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Buying tickets online: The Strictly saga #CollectiveBias

Online tickets: header


I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

It was with great anticipation that I was given the opportunity to buy tickets online for Brendon Cole’s show License to Thrill through the online ticketing website,; so I donned by sparkly glitter gloves, reached for the glitter ball and went in.

I was sooooooo excited; well, so were the kids. Our family are THE biggest strictly fans, ever; as you can tell from this…

Admittedly, they are no Abbey and Aljaz, but they are doing their best, right? And there may be a little bit of leading from the lady in the partnership, but I think that Chatterbox dances as she speaks, pretty full on ;-)

Searching for the performance

The experience

The homepage on the site is relatively clear. However, the initial place to search is a simple free-text box, which was quite confusing.

Putting in the name of the show gave no results; so I tried to locate the show by guessing which category it fitted in too. I tried musicals, and then dance / ballet, but nothing seemed to be coming up. In fact, there was a lot of US stuff listed, which was definitely not relevant to me…

I tried a different tack as I noticed that I could change my location using a small dropdown menu at the top of the homepage. This was defaulted to London, so I changed it to Cambridge.

online tickets: homepage for

The homepage: you can adjust your location top right.


This gave me a list of local performances lower down the page “Popular Events in Your Area.” However, the heading within this listing was unclickable, so I couldn’t see an expanded list with the performances I was interested in.

online tickets: Popular events in my area

The homepage lists popular events based on the location you have chosen


Finally, I decided to put the name of the venue into the free-text box; this brought up a list of venues and I was able to click on the one I knew he was appearing at. Made it! Scrolling down this list, I choose the second of the two performances listed; for the 15th February.

Online tickets: Cambridge listings

Entering a location within the search bar gives the options for the venues that the site works with (or so I thought…)


So I clicked on “Find Tickets” to buy them. Success – or that was what I thought….

The solutions

The key issues with the site when finding the performance I wanted to go to were:

  1. Difficulties in using the search box: perhaps a way to solve would be to have a more advanced search option? This free-text box is OK as a starting point, but there should be another advanced search box obvious on the homepage either as a link or embedded elsewhere where users can be more specific, e.g. searches by different criteria, e.g. venue, type of event, location, event name, etc.
  2. US listings; These could be removed totally for people with UK IP addresses as they are very unlikely to be relevant to most people searching on the site
  3. Unable to find the event within the listings; I suspect this was because of an error with the event overall, however it is important to keep the site up to date with current information on which venues are currently selling through the site, as well as making sure the indexing is as users would search. For example, a Strictly dancer’s performances would be expected to come up within the ballroom section
  4. Un-clickable headings for most popular events in your area; The popular events in your area listing on the homepage is a great feature; changing depending on your choice of location. A great touch for personalisation However, as it only displays the next performances, the heading should be made clickable, so users can drill down further. In addition, even though this was changed to Cambridge, I was still seeing US listing within the category drop-downs on the site.

Attempting to book the tickets

The experience

After clicking on the “Find Tickets” button within the performance I wanted to book, I was presented with a timed out screen…

Online tickets: timeout

Brendon seems to be a bit busy…


Oh dear; I tried a few times but to no avail…

I looked for a customer service number as it seemed as though there was a problem with the technical side of the website. It wasn’t immediately obvious where the UK customer service number was located though. However, I phoned a UK office and was eventually put through to someone who could help. I suspect that I may not have been in the right place though *just got that feeling*

Unfortunately, it seems that no-longer work with Cambridge Corn Exchange, so the events shouldn’t have been listed on the site. *Oops*

Initially, I was told that this was Cambridge Corn Exchange’s issue as they managed their own account on the site. However, I did point out that the details were on’s website and it would be prudent to keep it up to date. Since chatting to them, the site has been changed, which is great. It took them less than 2 hours to remove the listings.

The solutions

  1. Customer service number; the UK customer service number should be obvious on the homepage; perhaps again this can be linked to the IP address of the person trying to make the booking. Within the contact us section, there is only an email contact form. This isn’t suitable for people trying to book tickets; usually issues are immediate rather than something that can wait for an email response
  2. Listings that shouldn’t be there; This is important. It is critical that if a venue no longer works with, then the venue should be removed from the site. It is frustrating for users to use the site, and not know why there are no events listed for a particular venue, or the venue pages are timing out. Personally, I think that if there is no relationship, then the venue shouldn’t be appearing on the webpage at all. Otherwise, it looks like there are no events at the venue when there are, its just aren’t being used to sell any…

Deciding to go direct

Unfortunately, as were no longer working with Cambridge Corn Exchange, I had no choice but to go direct to the venue. I phoned their box office and…

They only have restricted view seats left. *Disapppointed*

However, this did give me another idea for the site. I think it is key to have these details next to all the events to explain availability; perhaps two tags which could be “Restricted View Only” and “Sold Out” should be listed alongside event names and dates?


Overall, I found the experience of shopping on the site quite frustrating and more time-consuming than it should have been. It was hard to find the relevant performance, and then the site seemed not to have been updated properly for the performances I was interested in. However, I appreciate that this is a work in progress, so am hopeful that the company will take these comments on board and make suitable changes.

As for Strictly, I am afraid that the kids and I will have to make do with watching the videos, and our YouTube shenanigans!

Have you used – what did you think and if you had problems, what would you do to change those issues?

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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