it’s like for the general public trying to get hold of tickets for the events they want to see. It can actually be really confusing to work out who to buy from, and when; the comedian Jason Manford summed this up nicely in a recent Facebook post in response to his fans’ confusion about this.
We might take the various sources and onsale dates for granted, but customers won’t always know what to do if one site appears to be sold out, or not yet on sale. Using an API, with everyone selling from the same plan, makes things so much simpler as it means every customer has access to the same inventory. Less confusion and better access to tickets means happier customers.
How does it help me?
So what about the customers who book tickets via agents, then? How does it work when someone comes to the box office asking questions about their booking? Surely they would need to speak to the agent, and not the venue, right?
Nope, not if they’ve booked via the Spektrix API. In the past, customers would have the relationship with the agent, who might pass some of their information onto the venue, but it would often be really difficult if they wanted to discuss their booking with the venue on the day of the performance, for example. What the API allows, however, is for the agent to pass on all of the customer’s information in real time, which is then searchable in Spektrix in exactly the same way as any other booker.
Technically, customers who book via an agent are still the agent’s customers but if you look them up in Spektrix then you’ll be able to see them just like customers who booked directly. Anywhere that you would expect to be able to find customers’ details you can find API customers as well, so that means when searching for orders.
Checking out sales made for a particular performance…
Even looking at the history of a seat.
What’s really great with the Spektrix API is that you can clearly, easily identify which customers have booked via an agency API. There’s a different icon for these customers, and you can also see it clearly listed that the order was sold by the agent.
Sounds good, but...
What else could you want? Reporting, you say? No problem, we’ve got that covered too - any report which includes customer information can also pull through agency API customers. Simple as that.
Now, selling tickets via ticket agents isn’t necessarily going to be the best solution for every arts organisation - so if you don’t think you need to, then there’s a fair chance you’re right. If you regularly see unused inventory for your performances however, then it might just be worth investigating this option. If that’s the case, the agency API is your friend - it makes so much more sense than manually allocating tickets!
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.