By Clare Grant
OK, I’ll admit it. The hype has finally got to me. I’m one of those people chained to my laptop desperately trying to get my hands on some of the last minute Olympic tickets. But unfortunately I can’t spend the whole day glued to a screen. Meetings, the daily commute and other commitments are all getting in the way, which wouldn’t be a problem if there was a mobile website I could regularly track to see which tickets are available. But unfortunately, there isn’t. Not for tickets, anyway.
While LOCOG has done a great job at promoting the importance of mobile – from the Opening Ceremony to apps that keep you updated on Olympic related news and medal counts – it seems to have missed a trick by not providing a dedicated mobile ticketing presence. What surprises me even more is the fact that LOCOG has clearly been thinking ‘mobile’ by developing a mobile optimized version of London2012.com. But when you click ‘ticket’ you’re taken through to tickets.london2012.com which looks exactly as it does on a PC (and for anyone who has tried ordering tickets, you’ll agree it’s not the most intuitive of processes, full of check boxes and complexities which are very difficult to navigate on a small screen!)
There’s no denying that even on fast 3G networks, the process is slow. And we all know that even a tenth of a second can make a difference when trying to purchase tickets for some of the most sought-after sporting events. This puts anyone trying to get tickets from their phone at a significant disadvantage, which seems to be a huge oversight to me. After all, a lot of people who are in a position to attend some of the last minute events may already be wandering around the Olympic Park when tickets become available.
Personal frustrations aside, from a business perspective it just doesn’t make sense to me to not have a fully comprehensive mobile strategy in place. So with public frustration mounting following empty seats and unsold tickets, I wonder whether having a mobile ticketing presence could have helped LOCOG avoid some of its ticketing woes, giving more people the opportunity to attend, regardless of whether they are trying to get tickets from a laptop, PC, smartphone, tablet or old mobile device?
Nevertheless, if you are out and about and are keen to keep up to date on Olympic news from your phone, do check out the BBC Sport mobile website. It’s fully optimized and provides great updates on the latest news, team GB updates and even has a handy medals table at the bottom. I’m also impressed by Olympic travel sites like www.getaheadofthegames.com which have been optimised for mobile, giving you the essential updates when you need them most.
In this day and age, let’s hope that future big events like this do give consumers the opportunity to easily get tickets from their phone. After all, smartphones sales are overtaking PCs and research suggests that more people now have internet capable phones than computers anyway.
Clare Grant served as Antenna’s VP of Marketing and Communications and noted Mobile Masters blogger.