Hong Kong Ticketing: Making Websites Serve Their Purpose

At the beginning of every year, a surge in demand for Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tickets takes place. Yet, it appears that overeager patrons find it very frustrating to use the HK Ticketing, the official website to book tickets online and to call for reservations.

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A number of feedback was received by South China Morning Post regarding how their attempts in securing venue tickets went. Debbie McGowan of Happy Valley expressed dismay on the apparent difficulty in finding tickets in an orderly fashion. Debbie cited that both the website and ticket hotline were unable to address the surge in demand for Sevens tickets.

While a limited number of phone operators, it’s understandable that not everyone will be accommodated at once. But with the website in place, it’s hard to argue why it couldn’t handle such online transaction. According to a press release, at least 5,000 tickets will be made available for the local public to purchase on January 16. But the process online was far from orderly according to some fans.

Alexandra Vermala of Pok Fu Lam tried but couldn’t secure a ticket via phone after attempts to do so in 2 and half hours. She then turned to the web as alternative to buy the tickets, only to read the note that the system was busy and asked visitors to try again. Upset over her failed attempts to get a ticket using two methods, she thought she could have got the ticket herself if she decided to spend the night waiting in line for ticketing office to open the next day rather than stare hopelessly on the computer screen or perpetually dial the phone.

While Hong Kong Rugby Football Union describes this as an efficient way to distribute tickets, efficiency is but a relative term and I don’t want to dwell into the topic. My concern was about the HK Ticketing website, which was supposed to be an avenue of efficiency. A fan can simply go online and make the booking without leaving home or office to queue. Yet, the website was a disgrace and didn’t serve its purpose. Built on a cranky classic ASP platform, the website is not capable of handling multiple users logged at the same time.

Not only atrocious on performance, the website is long overdue for a revamp as it’s so last decade not only in design (frames is still one of the culprits to this bad user experience), but also on other aspects such as payment procedure (I thought I can save money by going online; I still need to pay HK$10 handling fee to customer relations staff).

I wish next year, HK Ticketing will be able to sort out the problem. The staff has all the lean months at their disposal to fix the problem and learn from mistakes. And hopefully, we can avoid these kinds of comments from fans who can’t afford to miss the excitement.