Visitors to the North Cornwall enjoyed the advantages of eticketing

People already happily download plane tickets, rugby tickets, football tickets, concert tickets and now point to point tickets and North Cornwall Hunt were the first in the Devon and Cornwall area to bite the bullet and sign up for eticketing, having seen a presentation at the area secretaries’ summer meeting.

Sonia Warren was the secretary in the hot seat and reported back positively on the experience. She said: “ We didn’t have total support from the committee, but as I am the one filling envelopes and posting them, and our meeting had the Christmas and New Year break, which is terrible for post, in the build up, we went for it! I found it much easier and quicker and we saved a lot on printing and postage.”

The hunt sent etickets to all owners and trainers, stewards, helpers and sponsors who would normally get a complimentary ticket. Sonia explained: ”What that means is that we sent an email with a link on it. The recipient clicks on the link and prints off their own ticket. A bit of a hiccup was that the price of the ticket was displayed on it, so we had a couple of calls asking why they had to pay, but I just explained that it was a complimentary ticket and that they should go ahead and print out.

“The tickets are then presented at the gate – our gate people said it was much easier than normal. Just scan a barcode and that’s it, no arguing! It is impossible to forward on the link to other people or to print out more than one valid copy so even if we had six gates, only one ticket would be accepted. Sally-Ann from TICKETsrv came along as it was our first go which gave us a bit of confidence. We have very poor phone signal at the showground so if it worked for us, I guess it would work anywhere. They come out and check it works before you sign up.”

Advance, discounted tickets were on sale to the general public – you can get entry plus racecard, entry plus premier parking, any sort of variation – NCH went for just entry and, interestingly, several were bought from far afield. They didn’t sell a massive amount but started the ball rolling. Bookmaker Hunton supported the initiative by offering a free £2 bet on the Novice Riders race for friends and family of eticket holders, as the ticket holder themselves placed a bet.

Phil Kennen said: “I think the idea will catch on, we just need to be persistent. We had a bit of a rush late on, and once people get used to getting a discount if they buy early, I think it will work well. This is Cornwall and it was just after Christmas as well! I think if people have bought a ticket in advance, they are more likely to come. If they don’t, we have the money up front.” Sonia added: “People don’t really go out with as much cash now. I have bought tickets to events online and if I can do it anyone can! I am not very computer-minded.

“I had one SAE turn up on the Friday before our meeting, so I wouldn’t have been able to send a pass out to them in time, but I could email it. If the hunt set it up, as opposed to the point to point, you could buy tickets to all events, fun rides, hunt ball, barbecues etc online, for one set up cost. Or the Devon and Cornwall area could set it up for everyone, with the point to points designing their own pass. There are lots of options.”

“ I did print off and send some tickets out to those who didn’t have a computer, you still have that option, so they are still catered for. ”I believe Royal Cornwall Show have signed up for etickets now they have seen how ours worked.”

The Midlands point to point area is also offering etickets, and, by next season, it is likely to be much more widespread.

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