Local residents have been asking Fenella why there is a ticket charge each time they purchase tickets to see shows at St David’s Hall. Here is the reply from Rob Hopwood, Operations Manager :
Dear Cllr Bowden,
ST DAVID’S HALL: TICKET SERVICE CHARGE
I am disappointed to hear that you have received a number of complaints about the booking fees charged by the Hall whether they book in person or on-line and would like to offer an explanation as to the rationale behind these charges.
Due to guidance issued on the law on debit and credit card charges (6 April 2013) from the Committee on Advertising Practice and the Advertising Standards, Local Authority venues across the UK were required to review the charges they applied to ticket purchases. Further guidance from the Advertising standards Agency was requested by the Hall.
In order to apply a consistent approach and remain within the 2013 legislation St David’s Hall & New Theatre examined in great detail how we could simplify the booking fees and, after careful consideration, determined to eliminate the term booking fee and introduced a Ticket Service Charge (TSC) which is applied to all methods of payment and is applied per transaction and not per ticket.
We are unable to differentiate between cash in person or card as the TSC is charged to pay for whole provision of service and not just the Credit / debit card commission.
The original TSC of £2.95 per transaction was applied to all new shows going on sale from 20/02/2014 for St David’s Hall and from 1 September 2014 for New Theatre.
The TSC replaced the booking fee, formerly arranged in agreement with promoters for a significant amount of events but relatively few at the New Theatre, of £1.50 gross per ticket.
The TSC also replaced the £1.75 on-line transaction fee previously charged by both the New Theatre and St David’s Hall.
There are a number of events which are exempt from this charge, including events organised by the St David’s Hall & New Theatre A2 Arts Active Community & Education Department, as well as any event where the top price was £12 or less, prior to 1st April ’16, or subsequently £14 or less, ensuring accessibility, particularly to family audiences and as a public run venue the aim is to keep the fees as low as possible.
A before and after example – using St David’s Hall as an example:
Before: Advertising copy would read – Tickets £28, booking fee £1.50 per ticket. If booking on-line transaction fee of £1.75 per transaction.
Now: Tickets £28 plus a Ticket Charge of £3.95 per transaction
How we use the money
We introduced the TSC for a number of reasons. Many of our customers do not realise that in fact on average 80% of the income generated by ticket sales gets passed directly back to the event promoters, who do not contribute to the cost of running a booking service 24 hours of each day. The income from the TSC is used in various ways to benefit our customers’ overall experience of visiting the venue, not all of them directly applicable to the purchase process but to benefit the upkeep and development of the overall service. Here are some of them:
- Investment in New Technologies: In the fast moving world of new technology, it is easy to get left behind. So that we can be sure we are able to communicate well with audiences of the future, and ensure the venue’s health well into the 21st century, we need to invest in new technology and infrastructure to respond to our customers’ needs in this rapidly developing area.
- Production and Process: The TSC covers the cost of producing tickets and processing orders. This includes investment in ticket-printing machinery and new on-line sales processes including mobile phone booking.
- Continued Provision of Excellent Personal Service: We aim to provide exceptional service to customers whether they visit us in person, call on the ‘phone or interact with us online. This releatively small charge per transaction will enable us to continue to do this in the face of increasing demands on valuable resources. This will ensure against possible future options of using an independent external box office service, an option we are reluctant to entertain since the fees passed on to our customers in this event would be much higher and there would be a loss of personal contact, support and specialist knowledge of the venue that we feel our customers deserve from us.We feel the TSC demonstrates best practice and legal compliance; it simplifies the application of multiple charges; provides a consistent approach for our venues; and raises additional revenue – vital in this age of ever increasing financial pressures – across the venues of up to £100k – £130k pa and is seen as fair and acceptable by most when compared to external tickets agencies add on charges and booking fees of up to £9 per ticket. Some major national theatre chains operate multiple charges which can add up to £9 per £22.50 ticket (Jason Manford) and as an additional thought many of our customers book in multiples of performances further reducing the per ticket costsI hope you will agree that this small charge is a valuable way of ensuring we can offer exceptional service and keep providing outstanding experiences for our customers in the face of challenges ahead.
Roger HopwoodNeuadd Dewi Sant / St David’s HallRheolwr Celfyddydau a Theatrau Arts & Theatres Manager