Roundhouse Ticketing Case Study

TrafficDefender provided Roundhouse with a Virtual Waiting Room to protect the uptime and performance of their ticketing platform.

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About The Client: Roundhouse

Roundhouse is a world-famous live performance space and a charity that supports work with young people.

The biggest names in music and theatre come to play in this historic London music venue with tickets sold online from their own website.

They care about their customers being able to get tickets instead of touts and want to ensure they have a good experience.

“I would definitely recommend TrafficDefender as it is so easy to support, understand and the customer service is exceptional”

Oliver Marcus, Digital Marketing Manager

Client Challenges

Budgetary Constraints

As a charity, Roundhouse are tasked with running financially economic operation. They must ensure the smooth operation of their website during peak onsales without reallocating strict budgets to spend on uneconomical infrastructure that wouldn’t be needed most of the year.

Website Slowdown

Roundhouse’s third-party partners were unable to handle the traffic load during sales for popular artists, causing huge issues for their ticketing system.

A lack of strategy in place for managing the system meant problems were dealt with in a reactive fashion, often with temporary fixes. As well as increased loading times and downtime, this caused incredibly disruptive payment issues, negatively affecting employees and customers.

Shadow Payments

Customers would add tickets to their basket and click through to the payment where the bank then holds payment but due to time-outs this is not transferred to Roundhouse and it looks like an error as no payment has gone through.

When the ticketing company doesn’t have an order like this it is known as a shadow payment. Shadow payments cause customer complaints because although the money has not left their account it is not available to them.

Customer Complaints

Employees aren’t notified of shadow payments so only become aware of the problem when customers complain. It can take days to solve invisible non-payments and communicate with customers, during which time the tickets have sold out.

Reputational Damage

Poor customer service and unhappy customers can let the world know in seconds across multiple channels. In a recent study 95% of people will tell others about a bad customer experience, and 88% of respondents have been influenced by a review when making a decision.

Relationship With Promoters Suffer

If promoters lose confidence in Roundhouse’s ticketing system they might take their business to another venue or demand a higher ticket share.

If Roundhouse were to get a smaller ticket share it will reduce profits. Moving away from a 50-50 ticket split has the potential to damage long-term relationships between promoters and the venue. Roundhouse could also lose out on secondary ticket allocations and potentially ruin their relationships with artists.

The Solution – TrafficDefender’s Virtual Waiting Room

TrafficDefender provided Roundhouse with a Virtual Waiting Room to protect the uptime and performance of their ticketing platform.

Guaranteed Website Uptime During Peak Ticket Sales

When the number of visitors browsing the Roundhouse ticketing platform reaches the pre-set limit, TrafficDefender creates a customisable waiting room in front of the website and places, excess visitors, into a controlled queue.

This safety layer covers webpages for those on the purchase pathway. Affording more capacity for customers who have progressed to making purchases. This optimised the flow of visitors buying tickets.

Actual Live Pool Counts and Queue Lengths For The Cat Empire Ticket Sales
Actual Live Pool Counts and Queue Lengths For The Cat Empire Ticket Sales

This Virtual Waiting Room prevents the site from becoming overloaded, slowing down and crashing, which can prompt promoters with a functional ticket sales platform to demand Roundhouse’s unsold tickets so that they can sell them through their own ticketing website.

Roundhouse Digital Marketing Manager, Oliver Marcus, said: “One of the best things about TrafficDefender is that as a team we can now focus on other areas that need attention as we know it will hold the ticketing website up as we expect it to.”

He continues “The Virtual Waiting Room is available all the time, so it makes us confident in the whole system. It is easy to see how many people there are in the queue and to determine the number of customers we can allow through.”

The Results

Enabling Multiple Concurrent High Demand Ticket Sales

Roundhouse was aware that without a means to control the flow of traffic hitting during peak loads a single popular artist could cause website failure. Today with the TrafficDefender Virtual Waiting Room they are confident in running multiple ticket sales in parallel.

The screenshot below shows the Virtual Waiting Room automatically coming into action during a peak traffic spike caused by tickets going on sales for two separate artists simultaneously, in this case Franz Ferdinand and Thom Yorke.

When the threshold was hit, each next user was placed into a fair and non-skippable queue in an ‘first in, first out’ basis without any concern of website failure.

Queue Lengths For James Bay Onsale
Queue Lengths For James Bay Onsale

Time Saved

One of the biggest differences TrafficDefender makes to the business is the time it frees for our social media and visitor services teams. Previously, an onsale would consume the entire working day, now they can get on with other work as there are minimal negative comments and complaints.

Oliver said: “Popular events that will sell out on the day now do so in under 45 minutes whereas before they would have taken over an hour and there was a strong possibility the system would fall over.”

James Bay and Thom Yorke are just a couple of examples where the success of the onsale meant our social media team did not have to deal with complaints. “The simple to customise queue page has undoubtedly helped us to improve customer satisfaction.”

Future Innovation

Visitors often store tickets in multiple baskets across different web browsers when trying to purchase a ticket in high demand and do not consider emptying one, Oliver concludes, “We will continue to use TrafficDefender and the next step in optimising the flow of customers moving through the website buying tickets is to alter time-out lengths for select webform pages in real-time. We want to explore how best to notify people about reducing time-outs when tickets in baskets do not appear to be moving. This may involve pop up messaging and a time-out boost button.”

Customised Branded Queue

TrafficDefender made it easy for Roundhouse to ensure their customers understand what is happening. They included their Roundhouse Twitter feed on the customisable queuing page as the dynamic content is more interesting and engaging for customers who are waiting. This feed was set to refresh every 15 seconds to keep customers informed.

Customised Branded Queue Pages
Customised Branded Queue Pages

Superior Service

Visitors often store tickets in multiple baskets across different web browsers when trying to purchase a ticket in high demand and do not consider emptying one

“The customer support we’ve received has been excellent. Really, really good. Quick, helpful and proactive in making suggestions for making our experience better and improving the results we get from TrafficDefender.” – Oliver Marcus, Digital Marketing Manager

About The TrafficDefender Virtual Waiting Room

When the maximum number of visitors is reached, TrafficDefender delivers a waiting page to all additional visitors without any access to your servers ensuring protection for your servers and quality of service to your site visitors.

By putting all additional visitors into a fair, first-in-first-out waiting room we ensure that all visitors get the best possible experience and your site remains available 24/7 no matter how busy it gets.

TrafficDefender Virtual Waiting Room is a scalable, cloud-based service that sits in front of your website and controls access for all visitors. To learn more about our solution, sign up for a Virtual Waiting Room Trial to demo the product and test it on your live site or mobile app.

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