As TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2023 fast approaches, we caught up with Jamie Snelgrove, head of Theatre Tokens, the UK-wide gift voucher scheme run by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre.
Snelgrove joined Theatre Tokens four years ago as business development and relationship manager and was promoted to head of business in December 2022. Prior to joining the SOLT division he served as business development director at SeatGeek and head of revenue management (theatre) at See Tickets.
Theatre Tokens is the UK’s only not-for-profit nationwide theatre voucher scheme. It was launched in 1984 to encourage more audience attendance through the power of gifting and now generates £10m for its more than 260 participating theatres.
Here, Snelgrove discusses the major challenges facing the theatre sector, an exciting year of new partnerships for Theatre Tokens, and why he is looking forward to TheTicketingBusiness Forum at Emirates Old Trafford from April 19-20…
What are the key current challenges and opportunities in the sector?
Jamie Snelgrove: “I know this has been spoken about a lot, but customer behaviour seems to have greatly changed post-pandemic. The lead time for bookings has become much shorter as appetite for risk has changed. What if you book three months out and the show is cancelled, or you become ill? Why not wait until the last minute then? That can also, of course, lead to panic and shows discounting heavily to fill seats, which causes customers to expect that and wait even later to book. What is the answer?”
What are the most interesting trends you are witnessing in the sector?
JS: “I think we are seeing a renewed focus on customer journey and improving the booking process for customers. It doesn’t sound like rocket science, but so many online ticketing processes struggle to meet customer expectations. I’ve heard of sales increases of up to 40% by just improving and simplifying the booking journey. Technology develops so quickly so how do we decide what will help us, and what ‘gets in the way’?
“That applies to payment methods also. If a customer wants to pay with ApplePay or GooglePay then let them. And of course, if they have one of the £10m of Theatre Tokens sold each year, make it easy for them to spend it at your theatre!”
What are Theatre Tokens’ plans over the coming year?
JS: “We have big partnerships planned in 2023 to expand on our mission to drive as many sales to theatres across the UK as possible. We have some very large new retail partners joining us (and our current partnerships with Waitrose, John Lewis, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Waterstones, WH Smith and more), UK-wide ticket sales promotions planned, and very exciting plans for our product range.”
What are you looking forward to exploring and discussing at the Forum?
JS: “At the Forum, I’m looking forward to seeing what is happening out there, both in theatre and live entertainment and other sectors, to make sure we aren’t missing out on opportunities or trends we should be considering.”
Explore the future of ticketing with Jamie Snelgrove and hundreds of industry leaders at #TBF23 at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, from April 19-20. BOOK TODAY