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Broadw.ai chief optimistic as theatre fans focus on future performances

Micah Hollingworth, co-founder and chief executive of Broadw.ai, said he has continued to see 60-65 per cent of customers browsing for future performances despite theatres being shut in New York since March 12 due to Covid-19.

The head of Broadw.ai, an AI platform solution for Broadway shows, told TheTicketingBusiness that while advance ticket sales have plummeted, people are still keen to make plans to see a show.

Following the shuttering of New York’s theatres due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company saw an initial burst from fans looking for refunds, exchanges and rescheduled performance information.

Hollingworth said the influx of data meant Broadw.ai was able to update rapidly in order to best serve customers who are facing the prospect of losing out on money or an experience they were excited about.

He told TheTicketingBusiness: “Customer service is first and foremost for us. If we’re able to provide customers with a good experience during a time when there is clearly some stress and confusion, then they are more likely to convert when theatre returns, which gives me optimism for the future.”

In partnership with technology firm Satisfi Labs, the Broadw.ai platform aims to deliver a seamless customer purchasing journey answering complex questions around running times, performance schedules and specific actors, among many other things.

Broadw.ai allows the information and data to be accessed in a conversational format, allowing clients to provide an immediate response, and Hollingworth noted that with people cooped up at home, they have become more engaged with their devices.

New York has temporarily closed theatres until April 12, though the date will continue to be reviewed by the state and possibly extended. For Broadw.ai and its customers that means an element of uncertainty in the definitive information it can offer.

Hollingworth said the firm is being “very honest” with customers about the situation when offering information and direction. While the platform currently tells ticketholders that performances remain scheduled to perform on April 13, it warns that the situation remains fluid and advises people to check back or click on a link for updates and notifications.

The main questions now being asked include questions about new dates in the summer and beyond, as well as queries about schedule updates.

Broadw.ai and its partner Satisfi Labs have developed Knowtify, a new alert feature, allowing customers to request updates when specific information changes at a location. It will help prepare locations for future re-openings as customers will be able to request venues and performances to let them know about matters such as schedule changes and ticket sales.

Hollingworth said that when people sign up for notifications, it highlights intent for future engagement and indicates that they would want to come back once everything is back up and running again.

He concluded: “Despite the concerns or pessimism – I still remain optimistic about the power of live events.”

Micah Hollingworth has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2020, which has been rescheduled to 29-30 September (at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester).