Held Vitality Stadium Thursday 30th March 2017
Liz Finney – General Manager
Dan Clarke – Ticketing Manager
Clive Sheen / Tim Sharp / Trish Drodge
It was proposed and agreed by all present that the notes of the meeting would be circulated for approval by the group before details of the meeting were made public by group members.
Update from last meeting
• LF went through the notes of the last meeting to review actions:
• She confirmed that she had spoken with the MD of the security company to request that security staff remain polite and considerate to supporters when dealing with access or any other issues.
• Supporters waiting for taxis after returning from away games were advised to wait by the reception rather than outside the Club store due to extra lighting
• Where the SMS update system had not worked for Clive, the particular problem was identified, rectified and relayed to Clive. He subsequently reported all was working fine.
• Regarding the hand driers in the North Stand not working, LF explained that they worked during pre-matchday testing but evidently failed once the volume of use increased beyond a certain point. They were replaced at the earliest opportunity and there have been no reports of failure since.
• Hot water signs were in place for the game after the last meeting.
• RW is happy with his programme purchase routine.
• Lack of lighting was mentioned at the last meeting as an issue on the NW corner near Thistlebarrow Road. A lighting rig has been placed there for a good number of games now and seems to have alleviated that problem.
• LF had spoken with the safety officer to explain concerns about stewards being placed inside the north stand vomitaries and the issues caused. And the SO had briefed supervisors accordingly. They had also discussed the floating cordon behind the east stand and it was suggested that, except in higher risk instances, the cordon not be used but rather stewards stand to the side and only deploy should it be required.
• LF had discussed concerns regarding the congestion in the 1910 Bar pre-match with Black Label Events management, although all present at the meeting agreed that the outside bar facility had much helped in this respect. Regarding the size of the tables, these are required for non-matchday use as well and the club does not have the facility to store two different types.
GC explained that he had raised this agenda item but that since doing so away allocation of tickets had improved with the way sales had been structured by the ticket office for the Saints and Spurs games. DC explained the details to those in the group who were not aware and further advised that he had received the Sunderland seat map and that tickets for that game would be available via a pick your seat option.
General ticketing update:
• pick a seat: DC explained some of the restrictions in being able to offer this for every away game but would report to the next meeting on how the Sunderland option worked
• posting tickets: the ticket office now has a target of posting tickets out 1-2 days within booking and to date this has been achieved in almost all cases.
• enquiries line: a new call management system has been installed and the club ticket office is able to track the number of calls, duration, call answer and talk time and if any are abandoned. Where the latter TO staff with call back. Call answer times now average under 40 seconds and more than 95% of calls are answered within two minutes
• how to guides: guides to easy use of the online ticketing booking function have been produced and voiced over by Steve Fletcher. These cover: how to book tickets and coach travel and the process of setting up and checking account details; there are available currently on the club website and shortly on the ticket website. There was some discussion around the online ticket booking facility and the question of a transaction charge that was applied to online but not in person sales was raised. DC has undertaken to look into the booking process across the board over the course of the summer.
• accessible tickets online: DC advised that accessible tickets were available to purchase online and had been trialled by some members of our disability focus group. There will be a registration process over the course of the next few months so that all disabled supporters can have the relevant changes made to their account which enable online sales
• accessible training all ticketing staff: all ticket office staff had completed training in dealing with supporters with disabilities
• away coach online tickets & pick a seat: DC confirmed that the facility to pick your coach seat and book online had been in place for some time. A couple of the group raised specific issues they had encountered in booking and DC spent some time going through the process. He further explained that a guide to booking coach tickets would be produced to assist fans going forward with particular focus on booking match tickets and coach tickets in the same order
• email responses – DC explained that duties within the ticket office had recently been specifically allocated with one member of staff dedicated to email responses. Incoming messages are colour coded in respect of urgency and the responses recorded and tracked. LF advised that email sign-offs were now the name of the person who responded and not a generic ticket office sign-off.
• season ticket key dates: LF advised that, as mentioned in the notes of the meeting between the club and the Cherries Trust board members, season tickets would go on sale on 22nd May until 19th June. There would be a period for seat moves from 20th June to 23rd June and that it was planned to post ST cards out to arrive by the middle of July.
LF raised the issue of tickets being sold on, outside the points scheme, and cited an example received that day. She explained how the ticket office planned to deal with these instances when they became aware and received the group’s full support for a firm approach. RK suggested a dedicated touting e-mail so that supporters could report anybody selling tickets above face value. LF and DC confirmed that they will investigate
• Updated ticket policy: this would be previewed at the next meeting
• Website upgrade: LF advised that she had that afternoon had sight of a selection of new website pages and that they were a huge improvement on our current website. The development team are now progressing with the set-up and another meeting of the website development focus group would be arranged towards the end of April to review and have the opportunity to play with the new version.
• Access control: it was confirmed that automated turnstiles would be introduced at Vitality Stadium for the start of the new season and there was some discussion around the features and benefits of the system such as easier upgrade of tickets, better queue management, fraudulent use detection and improved reporting,
At this point a question was asked as to why in certain areas of the north stand tickets were checked twice. LF explained that some supporters there do not sit in their seats but transfer to areas where supporters tend to stand. There were also a small group of fans who repeatedly report their tickets missing or lost and request duplicates. The checking of tickets by stewards inside the ground helps to deal with these issues.
RW asked why not revert to one point drop at a time and DC explained that to group the points gave a longer general sale period which led to improved service by the ticket office. LF advised that there had been no negative feedback on the points grouping since its implementation and that supporters seemed to recognise the benefits of the system.
Policy on bottle tops
RW asked that a consistent approach to tops being removed from plastic bottles at point of sale be adopted and LF undertook to ask that concourse catering staff were briefed accordingly.
Away coach timings
RW has raised this as an agenda item and LF confirmed that, having spoken to the Rob Nicol our away travel co-ordinator, the times were initially put forward by the coach supplier and tweaked if they didn’t seem reasonable. LF asked if there had been a particular issue with timings for a game and Ron explained that sometimes coaches arrived quite early. It was agreed that, taking into account weather, traffic, accidents, driver regulated stops and other unforeseen factors it would never be an exact science.
Any other business
GC asked if there would be the possibility of making available executive coaches for some away games for next season and LF said she would investigate and report back.
RW asked that the voice message on BH Live line be changed as was irritating. DC explained that new messages had been recorded and were soon to be in place.
The group asked what AFCB do for visiting away fans; LF explained that the club run a number of initiatives to ensure that away fans are welcome at the Vitality Stadium
Thistlebarrow Road traffic management was raised by GC and RW raised the issue of police vehicle movement around the NW corner once fans had arrived. LF explained that the process is for all vehicles to be in place however police vehicles may arrive once there are crowds or if they are called away for other business.
RK was upset that our staff behind the dugouts wore Man City colours for that game. LF explained that this was not something that could be changed for that game but likely to be a different colour next season.
RW asked for the Gates/Bricks to be cleaned in the north east corner-LF explained that there is a balance to be struck between cleaning and the damage that regular cleaning can cause but agreed to look at this
MOTM vote – RW asked why do young supporters have to go to the Mansion website to see the winner.
LF and DC gave the group the ticket allocations offered by Leicester for our last game of the season and asked them to each choose the option they would take. The group discussed the various factors that could affect attendances and the result was between two options with no clear preference.
PF asked about the involvement of the club’s American investors and LF advised that they have a love of sport and were impressed by the AFC Bournemouth story. They have full confidence in Neill Blake to manage the club and their focus is rather on its long-term future growth and the new stadium project.
The question was raised as to whether there would be any development of the current ground and LF confirmed that there would not be.
RW mentioned that the away attendance column in the programme is not completed and LF advised that she would check with the media department on this.
RW also mentioned that the newsletter was greatly improved.
CT enquired about charted trains and LF explained that the club had had some discussions with SW Trains regarding this and other matters but that it had been difficult to get matters moving forward with the franchise looming. Now that this has been awarded and SWT staff are settled in their roles again, the club will re-engage with the company.
The meeting ended.