BLOG: “Online booking would give disabled people more independence.”

Posted on 01.06.2018

BLOG: “Online booking would give disabled people more independence.”

Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash.

Our 2018 State of Access Report found that Deaf and disabled music fans still face a range of avoidable barriers when trying to book tickets for live music events – over 80% of our survey respondents had experienced problems during the booking process, and three quarters felt discriminated against.

To increase awareness of these barriers and how they can be overcome, we are sharing a series of blogs from disabled fans, whose experiences demonstrate the need for change – and how to get things right.

In the third blog of the series, Alex Squire explains how the lack of options for booking tickets takes away his independence. Read the first and second blogs here, and our companion piece on choice and flexibility here.

Buying tickets for music events is frustrating.

I am a quadriplegic powerchair user so I need to book tickets for wheelchair spaces at music events. Unfortunately I have never been able to book the tickets I need online. Wheelchair users always have to phone someone up. This is frustrating because it makes the process more complicated. It adds unnecessary hassle and stress.

I have hearing loss which makes it very difficult for me to understand speech on the phone. So I have to get my personal assistant to phone up on my behalf. This takes away my independence. It would be a lot easier if disabled people could book tickets online like everybody else. It would also be something I could do independently.

"I have hearing loss which makes it very difficult for me to understand speech on the phone. So I have to get my personal assistant to phone up on my behalf. This takes away my independence."

My PA often has to relay questions from the person on the phone to me, and then relay my answers back to the person on the phone. So it’s often quite awkward. Plus sometimes we have to wait on the phone for a long time before we get through to someone.

One time I was trying to book tickets for Coldplay. My PA had to wait on the phone for over an hour before we finally got through to someone. The tickets seemed to sell out very quickly and I had no idea if there were even any left. But luckily I did manage to get some in the end. It’s just stressful not knowing if the wait is going to be worth it or not.

In cases where tickets sell out very quickly for a popular artist (sometimes in minutes) disabled people are especially disadvantaged. Non-disabled people can quickly buy all the tickets they need online with a few clicks. But because we have to phone a number, wait to get through to someone, then explain what we want, it takes a lot longer. By that time tickets could all be gone.

"Online booking would make the booking process easier, more efficient, and also give disabled people more independence in their lives."

The O2 Academy venues have a good system where they will save your access requirements on their database for up to 3 years. This helps as you do not have to fill out an access form every time you book tickets with them. Unfortunately you still have to phone up to book tickets, but saving your access details helps.

I’ve read that the Ticket Factory offer online booking for disabled people at three venues in Birmingham using the Access Card. I haven’t been to them myself but I am very pleased to see that the Ticket Factory are offering online booking. I hope that other ticket providers will follow their lead in the near future. I think the Access Card is a good way to book tickets online because it quickly lets venues know what your needs are.

Online booking would make the booking process easier, more efficient, and also give disabled people more independence in their lives.

We agree that a universal system such as the Access Card is a key way online booking can be improved for disabled fans – read our article on Universal Proof of Disability here.

Hear more from Alex at his blog here.

Find out more about the 2018 State of Access Report.