BitDepth 665 - February 03

Derren Joseph's Dekatickets adapts to market forces and now offers tickets for calypso tents.
The virtual party ticket

The Dekatickets website has shifted focus from airlines to artistes, reflecting the company's seasonal emphasis on event ticketing.

When last we saw Derren Joseph, he was
leaning proudly over a foosball table in his home office. Since then he has become a Guardian columnist and expanded his ticketing business to embrace the ticketing needs of events, with a special emphasis on Carnival.
It's an idea that he was kicking around when we met most of a year ago and Joseph's persuasive charm has since won over TUCO, making Dekatickets the first supplier of e-ticketing services to the oldest commercial Carnival event in Trinidad and Tobago's history.

All of TUCO's shows and all the calypso tents, even those that aren't controlled by the organisation are being offered on Joseph's online ticketing service.
"We were shopping around," said Eric Taylor, TUCO president, better known as the Revue's Pink Panther. "Derren was a student of Short Pants. Is one thing to have an expert onboard and another for the expert to understand the culture. We felt that he would understand what makes a calypsonian tick."
Joseph's formula for addressing the slow adoption of credit cards and local skittishness about spending money online remains the same. Customers book their tickets online or by phone using the same technology engine that drives the Dekatickets travel service.

How an e-ticket works at the tent
Customers receive a text message with a unique identifier that they take to the nearest Surepay outlet or one of the other participating businesses, where they can pay for the ticket using cash or Linx. Dekaticket's system is updated with the payment, and a confirmation text is sent.
The event system diverges a bit from the airline procedure at that point, as Joseph explained via e-mail. 
"Depending on the size or nature of the event, they could have a physical list at the door against which they tick names (think about how the VIP line for a night club works, once your name is on the list you're in). Alternatively, there's a laptop at the door against which the numbers are quickly verified (using the same software that scanners would use to verify a physical ticket with a bar code)."

According to Taylor, "No hiccups have been reported, the process has been running smoothly and the feedback from the tent managers has been positive, it's the first time we have a website and can sell tickets online."
Lorraine Pouchet, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Incoming Tour Operators Association had some "hiccups" with the T&T Road Trip project, a roaming version of the TDC's tourism park.

E-ticketing hits the road
"There were issues with handling the customers and we needed to do some training in the handling of tourism customers to ensure that things were more amenable," Pouchet said.
The Road Tour tickets were primarily handled by Dekatickets, but the Association also took bookings when they were in malls doing promotions or if a customer couldn't book 48 hours in advance.
"Customers were quite happy about going to the HiLo in their area," Pouchet said. "If we did the project again, we would certainly use the system again. I think it was an innovative idea."

Joseph is skittish about revealing sales numbers, also declining to reveal past clients and comparisons between traditional paper tickets and e-ticketing for those projects, citing "confidentiality."
But he is hopeful about the prospects of expanding his service into more Carnival related projects.
"(The service is) definitely useful for services where there are distribution and inventory management challenges. At the moment, it is quite manual, ticket stock is deposited at different geographical locations, so If the outlet in south is sold out, someone needs to drive up north, pick up from the outlet with the surplus and ferry it to the outlet that's out of stock."
"On the night of the event, the manager thinks he's sold all his tickets. Next thing the outlet from the west, rings him to say that 500 tickets fell behind the counter, they just found them while cleaning up. Sorry, but they really thought they sold everything. That's a true story from a promoter by the way!"

BitDepth #626 - Tickets booked by mobile phone
blog comments powered by Disqus