We’re talking about their ticket search results, of course, because seriously, this is still the Shubert blog and not the latest episode of Girls. One of the little known—but much loved—features on Telecharge.com is the ability to quickly shop for tickets with restrictions, or “parameters.” With these parameters, the website does the work the ticket buyer would have to do. And does it in seconds, rather than minutes or hours.
This happens on Broadway all the time in real life situations, especially for our avid fans. And it’s a huge benefit for blockbusters and long-running musicals, where buyers use parametric search to find available seats (from limited inventory) way into the future.
Here’s an example:
Lots of customers wanted to see Hedwig, but only with Neal Patrick Harris. Of course, lots of other customers wanted to only see it with Andrew Rannels or Michael C. Hall or John Cameron Mitchell, and lots of people saw it with all of them. But the point here is NPH.
In the last couple months of Harris’s run, finding seats at his performances got harder and harder. If a customer checked each individual performance for seats, it would take hours. Which is why over 40% of the people looking for seats for Hedwig during this time got the ticketing system to do the work for them by using parametric search.
These “NPH-only” people wanted the ticketing system
to search only during Neil’s run, only on specific days of the week, and only for specific sections only in the theatre (like center orchestra). So they went to the Find Tickets page, used the date range field, checked the Day of the Week button, and selected their preferred seating area.
This is where the ticketing system took over. Rather than the customer having to wade through performance after performance with little or no seats available, the website skipped right over those performances and took ticket buyers directly to the first performance that had seats in the section they wanted.
Customers then saw their results either on the seating chart (showing the seats for three performances at a time) or in recommended mode (where the system chooses the best available seats for one performance at a time).
A lot of programming logic is needed to do all that, and massive computing horsepower; sometimes the system needs to search through hundreds of performances to find the few (or one!) that meet the customer’s request. And it does this in seconds. Our customers can then toggle between performances to make their selection.
And if none of that is good enough for our picky, Broadway-avid, NPH guy, he can search for other dates or seating sections right on the same page as the seating chart. No going back to the beginning.
People get it parametrically all the time on Telecharge. But making getting it easy for Broadway fans turns out to be pretty complicated stuff.