5 Common Fan Objections to Digital Tickets — And How to Handle Them

By January 28, 2016Colleges, Featured, Home, Sports
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Experiencing a negative spiral of objections as a result of your move to digital tickets? Use these simple responses to help you turn digital ticketing naysayers into your biggest advocates

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for — your venue has finally adopted digital ticketing. You can’t wait to hear the positive buzz about how easy it is to access tickets and enter the venue. On top of that, you’re eager to get your hands on all of the valuable data that will help you understand fan behavior and make better decisions.

Instead, something else happens. You find yourself on the receiving end of angry phone calls, tweets, Facebook messages,  letters, articles, etc., all citing complaints about digital tickets and begging you to bring back hard copy tickets. So what’s your recourse?

Changing the game

Technology has drastically changed the ticketing industry over the last decade. Tickets across a variety of industries are now paperless. Fans are using mobile devices more than ever to both purchase tickets and enter games. Teams and venues are implementing new tools to help them engage their fans (mobile apps, beacons, seat upgrades). And it all boils down to one thing: convenience.

The majority of your fans will likely embrace the change from paper to digital tickets with open arms. However, some fans aren’t as willing to sacrifice a beloved tradition for ease — and they will let you know it.

Fan objections to digital tickets can arise for a number of different reasons, depending on their situation. For instance, a long-time season ticket holder may be more vocal than a single-ticket buyer. Regardless, you need to be prepared with appropriate responses. Here are 5 common objections that teams and venues adopting digital tickets face, along with some simple approaches for responding to them.

1. “I can’t save a digital ticket as a souvenir.”

How to handle it: Fans expressing this feedback are sentimental about their paper tickets. They likely treasure them as keepsakes and memorabilia and if you walked into their house, you’d probably find tickets framed on their walls or in scrapbooks.

If you encounter this objection, don’t get defensive. Rather, try asking some questions that encourage them to explain why they prefer paper tickets over digital tickets. Next, help them put the issue into perspective, emphasizing the benefits of digital tickets, including:

  • No lost or stolen tickets that can be counterfeited
  • Manage all of their tickets online
  • All they need to enter games is their smartphone or ID (depends on your situation)
  • They can transfer tickets to clients, friends or family at any time, even at the last minute, without having to drop them off at their home or will call
  • For corporate group tickets, they can eliminate the hassle, time and risk of managing and distributing tickets to co-workers.

Despite your best efforts, you may continue to face an objection like this for years to come, especially with older generations. If that’s the case, consider talking with senior executives about offering commemorative tickets or other collectible items for championship or playoff games and big-time events. Fans need to know that you care about their overall experience, and offering occasional incentives will help you gain buy in for some of your strategic priorities.

2. “I’d rather wait and see what other fans do.”

How to handle it: This group of fans falls into the category of people who “…need to see it to believe it.” If they haven’t personally experienced the value of digital tickets yet, you need to show them.

Some tactics for winning over these customers include:

  • Offer them tickets to special events (team/player meet and greets, select-a-seat, chalk talks, etc.) where digital tickets are the only method of entry;
  • Share quotes or testimonials from other season ticket holders and fans who can speak to the benefits of digital tickets;
  • Invite them to the venue for one-on-one education sessions with a ticketing rep who can slowly walk them through managing their digital tickets;
  • Provide them with a cost comparison of paper vs. digital tickets. If there’s a significant reduction, walk them through how much money they will save by adopting digital tickets.

3. “It’s too difficult to give away tickets to my kids, clients or friends.”

How to handle it: Some fans may be concerned that they can’t give tickets away as easily to group members or kids who don’t have an ID.

Your response will largely depend on organization’s policies around the transferability of your tickets and any restrictions you have in place. If tickets are transferrable, carefully explain how easy and convenient it is to get tickets into the hands of your kids, clients or fellow group members. For example, with Flash Seats®, fans can transfer their tickets to anyone with Internet access at anytime, even just minutes before an event. All they need is the email addresses of the people they want to transfer tickets to.

To emphasize the simplicity of transferring digital tickets, compare it to what they would have to do alternatively with paper tickets. For example, you can say, “Consider this: With paper tickets, you need to drive tickets over to your friends/family, wait for them outside of the venue  or drop them off at will call. Alternatively, digital tickets make transferring tickets much easier. All you need is the person’s email address. Once they receive their tickets, they can access them by creating their own account. It’s that simple.”

4. “You’re trying to stop me from reselling my tickets.”

How to handle it: Many fans think that teams adopt digital tickets as a way to prevent them from reselling their tickets across other online marketplaces. If they purchased the tickets, why shouldn’t they be allowed to resell them wherever they want?

This is a complicated issue that many teams and venues are dealing with, and your response depends on whether or not your team/venue allows the resale of tickets.  If so, can fans sell their tickets anywhere or are they restricted to selling them through your team’s or venue’s official marketplace?

If fans are allowed to resell their tickets, walk them through your policies and make sure they are aware of where they can and cannot post their tickets for sale. If you have an official resale marketplace, explain that it is the only marketplace that’s endorsed by your team/venue and it’s the most secure place to sell your tickets. There are no guarantees elsewhere.

If fans are prohibited from reselling their tickets, explain why. Walk them through the threats of selling their tickets online (e.g. dealing with unknown buyers, getting less money than face value, etc.) and present them with an alternative, such as transferring tickets instead.

5. “I don’t want you to have my personal information.”

How to handle it:  Some fans are afraid that by saying “yes” to digital tickets, they are signing up to be mass marketed to by the team or venue. The objection presents a valid issue, but it’s also a reality that consumers need to accept in today’s digitally-driven world. Every time they make a purchase on Amazon or sign up for a loyalty program, they are handing over personal information that brands can use to communicate with them.

With that being said, you need to inform fans about how your organization uses the information collected about them. Consider inserting these points into the conversation:

  • [Insert Your Team/Venue Name] uses the highest security measures available to ensure that our customer data is protected. No one can see or have access to your credit card, driver’s license or account password;
  • The amount of information that [Insert Your Team/Venue Name] asks for is the same, if not less, than other loyalty or prepaid retail programs;
  • The information collected helps [Insert Your Team/Venue Name] learn more about you so that we can continue to make your experience even better in the future.

It’s likely that you’ll face at least a couple of these objections during your initial push to convert season ticket holders and fans over to digital tickets. And while it’s easy to get frustrated, consider fan objections as an opportunity to have a conversation, learn more about them and collect valuable feedback for your organization. In some cases, you may need to provide some incentives (no extra fees, free tickets, etc.) to get them to come around. For the most part, you’ll have no problem moving past these hurdles. And hopefully, after trying it out a few times, you’ll have past naysayers turning into full-fledged digital ticketing evangelists.