March 11, 2014
Dear Red Butte Garden Members & Concertgoers,
Bulbs are blooming in the Garden, which means the Red Butte Garden Outdoor Concert Series is just around the corner. Last year, the Garden’s internal ticketing software crashed during the initial on-sale period, creating confusion, frustration, and problems for ticket buyers and the Garden. That experience made it clear that we needed to move in a new direction.
On May 15, 2013, we issued a survey asking for your input on the ticket sales process. We received an astounding 2,682 responses! I read through every word of every response and the Garden’s concert, membership, and information technology staff spent months researching options to improve your ticket buying experience.
That research convinced us we needed to switch to an external ticketing service to handle the tremendous point-in-time demand of our first day of sales. We considered staggering sales over time based on membership level or length of membership but your responses showed no great enthusiasm for either of those options.
Our Solution – A completely new external ticketing service – Ticketfly
Ticketfly works with some of the best venues and promoters in North America. Among its many clients are Austin City Limits Live, Virgin Mobile FreeFest, the Denver Botanical Garden’s summer concert series, and Burning Man, where it recently sold 38,000 tickets in 44 minutes (Reno Gazette Journal). Ticketfly has sold shows out in venues of our size in less than one minute, and for one recent sale handled 70,000 open shopping carts at one time with the longest wait time being 15 minutes. Red Butte Garden, by comparison, expects to have one-tenth of that volume on our first day of sales.
The switch to an external ticketing provider, however, comes with changes to our past ticket buying process. I urge you to pay attention to these changes so that your ticket buying experience is smooth and uneventful.
- First-day ticket sales to Garden Members on Monday, April 28 will start in the evening at 7:00 p.m. MDT when tickets will only be sold online;
- In-person and phone sales will begin at 9 a.m. MDT on Tuesday, April 29;
- A Ticketfly profile and a current Red Butte Garden membership will be required to purchase tickets online during the Member-only presale period;
- Ticketfly will use the list of Red Butte Garden Members current as of 9:00 p.m. MDT on Sunday, April 27;
- The Garden will suspend membership sales and renewals from 9:00 p.m. Sunday, April 27 until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 29;
- If you do not have a current Red Butte Garden membership as of 9:00 p.m. MDT on April 27, 2014, you will not be able to purchase tickets during the first day of online ticket sales;
- When you purchase tickets online, the email address you have on file with Red Butte Garden will be your “Promo Code” for membership authentication–if you do not know your email address, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the on-sale date;
- There will be a per-ticket service fee for online and phone orders;
- Season packages will not be offered this year;
- Ticket scanning technology will be used at the admission gates. Tickets reported lost or stolen will be invalidated. We urge caution in purchasing tickets from third parties.
The reasons for these changes are as follows: (1) In the survey, members reported that it is a hardship to purchase tickets at 9:00 a.m. due to work and family responsibilities. So we moved the on-sale time to the evening when many of you will be home and have less time pressure. We are trying to be respectful of your time and do not want you to feel compelled to take time from work to purchase tickets online or to have to stand in line for hours. (2) First-day sales are restricted to online sales so that everyone will be in the same situation. You will not have to guess whether it is best to buy in-person or online when tickets first go on sale. (3) Since Ticketfly can sell concerts tickets extremely fast, we are concerned that even the people who would have been first in line for in-person sales would have found a few shows sold out on them. (4) The long lines for first-day in-person sales were becoming problematic for our parking lot and other operations.
We believe these changes will result in more equal access to tickets and a smoother ticket purchasing experience. Nevertheless, our venue has a finite capacity. For the last few years, three or four of the 26-28 shows sold out on the first day of sales. With 3,000 tickets per show and 9,000 members, not everyone will get a ticket to every show they want to see, regardless of how we sell tickets.
To ensure you have the best chance to get the tickets you want, please remember to have a current Garden membership and a Ticketfly profile set up in advance so that your online ticket purchases will go smoothly and quickly. I suggest setting up your profile as soon as possible and exploring Ticketfly prior to April 28 to ensure you are familiar with it.
Thank you for supporting the Garden’s concert series. In mid-April, look for the lineup in the mail, in e-blasts, and on our website. It promises to be a spectacular season.
Gregory J. Lee
Go to: www.ticketfly.com today and set up your profile!