Tickethour (UK), in our words

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Ticket Hour

Tickethour is a partner of The Ticketing Institute.  Tickethour match their system capabilities against the Functionality Builder and achieve a good score.

Tickethour arrived in the UK in 2011as a Software as a Service system provider.  Their view is that there are too many near legacy systems in the hands of the major players in UK ticket sales, so there are opportunities, especially for a full-service Cloud-based solution, determined to go the extra mile in supporting system users.  Perhaps we should change that name “users” since TicketHour join SeatAdvisor and Spektrix in the practice of helping their clients set-up and manage their systems, though Tickethour exceeds others by being willing to manage the whole back-end operation at no extra cost.

Tickethour has a good pedigree, being formed by the senior staff of the ticketing operations for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.  Having experienced Ticketmaster, they started out using Tickets.com, but realised they needed to develop a new system ‘fit-for-purpose’ in the 21st Century. They chose a ‘Cloud’ based Software as a Service (SaaS) model, with open architecture, available APIs (Application Programme Interfaces) for all parts of the system, and have achieved inter-operability to enable multi-channel ticket sales through different software solutions.

Written in Java and utilising the Microsoft SQL Server database, Tickethour is a device-independent solution so that any internet connected device can be a box office window, a call centre work station, or a marketing access point, exploiting “anytime, anywhere” Internet connectivity. Of course this is a single system iteration with multiple tenants, delivering “always-on” connectivity.

For example, with the Piraeus Bank in Greece, the bank network of 400+ ATMs has controlled access to the full inventory of Tickethour’s Arts, Cinema and Sports clients. Inside or outside any branch of the bank, not only can you use the ATM to withdraw cash, or top up your mobile phone, you can also purchase any tickets that are on-sale at that time.  Intriguingly, a particular advantage of these ATM machines is that you can pay for tickets by cash and they have a dedicated ticket printer – not vouchers, but real tickets.

Tickethour sells over 75% of all theatre tickets in Greece for arts and entertainments, including the Hellinikon Festival which covers nine theatres, with the theatre under the Acropolis, and Epidaurus.  They also have about 65% of the sports market, their solution offering functionality not found on other systems, including virtual waiting rooms with status notifications to queuing customers.  For Kevin Spacey’s production of Richard III at Epidaurus, Tickethour’s ticket sales performance was measured at an actual rate of 63 tickets per second.  And Tickethour says it was also in the final shortlist for the London 2012 Olympic Games; in this case, “not winning but taking part” probably helps validate their credentials.

Perhaps more comparable for most arts and entertainment users, it provides the ticketing for the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, with 16 bookable spaces for events, performances or exhibitions. TicketHour provided them with new innovations for marketing and loyalty, including a card-based loyalty scheme which comes with password protected on-line access to priority booking, and also offers loyalty points, which can be redeemed by scheme members, including on-line.  Pebble printers at Points of Sale can have photos on the cards and cards for family members.  Each Card has a system generated identity code – the system checks that the card relates to the account holder accessing the scheme, and members can then see their full ticketing history with seat occupancy and loyalty points record.  Another interesting feature is ability to manage a “live” waiting list through the system, which can be displayed at real time at terminals situated in the public areas of the theatre and people can monitor their progress. Onassis Centre website: www.sgt.gr

A “deep dive” evaluation of Tickethour confirms that this is a highly competitive system, with an enormous range of functionality.  While their approach to support and service is a huge asset, they have released a back-end management module to enable users to do more for themselves if they wish, and they are adding more CRM functionality.

Like the other Cloud-based SaaS solutions their preference is a commission-based charge.  But their charging regime is negotiable, and we do need to see some subsidised-arts-friendly payment mechanisms which don’t rack up the costs.  Definitely worth considering. And they are extending their international reach, opening an office in the US where they have already sold solutions.

You can contact the Genaral Manager of Tickethour UK, Chris Christoforidis at: cchristoforidis@tickethour.com

Tickethour UK, Tempus Court, Bellfield Road, High Wycombe, HP13 5HA