Wednesday, June 01, 2011

How the Olympic tickets should have been done

Having just discovered what money they took, I know I will have tickets to 2 of the 9 events for which we applied. However it is clear (from twitter at least) that the process was poor. Having given some thought, my fairer alternative would have been:

You apply for tickets selecting each event, and if you wish, several price levels. Each event/price combination is a selection in it's own right (however, they remain linked - see later). Secondly you allocate an overall budget for your submission. Finally you set a priority list for the choices.

So for instance you would put down something like:
1. Athletics finals £200
2. Opening ceremony £50
3. Opening ceremony £20.12
4. A swimming event £20
5. Archery £75
Etc etc
budget: £200

LOCOG would then:

Mark everyone's application with a "success" score that in the first instance would be 0. [this is used to ensure unsuccessful applications receive a priority over successful ones].

Then it would run each of the following two steps in succession until completion.

Selection step:
Identify every applicant who shares the lowest success score - in the first stage this would be everyone. Enter these applicants into a ballot for tickets

Ballot Step:
take everyone's top choice (in the first ballot this would be choice 1, but bear with me!)
Allocate all tickets across this choice, using a lottery as appropriate.
All successful applications would get tickets.
The applicant's budget is then reduced by the cost of the tickets.
The applicant's preference list is then modified in 5 ways:
1. remove their top choice just won
2. remove any applications for the same event (to stop double booking)
3. remove any preference whose cost now exceeds the remaining budget.
4. remove any event that is now sold out
5. increment their "success" score by 1

Now return to the selection step, and repeat until all events are sold out, or no applicants left.

This does, of course, assume... that LOCOG had fixed quantities of tickets in each price bracket - but they would wouldn't they?
It's not just about maximising revenue is it?

Cc: @hwallop


Kate Rose said...

I love your logic - this could well be a choice example of why technicians rather than Marketing should be put in charge of these things!
Wouldn't you love to have been a fly on the wall at whatever meeting did come up with the cruddy process we ended up with...

P Bryant said...

Thanks Kate, I think it goes down to the Sponsor and Corp ticketing along with the need to maximise revenue. I would like to be convinced there was a fixed allocation - there were no seating plans available. That makes me suspicious!