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  • Behind the Scenes

Are your sales negatively affected by other events?

  • By Ben Sebborn

  • 16 Dec 2013
  • 5 min read

So your event is on sale, tickets are flying out, but suddenly you get complaints that your customers can’t buy tickets.

Oh dear. Sales stop, the money stops rolling in. What’s happened? Here’s a quick rundown of factors which can negatively affect your ticket sales and measures Skiddle take to keep your sales flowing.

The ‘Noisy Neighbour’ effect

Ticket agents sell tickets for a large number of events at any one time. Because of this, our systems have to cope with varying degrees of demand – from ‘off peak’ periods right up to times when events are announced on national radio or TV and create a huge amount of demand. During these busy periods, much higher strain is put onto the ticketing agent’s websites, due to an increase in visitor numbers and transactions. When a busy ‘onsale’ period starts, literally tens of thousands of visitors can flock to a website in minutes.

So how does this affect your event? Well depending upon how well the ticket agent has planned it’s infrastructure, this heightened strain may well affect the availability of your ticket sales platform too. We call this the ‘noisy neighbour’ effect, whereby another event using the same system ‘hogs’ the resources and causes issues for all its neighbours (including your event).

An example

Recently a large UK tour went on sale with 2 major ticket agents. As soon as this happened, we noticed that one of the agents went down completely, making ticket sales for all events impossible, and on the remaining website, after struggling for around 15 minutes, a queuing system kicked in. However, any customers trying to buy tickets for any other event were also placed into this same queuing system, effectively meaning they were unable to buy tickets due to the demand on the large tour.

Working to reduce this effect

Problems like this are always possible, due to the unpredictable nature of event sales. However there are steps that can be taken to avoid or minimise such an issue. Here’s what Skiddle are doing to minimise any impact on your events:

  1. Hybrid Cloud Based Infrastructure. Over the last few years we’ve been moving our web hosting infrastructure to be part cloud based, part dedicated hosting. This means we can rely upon very stable, high performance web servers, but at the same time have the ability to rapidly increase our infrastructure in just a few minutes. Cloud based hosting is used to deal with some huge events online, so is perfectly suited to ticketing, allowing us to increase our ticket sales capacity to near infinite levels in very short amounts of time.
  2. Multiple payment processors. It’s all very well having massive web capability, but if your payments system falls down due to it being under heavy load, this becomes the bottleneck. We are integrated with multiple payment systems which can all run simultaneously. There are no limits on our web gateways (unlike some who restrict how many simultaneous transactions can be processed)
  3. Caching. We have additional layers in our infrastructure which serve up frequently accessed content from a cache. So when a festival lineup is announced, this is served direct from memory, reducing the load on our systems.
  4. Isolated and decoupled systems. OK this one sounds technical. But in a nutshell, we run separate web servers for different projects. This means that should an event become very popular on one of our platforms (eg Facebook), this would not affect the running of the rest of our platforms (eg our main website).
  5. In house technical team. All our services are run in-house, so should something go wrong, we can be fixing it very quickly.

Planning a large event?

If you’re planning a large event and expect a busy on sale, get in touch. As you can see, we have many ways of keeping your event online during a busy period, to maximise your sales. Add your event to Skiddle by heading over to http://www.skiddle.com/promotion and bear in mind giving us plenty of notice ensures we can pre-plan for your event and have our systems fully primed!

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