Ticketek vouchers: Buying show tickets should be fun

After the number of shows Mike and I saw last year (at last count, it was nine, ten if you count the second time we saw Priscilla), someone very thoughtfully gave us Ticketek vouchers of a significant denomination for Christmas. Sadly, this year there has been less we have wanted to see, and as a result we decided we wanted to spend the vouchers on going to see the closing night of Priscilla (that would be time number four). You see (and this is part of the user experience problems with the vouchers) we have to use the vouchers within six months, or they become worthless (never mind that rock tours last literally years, and shows run for months, nor that Ticketek has the money for the vouchers whether we use them or not, we have to find something we want to see within six months). This limitation means that we have not been able to save the vouchers for something we really wanted to see, and thus considerably reduced their value to us as a product.

The situation got worse, however, when we tried to spend the vouchers. I read the terms and conditions and discovered to my dismay that rather than book online (as we did for each and every one of the events we went to last year), we had to use the vouchers in a Ticketek agency (most of which are open during working hours). There should be no technological reason for this, as the vouchers appear to have unique numbers on them (and other vendors use online vouchers all the time), but nonetheless this is the way they must be used. Fortunately, there is an agency in a music store not far from where Mike works, so he went at lunch time to try and buy the VIP class tickets we wanted for the closing night of Priscilla. The agency worker told him that the VIP class tickets were sold out, so he phoned me asking what I wanted to do. Being somewhat sceptical, I looked up the VIP class tickets on the Ticketek website and found I could purchase them there. After a little to-ing and fro-ing where the Ticketek agent suggested I try and purchase the tickets online “because I wouldn’t be able to” and me saying I was only going to risk that if the agent would pay for the tickets if they went through, the agent phoned Ticketek and found out that in fact there were still VIP tickets available, and we might be able to use the vouchers to buy them through the agency at the theatre, but that he did not have access to them from his system. It turns out (after a significant amount of running around on Mike’s part) that you can use vouchers to purchase VIP tickets from the venue, but by the time Mike got this far there were only single seats left. Maybe we’ll see Priscilla again in New Zealand.

There are a number of usability problems with this scenario, affecting different people in the equation:

  • The six month timeframe can significantly limit the use of the vouchers to recipients due to long touring seasons and short-ish pre-season availability of tickets
  • Though it seems to me that there is no technological reason why the vouchers should not be used online, they can only be used in person, making it much more difficult in today’s “always on” world to actually purchase tickets with them.
  • The agencies where the tickets are sold do not necessarily have access to all kinds of tickets, so the vouchers can not necessarily be used to purchase the tickets you would like.
  • The information screen that the agencies have does not appear to indicate that they don’t have access to tickets (as opposed to tickets being unavailable) clearly enough — customers can be misled into believing that the show of their choice is sold out, where all they really needed to do was go to the venue (though that could be difficult if the venue is in another city).

So, while the Ticketek vouchers are a lovely gift, they have proven significantly difficult to actually use to buy tickets, which makes the process of using them less like fun and more like hard work. Ticketek could significantly improve the experience of using their vouchers by extending the period for which they are valid, and making them available to use online. In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for Ticketek-sold shows that are coming up? Mike and I have three months left to spend our vouchers.


4 Responses to “Ticketek vouchers: Buying show tickets should be fun”

  1. 1 tony Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 8:05 am

    No suggestions, sorry, but I hope you send this to Ticketek and see what they say. I think a one year validity on vouchers is pretty standard, and there’s really no reason why Ticketek vouchers should ever expire.

  2. 2 danamckay Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Tony, I’ve emailed my complaint to Ticketek…we shall see what they have to say, if anything.

  3. 3 Toula Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    We are having similar trouble buying tickets with our vouchers (they are expiring in one month!) I took time out of my day to visit a ticketek outlet as that is the only way to use them, – I wanted to buy tickets to Cavalia which is shown on the ticketek website, only to be informed that I couldn’t use my vouchers for Cavalia as the tickets were being sold by another company!!! What.a joke ! I simply am frustrated, I would NEVER buy Ticketek vouchers as a gift!

  4. 4 Lindsay wright Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Whatever you do, NEVER give Ticketek vouchers!
    The voucher says that you can book on line, this is untrue.
    You are told to go to the nearest agency, which I did (60km) to be told that they don’t know how to book the tickets.
    I returned home rang Ticketek and was told that the only way to book tickets would be for me to pay for the tickets and they would put the money back in my account immediately
    Six weeks, eight phone calls to Ticketek, three promises that the money would be in my account within three days and I am still waiting for my refund.

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