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UK industry backs Ticketing Without Barriers

The initiative, which aims to improve the ticket-buying process for deaf and disabled concertgoers, has won support from the across the business

By IQ on 09 Apr 2018

Suzanne Bull, Attitude with Everything/Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition

Attitude CEO Suzanne Bull

image © Attitude is Everything

A new industry taskforce backed by leading promoters, ticketing companies, venue operators and associations, the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition, today launches in the UK with the mission of improving the ticket-buying experience for disabled and deaf audiences.

The coalition will launch at the Roundhouse in London in tandem with the publication of music charity Attitude is Everything’s fourth State of Access Report, which reveals more than 80% of deaf or disabled concertgoers have experienced problems when booking tickets. According to the charity, 70% of the 349 fans surveyed felt they had been discriminated against – and while 37% said accessible booking had improved over the past four years, one in ten had considered legal action.

Based on the results of the report, Attitude is Everything has identified five focus areas where it says event promoters can improve the experience for disabled customers:

A simple and universal system for evidencing access requirements
Fans need a single proof-of-disability system that is uniformly recognised and accepted across the UK, and a single evidence policy adopted by the whole music industry

Accurate and disability aware information and customer service
Fans need all venues and events to provide quality access information online, including uniform terminology for access booking and disability awareness and inclusive communication training for all frontline sales staff

 Choice and flexibility when booking tickets
Fans need to be able to book key access provisions online. Access booking systems should integrate online, email and telephone processes, and be flexible enough to incorporate whole party booking

To be able to trust that access requirements will be met
Fans need access bookings to be managed in-house where possible, to be dealt with by dedicated staff contactable by phone and email and for accessible bookings to go live as soon as tickets go on sale

Equal access to everything
Fans need to be able to book access for presales, VIP and meet-and-greet tickets, and with entertainment gift cards, as well as the ability to resell accessible seating. Access booking lines need to use freephone numbers. PA tickets need to be bookable by any deaf or disabled person who requires one. Fans need pre-registration systems to better manage anticipated sell-out sales

In order to deliver these changes, the charity has announced the formation of Ticketing Without Barriers, which comprises more than 35 trade bodies, ticket agencies, promoters and venues. The new pan-industry group will meet imminently at UK Music to establish a programme of delivery, before updating on progress at the Ticketing Professionals Conference in March 2019.

“It feels that everyone’s on the same page, up for the challenge and committed to working towards a positive result”

A full list of members, which includes Live Nation, Ticketmaster, AEG, Broadwick Live, NEC Group, See Tickets, National Arenas Association, Eventim UK and Kilimanjaro Live, can be viewed here.

Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything and disability sector champion for music, says: “With our fourth State of Access Report we wanted to return to probably the single-most important issue that impacts all deaf and disabled music fans: the process of booking tickets. Although there has been much progress in making the ticketing process accessible and inclusive, and certain venues and companies are definitely getting this right for their deaf and disabled customers, we felt that only a comprehensive and truly unified approach would be able to drive through the real and lasting changes that we need.

“In 2018, every large-scale music event should be all-inclusive. Disabled customers should be able to buy a ticket online, they should be encouraged to attend shows with their friends and not have to jump through undignified hoops when things go wrong. As a disabled music fan myself, I’d urge ticket sellers, venues and festivals to understand that all disabled people must enjoy the same experiences as any other fan. The wider music business has the power to fix this, and I’ve been delighted at the response from all who’ve agreed to join the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition.

“It feels that everyone’s on the same page, up for the challenge and committed to working towards a positive result on this. We now look forward to getting to work, and delivering some results.”

Sarah Newton, UK minister for disabled people, health and work, adds: “Going to a gig or festival is an experience that everyone should be able to enjoy. It’s therefore incredibly important that disabled people have the right access when booking tickets for live music events, which is why I’m really pleased to see leading businesses from across the music industry coming together to improve accessibility.

“We know that disabled people and their households have a combined spending power of £249 billion a year, proving that being inclusive isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.”

The last State of Access report can be read here.


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