Ticketek set to go WAP

Ticketek will from Monday offer New Zealand's first transactional WAP service.

Ticketek will from Monday offer New Zealand's first transactional WAP service.

Owners of WAP phones will be able to enter the new Ticketek site and find and buy tickets online. Introduction of WAP sales is part of a major Web site revamp based on code developed for Ticketek Australia.

From Monday, Ticketek will also rebrand as ticketek.com. Customers who go to that address will be presented with a world map showing Ticketek locations - Australian, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Argentina - and will have their choice stored as a cookie.

New Zealand is the second territory after Australia to take up the new version of the Ticketek Website. As is the case in Australia, anyone who wants to use the WAP service will have to join the My Ticketek customer scheme, which will set up an account for them.

Ticketek New Zealand general manager Ben Unger says the most sales to have come via the Internet for any event has been around 11% of tickets for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The average is between four and five percent, a figure he hopes to at least double with the new site.

"I actually expect that some people will want to go to a physical booking office. Part of the entertainment experience - unfortunately, because it's the most expensive way of selling tickets - is the smiling face say 'who's going to win?'.

"It's going to be really interesting to see how many people take up the WAP option. If you're waiting in a queue to buy tickets to Ricky Martin and you've got a WAP phone, why wait? Realistically, for some big rock show it will do okay, but for the others I don't know. I can't imagine an opera ticket being sold via WAP."

Unger says the uptake of WAP has been hampered by the fact that "there are no real services that you can use your WAP phone for. You can get Stock Exchange quotes and all that, and traffic reports - but then working out how to unsubscribe is one of the most annoying things I've ever done."

He says the company had considered using a short messaging service to phones.

"In a typical week, we put about 200 events on sale. And events change - prices go up or down, new seats become available. We worked out how many messages we would have send out to someone who was interested in rock 'n' roll and they would've spent the whole day on the phone. It ends up being junk mail, and I think you have to be very conscious of not letting WAP do that, or people won't use it."

Unger expects more reliable benefits from the introduction of the My Ticketek database, which in Australia has 50,000 members.

"It's great for an event promoter, because they can now ring and say 'who wants to go and see Blink 182?' and we actually know. I'm hopeful that that will actually lead to a whole bunch of special deals."

Unger says the company's main partner on the WAP venture has been Nokia, although Vodafone has also been supportive.

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