Nearly a decade ago, I published an article asking why the field still relied on using “will call” as the preferred name tracking prepaid tickets. Since then, not much has changed but that doesn’t make it any less of a barrier for ticket buyers.
For anyone used to buying event tickets on their smartphone, the entire notion of waiting in a line to pick up printed tickets seems bothersome and archaic to begin with; toss a throwback piece of nomenclature like “will call” into the mix and it is no wonder why new and infrequent ticket buyers find the live orchestra concert experience fraught with inconvenience.
Ticketing is especially fraught with barrier-building language beyond will call. Just think of all the groups you’ve seen that still use counter-intuitive seating section names like loge, mezzanine, orchestra, etc. Even the term “box office” feels dated.
When it comes to engagement barriers, Ceci Dadisman has published a few posts over the years that really drill down into this subject from the perspective of marketing copy, but it’s just as applicable to something like will call or seating section names:
- Unpopular Opinion: It is our job to remove barriers to engagement
- It isn’t that people don’t want the art, it’s how we make people feel when we talk about it
As arts organizations, we are super good at creating barriers for engagement and attendance.
The number one way we do this is how we talk about what we do. Nearly every piece of descriptive copy we put out there assumes that the reader has an intermediate or higher level of knowledge about our art form or organization. The vast majority of people don’t.
But getting back to will call, is anyone out there using a different term? If so, I’d love to hear about what you’re using and how the change was rolled out.
Besides will call, what other barriers would you like to see go away?