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Scottish Rugby, based at BT Murrayfield - and best known for hosting Scottish Rugby home games, the Six Nations and Autumn Internationals - sees hundreds of thousands of spectators over the course of each season.
Lack of ticket security
Previously, Scottish Rugby primarily relied on paper ticket delivery before moving to e-tickets some years ago - where tickets were then delivered as PDFs to fans via email. However, Scottish Rugby remained continuously challenged by secondary market sales and were committed to ensuring tickets remained in the hands of genuine fans.
High customer enquiry volumes
On and in advance of matchdays, Scottish Rugby experienced high volumes of customer enquiries and lengthy queues at their ticket office consisting of supporters with lost or misplaced paper tickets.
Whilst the governing body held the data of lead purchasers, in a post-Covid world, the benefits of knowing all event attendees was evident. Being able to share important messages directly with the individuals attending was essential.
Stakeholder allocation management
Managing stakeholder ticket allocation distribution for visiting teams, hospitality, sponsors, and other stakeholders was a resource intensive challenge for Scottish Rugby. As a result, they required a solution that would streamline their ticket allocation process.
As well as being an integral part of Scottish Rugby's drive for improved sustainability, event access and ticket security, moving to a paperless ticketing system was part of their digital transformation journey to improve supporter experience on matchdays.
In June 2022, Scottish Rugby decided to progress their plans of moving ticket fulfilment to a digital app-based model with Tixserve. They knew it would take around 12 weeks all-round to onboard the solution and educate their fans, but the rugby union only had 10 weeks to complete it ahead of their first fixture of the Autumn Nations Series.
Steering group and work streams
A steering group of relevant members within Scottish Rugby and Tixserve was organised and dedicated weekly work streams were created to ensure a smooth transition for all stakeholders and fans.
In advance of launching the digital ticketing app and delivering digital tickets to fans, Scottish Rugby - who have a strong relationship with their peer rugby unions - set up networking groups to learn about their previous digital ticketing onboarding experiences and processes using the Tixserve solution.
Leading up to the rugby series, Scottish Rugby were transparent with their supporters and brought them on the full digital ticketing journey with them. They educated fans with explanatory videos and pdf guides to familiarise themselves with the new digital ticketing application. Fans were also actively encouraged to log into their online Scottish Rugby ticketing account to update their personal details and mobile phone number in order to receive their digital tickets.
When the new digital ticketing app was launched, Scottish Rugby sent the first batch of tickets to fans two weeks in advance of the first game. They watched their Tixserve-powered Management Portal as tickets were delivered to ticket holders; and extracted the data to see who hadn't yet downloaded the app. Scottish Rugby then proactively targeted these ticket holders, encouraging them to download the app and transfer their additional digital tickets to their companions.
"With a 10-week lead in, the project itself was very swift. We saw immediate results and the transparency of where our tickets were, for us, was golden. We no longer have the chance of duplicate tickets; you'll only ever have one ticket in circulation and you can see where that is at every point of the ticket life cycle."
- Kerry Halliday, Head of Group Ticketing & Customer Engagement, Scottish Rugby.
Productivity - Matchday operations
On match days at BT Murrayfield, queues at the ticket office have been removed and Scottish Rugby no longer receive the same previous level of ticketing inquiries.
In fact, Scottish Rugby have now reduced their matchday operating hours in advance of international matches as a result of the new digital ticket fulfilment solution.
Transparency for ticket allocations
Scottish Rugby have also seen a significant difference in their pre-match operations in terms of distributing stakeholder tickets.
"Those all-important hospitality tickets that typically go to agents - who then distribute them further and you don't know who's coming on the day - we don't have that anymore; we know who's in our hospitality suites."
For stakeholders who may not use their full ticket allocation from time-to-time, Scottish Rugby now have full visibility of these tickets. "We can enquire and see if they plan to use those tickets, and if not, we can recall the tickets and release online for sale."
For away ticket allocations, paper tickets were previously sent by Scottish Rugby to competing rugby unions via post. Once these tickets were distributed, Scottish Rugby had no direct insight of who was coming to their stadium, which proved challenging when dealing with matchday enquiries. Now, Scottish Rugby adds these ticket allocations to the Tixserve-powered Distribution Portal - where the other rugby unions can self-distribute their ticket allocations to their customers - with the end user details now known to Scottish Rugby.
Ticket holder data
"We're not dealing with the lead purchasers anymore, we're dealing with our seated customers."
Scottish Rugby can now communicate directly with their ticket holders via the digital ticketing app through push notifications or in-ticket engagement as well as pre- or post-event emails.
"For us, the encouragement of transferring the ticket worked really well and we saw an average of 1.2 tickets per app."
The union has now gone from knowing a lead purchaser with an average of four tickets, to now having data for a significantly higher number of people.
During the rugby series, this powerful data enabled Scottish Rugby to capture a spider web of ticket touts holding dozens of digital tickets. Very quickly, the event organisers had the ability to take control of these tickets and prevent any fraudulent activity from occurring by using the Tixserve solution.
"For Scottish Rugby, what's hugely important is the fan engagement element. You're speaking directly to your fan and you can do that through the base of your ticket, through the push notifications, and you can also tailor your tickets depending on whether it's an under 18 or an adult ticket."
48 hours in advance of a game, Scottish Rugby uploads the team sheet for ticket holders to have first sight of the players picked for the match that weekend.
Other ticket content includes embedded images that link to Scottish Rugby's website where fans can see what to expect on matchday, entertainment, and some FAQs. From an upsell perspective, links to their stadium store and sponsor store are also added to the flexible digital ticket.
The 'See it, Report it' image contained an embedded link that takes supporters to Scottish Rugby's CRM system where fans can quickly fill out an online form for post-match feedback or on-the-day support requests.
What's next for Scottish Rugby?
New features and capabilities will be added to the Scottish Rugby Ticketing app over the coming months and Tixserve looks forward to powering digital tickets for Scottish Rugby's 2023/24 season.