Tourism Vancouver renews deal with online ticket provider

Tourism Vancouver, which has just renewed its contract with RepeatSeat Ltd., will be among the first RepeatSeat customers to use a new, integrated online and point-of-sale ticket sales system that Calgary-based ticketing company will roll out this fall.

Seven-year-old RepeatSeat has provided technology infrastructure for Vancouver’s Tickets Tonight, the city’s day-of-event discount ticket operation, for several years, said Bob Christianson, executive vice-president of RepeatSeat. Tickets Tonight is also a full-service Ticketmaster outlet, and a number of larger Vancouver arts organizations sell their tickets through that prominent ticket agency, explained Paul Sontz, manager of Tickets Tonight, but RepeatSeat was chosen to address the needs of smaller groups – RepeatSeat is more affordable for them, he said.

On April 1 Tourism Vancouver took over full operational responsibility for Tickets Tonight, previously run by a partnership between Tourism Vancouver and the Alliance for Arts and Culture.

This fall, RepeatSeat will introduce a new version of its ticketing and customer data system, built on Microsoft Corp. .Net technology and SQL Server database software. Tickets Tonight will be one of the first customers to move to the new system, Christianson said.

RepeatSeat started in 1999 with an online-only ticketing system, offered to sports and entertainment operators who put their own names on the RepeatSeat technology. The company soon realized that many of its customers needed a point-of-sale capability to complement the online tool, because some customers still prefer to buy tickets at a physical box office, Christianson said. So RepeatSeat added that capability.

Tickets Tonight uses both facets of the system, offering tickets through its www.ticketstonight.ca Web site and through a box office located in the city’s downtown TouristInfo Centre.

In its four years of operation, Sontz said, Tickets Tonight has sold more than $2 million worth of tickets.

RepeatSeat’s new version will be significantly easier to use, according to Christianson. For instance, he said, developing seat maps for customers’ venues has been a sizeable job with the old system, to the point that RepeatSeat generally does the work for the customer. With the new system, he said, it will be easy for customers to build and modify their own seat maps.

The new release will also help organizations that use RepeatSeat better understand their customers and market to them, Christianson said. “I thing what people are going to be most encouraged by is the level of reporting and data management that comes from it.” That will help customers like Tourism Vancouver improve their marketing, Christianson said.

Sontz said the improved reporting will be a major plus for Tickets Tonight. “My dream with the reporting is that the user – this is the producer – would have access with their own login and password and then they would not have to call me to send reports to them,” he said.

The new RepeatSeat software will provide that. Another benefit will be the ability for producers to create their own messages to customers who buy tickets, rather than all sales confirmations having to carry the same message.

Other RepeatSeat customers include the Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton’s Francis Winspear Centre for Music, Cineplex Galaxy Cinemas, and Artsopolis, a San Jose, Calif.-based organization that sells tickets to cultural events in Silicon Valley.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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