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Total Madness - Premium Seats In West End


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#21 igb

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 07:43 PM

View PostLynette, on 13 April 2012 - 12:04 PM, said:

Just points to chuck in; we get charged for booking over the phone AND for online, don't we? It all started with the big venues like Wembley charging booking fees for big concerts. It was a racket then and it is a racket now. You don't go into Marks and Spencer, take the dress to the til and then get told it is a fiver extra for buying it to cover the cost of the process of buying it.

It's all a complete mess.  The mysterious part about theatres and concert venues is the immense number of booking agents who appear to have access to tickets, such that you can buy the same ticket from a number of different outlets at different prices.   That made some sort of sense in the historic past, when buying a ticket for a theatre you couldn't make a separate visit to involved stamped addressed envelopes and postal orders.  But today, for practical purposes all ticket purchases are either over the counter or online (with telephone booking as a special case of online) and are paid for either by cash or by card.  Theatre-land ticket booths for same-day performances are perhaps an exception, as they sell physical tickets for immediate payment, but in general terms the availability of tickets from more than one outlet is a legacy of the past.

To pick up your M&S analogy, it's as though M&S sold their stuff not only through their own shops, but allowed anyone else to re-sell it at margin.  That was the original reason for booking fees: you could either buy at face value from the venue, or for the convenience of the tickets being in your city, or available by post, or whatever, you paid a fee (rather than the reseller getting a discount).  But then the venues wanted a piece of the action, to the point that "face value" is almost meaningless.

There seems to be a similar netherworld for hotel bookings,  but I think the days when some volume travel agents bought rooms at a discount (thus smoothing the hotel's cashflow) and then resold them for what they could get are long gone.  I'm never entirely sure quite where Expedia stand in the value chain, for example: is it possible for a hotel to end up with no rooms available over the counter, but Expedia holding an allocation?  Are Expedia acting as a principal?   Likewise with ticket agencies: have they bought Row C in advance, or are they just dabbling in the same online booking system that the venue's own website uses?

I suspect that in ten years' time, it'll all shake out.  Most hotels now have a promise, albeit one for which Hamlet Act 1, scene 4, 716 applies, that their online price is guaranteed the lowest with the same book conditions.  Airlines are increasingly going direct, and the advantages you get from buying a hotel and airline bundle are rather limited.  ABTA bonding isn't worthless, but it's a rather circular benefit as it's usually the bankruptcy of the agent that causes a problem.  So probably in a decade's time, theatre tickets will be sold direct, at face value, again.

#22 Lynette

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:34 PM

They could use the new technology to some effect - an app to book tickets! But I agree, it will change. I am cynical enough to believe either through stress on the industry ortotal meltdown of the industry.

#23 Dawnstar

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:06 PM

View Postarmadillo, on 13 April 2012 - 12:32 PM, said:

I could be maligning the Adelphi but I know I recently booked *at the box office* of a theatre on the Strand and was charged a booking fe!!!!
My local theatre charges a 2.50 booking fee per ticket whether you buy by phone, internet or in person. It's the only theatre I know that has the nerve to charge you a booking fee for over the counter sales when you put in the work by going to the box office. Sadly as it's my only local theatre I can't boycott it in protest! Instead I insist on buying over the internet so at least they have to post the tickets to me & therefore I get something for my 2.50!

#24 Lynette

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:19 PM

Bonkers - why don't you ask a local reporter to investigate?

#25 armadillo

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:37 PM

That is truly appalling. I think you should name and shame. It's as if you went into M and S and they charged you an extra 2.50 for the privilege of swiping a  bucket of mini choccie swiss rolls :o

#26 Dawnstar

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:00 PM

Sorry,  missed the replies. it's Cambridge Arts Theatre. They introduced a 2 booking fee about 3-4 years ago which went up to 2.50 recently. Their website says why they have a booking fee:

Quote

All tickets for events at the Arts Theatre now carry a 2.50 booking fee in addition to the published prices. The booking fee was introduced to increase direct income for the Theatre. Because ticket revenue is divided between many different parties an increase in ticket prices would not necessarily benefit the Theatre. By adding a booking fee and handling it as a separate item, we can ensure that every penny goes directly to the Theatre to help us protect its growth and longevity.

But I still find it annoying! The booking fee combined with ticket price increases means that the cheapest seats which cost 10 about 5 years ago now cost 17.50 inc booking fee, which is a heck of a price increase compared to inflation.

#27 Honoured Guest

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:35 PM

Cambridge Arts Theatre is in dire need of this extra booking fee because it bungs its chief executive 150,000 a year.

http://www.cambridge...00-29072011.htm

#28 armadillo

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:01 PM

http://www.guardian....heatregoers-out

"Playwright Richard Bean's recent denunciation of the damage ticket touts are doing to London's theatre shines the spotlight on a business which, while technically legal, is making a mockery of the industry's attempts to attract a new young audience. Online resale websites make it easy for the touts to do business well away from the public eye; you can still see the occasional scalper on the pavement in the West End, but the big profits are made online."

We all know there are offers for a lot of shows but there's no doubt that ridiucous prices for the tiny number of sell-out shows do put off first timers.




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