Social Distancing has been the dreaded buzz word of 2020 and it doesn’t sound like we are going to hear less of it for quite a while yet.
The good news is that live, indoor theatre has been allowed to reopen, providing Covid-Secure measures are put in place to ensure groups are seated at least one metre apart from each other.
This has made booking tickets online an interesting experience as most ticketing systems have created groups of 1-6 tickets available to purchase, ensuring that seats in-between are not sold, in order to maintain social distancing. But that comes with some issues.
People want to be able to choose their seats from the price range they want to pay – and for one night concert events with high demand for tickets, this has been difficult because you have to look for the number of tickets you want, in the area of the theatre you want to sit in and at the price you want to pay.
One theatregoer online summed it up in regards to the Les Miserables staged concert, saying “I’m not sure I’ll be able to go because I’m really picky with where I sit and the chances of finding somewhere good with my group number is slim”.
However, Nimax Theatres (who have six theatres in the West End) have taken a different approach to selling tickets, creating a nifty online system whereby people choose their seats (as they always did) and then after the seats are selected, the computer automatically removes the necessary space around them in order to ensure social distancing!
Nicholas Robinson, Head of Ticketing for Nimax Theatres said “we’re very lucky to work with a modern tech team who can develop and adapt the software very quickly.
Our seats are spaced in accordance with government guidance at 1 metre plus robust mitigations. Our partners at TixTrack have helped us develop automated social distancing to ensure that when you pick your seats distancing rules are maintained in the auditorium. As a booking is placed the adjacent seats at each side of your ‘bubble’ are automatically taken off sale. Customers will receive a check-in email 48 hours before the event where they’ll be asked to complete a health questionnaire, followed by their e-tickets. In the event of illness we operate a 100% right-to-exchange up to 10am on the day of the performance.”
Nimax are paving the way forward in this area of ticket selling, making the customer experience a delightful one. I hope other online ticketing systems will follow in their foot steps and create similar processes soon.