Okay, I emailed the Box Office yesterday as jolsgonemental alerted us to the fact that the facility to select your own seat was no longer available online. I posted my email in the 'Song For Benty' comments.
Here is 'Tim's' reply:
I can confirm that under the new system supporters will not be able to purchase an exact seat within a block when purchasing tickets on line. I appreciate that some will see this as a potentially negative change to the process but it is an alteration made with good reason.
On our old system, where people were allowed to go in and select specific seats we were almost always left with a large number of single seats to sell
before a match was completely sold out.
Quite understandably, supporters would not necessarily think to make sure that they did not leave odd seats on their own when they were making their booking. However, it did leave us with issues where people would not bring children because they would obviously not want them to sit alone. All in all it was proving to be a poor experience for supporters who only managed to purchase a ticket towards the end of a sale.
Additionally, it is clear that the ability to select specific seats was lengthening the purchase time on the Web while supporters 'shopped' around for the seats they preferred. This situation undoubtedly contributed to some of the system issues that were experienced in the past in terms of speed and robustness. T
he new Ticketmaster system that we now have in place is the same as that used at many of other Premier League clubs and our process in regard to this specific point is now consistent with them. J
ust to clarify, some supporters who have contacted us have suggested that seats are allocated randomly to them. This is not the case. The seats that are allocated to people booking via the Web are those that are deemed 'best available' at the time they are making their booking.
Best Available is defined by the Ticket Office as being back row first and then moving forward in the lower tiers, and front row then moving backwards in the upper tiers. The best seat in a row is always the seat nearest the centre of the pitch.
Obviously, in the event that a supporter does have a need or a desire to have a particular seat they are able to call to book, and in the event that the seat(s) that they want are available they will be able to book them, or as near to it without leaving single seats unsold.
I hope this clarifies this issue. I am sure that supporters will get used to the change as the season progresses.
Well I think it sucks.
And that's my considered opinion.
Here are my niggles in no particular order..
a) You anticipated how unpopular this would be so didn't discuss it with ... YOUR CUSTOMERS...
b) At the class of money you're charging I want to make my own choice of seat.
c) If fans want to bring children/get seats together it their responsibility to book early, not the job of the many to sacrifice choice in order to facilitate the few.
d) The issues of speed and robustness in relation to the Ticketmaster end of things is your business. Spend more money and make the software better, quicker. Dumbing it down doesn't improve it for the end user... YOUR CUSTOMERS.
e) I don't agree with 'the club's' interpretation of 'best seats'. What if you want an end of row seat? Sod it, this comes back to free choice. I want it back!
f) If I have a 'need or desire' to be in a specific seat I can call? Are you taking on more staff to answer the phones?
Yeah, right, and when will you answer this call, exactly, three or four days after the seats go on sale to members?
Over to you......................
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Posted by Harry Hotspur at Thursday, July 05, 2007