Ticketing The Meet

UK Meet started as a dozen authors in a room, from which it grew to the event we now know.

In the early days, when the organisers met to plan, we’d ask, “What do we do if we get over subscribed for tickets?” At that, we’d chortle in our Brit way and reckon it would be a nice problem to have. Only when the problem reared its head, we discovered it isn’t nice. We needed a plan, and in true UK Meet fashion, we started with a strategy.

What we wanted was a system which:

  • Was fair to everyone, not favouring any groups or individuals.
  • Gave some priority to people who’d attended or expressed an interest in UK Meet, without making it a closed shop.
  • Was easy and cost effective to administer.
  • Gave us control (we’re all a bit Sheldon Cooper).

What we didn’t want was:

  • Assigning quotas that restricted the numbers of types of delegate.
  • People being able to cheat or manipulate the system.
  • That annoying situation where you’re halfway through buying a ticket and the site crashes, leaving you with no idea whether you’ve been successful or not.

So we decided:

  • Everything would be handled chronologically, first come first served, whether that was initial ticket sales or administering the waiting list.
  • We’d use an access code system – people would need a code (allocated by us) to be able to buy a ticket but would have plenty of time to use said code, so avoiding website overload.
  • Ticket sales would initially be limited exclusively to our newsletter mailing list before going on general sale. We’d manage this by getting people to reply to a specific ‘Thunderbirds Are GO!’ email.
  • We’d administer all the process personally, which might be a lot of work, but would give us ultimate control and make it easier to troubleshoot.

This system works for us, so we’ll be using it again this year – full details of timings and administration will go out to the mailing list (and be on our blog) in September, for sales to start in October.

A few things we’d be ever so grateful if you’d note for when ticket sales start:

  • There are more people on the mailing list than we have spaces for delegates. While ‘mailing listers’ get priority, we can’t guarantee them all a place.
  • We may be superstars, but we haven’t got superpowers (believe it or not). Please don’t take to social media panicking 10 minutes after codes become available at 12 noon because you’ve hit ‘reply’ to the email at 5 seconds after 12 and you still haven’t heard back. Last time we got 80 replies within the first few minutes (being added to all the time), so just imagine how long it takes to process them all properly and keep a proper and accountable audit trail.

And remember, if you don’t manage to get a ticket immediately, don’t despair. We maintain a waiting list on the same first-come-first-served basis and in past years, all those on the list have been able to get a ticket eventually – if at the last moment – as others find their plans change.