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Case Study: Welsh Rugby’s tenfold hospitality boost via Seat Unique

Principality Stadium Experience has seen a tenfold increase in enquiries, sales and conversion for hospitality services at Principality Stadium since the initial roll-out of its new exclusive partnership with hospitality sales platform Seat Unique.

The multi-year deal between Seat Unique, Welsh Rugby and Principality Stadium Experience (PSE), was announced earlier this month following a successful initial roll-out which has seen a complete revamp of its online hospitality experience at the 74,500-capacity home of Welsh rugby.

With upcoming events including the Autumn Nations Series and Stereophonics and Ed Sheeran concerts, it’s an exciting time for the Cardiff venue and its new partner.

We spoke to Marc Lee, Sales Manager at Principality Stadium Experience, and Seat Unique’s Head of Product, Phillipa Hicks, to find out more about the partnership. Marc explains why Principality Stadium sought to revamp its hospitality packages, why it chose Seat Unique’s solutions and what they hope to achieve together in the coming years…

Seat Unique’s Phillipa Hicks and Sam Warburton, Seat Unique’s Brand Ambassador

Identifying improvements

Marc Lee: We have always been a 360 sales team from lead generation right through to sales completion and after-sales care. The benefit of this was that we had great communication with our clients at all stages of the enquiry. There is now the option to purchase online or speak to one of our team.

This new platform allows us to offer opportunities around the clock to all time zones. The realisation of this didn’t come from one place but an element of a few. Many of our B2C clients want to book on a weekend due to their working pattern and the fact they wish to make a family decision on such an investment, some live further afield and can’t reach us directly due to a difference in time zones.

The biggest realisation was that the business wanted to commit to a more sustainable goal.

Finding a solution

Marc Lee: Seat Unique approached us back in 2018 with the idea of working together from a hospitality sales standpoint. Conversations began but with no real end goal in sight. However, when the pandemic hit, having our own online sales platform became a key component of our post-COVID strategy

What I soon realised about Seat Unique was that even though it was a tech company, they had knowledgeable hospitality/ticketing industry people running it. A system is only as good as it’s support team and I’ve found the team at Seat Unique to be good at handling everything we have thrown at them.

We ultimately decided to work with Seat Unique as both businesses have the same goals in place, and that is ultimately to deliver the best transactional journey for a Principality Stadium Experience customer.

The right supplier

Phillipa Hicks: At Seat Unique, we’ve built a strong team of people who are not only skilled within their respective fields but have a wealth of experience within the sporting and music industry. Our knowledge allows us to better understand the pain points around booking hospitality experiences for live events – from both a supporter and club perspective – and use this to help clubs digitally transform the way their packages are purchased.

Our platform addresses some of the industry’s key issues; lack of supporter access to VIP experiences and the inability to book premium tickets and hospitality packages via a 24/7 online service. That’s why we create white-label websites for our partners that are specifically designed and tested for selling hospitality.

We also use special technology to help our site perform well at peak times and with high traffic volumes. This, and the fact we have a solid understanding of customer journeys through data analysis and touchpoints, shows that we can comfortably meet demand and maintain strong conversion rates.

Welsh international rugby fixtures via its white label site

An enhanced offering

Marc Lee: We now have a fully functional online sales platform whereby customers can see live availability and can purchase there and then using their debit/credit card. All the experience, including costs, inclusions and benefits, are shown and if a client is unsure there is a live chat function on the platform to assist in making the best decision for them.

This is a more premium solution as customers now have everything they need at their fingertips with the support if they need it whilst we can spend more time making sure we offer the best possible experience for them on the day.

Initial roll-out

Marc Lee: Enquiries, sales and conversion have all increased tenfold in 2021. This has been the busiest Autumn Nations Series I have been involved in from a hospitality demand perspective since I started with PSE in 2017. There are several reasons why, the WRU brand is strong, supporters have genuinely missed attending live events and the fact customers can now purchase online at the click of a button have all had a huge impact.

Have there been challenges? “If it isn’t challenging then it’s not worth it” is something that I live by. With every new innovative business decision comes a challenge but I feel now that we are six months on from roll-out we have tackled the majority of them.

Seat Unique combine knowledgeable industry experts with cutting edge technology to ensure they are at the forefront of everything they do.

A range of hospitality options

Phillipa Hicks: We’re really pleased with the positive impact the partnership is having so far on sales for both sporting and music events at the Principality Stadium. The technology is converting well and we’re seeing a significant increase of sales coming through for PSE events during out-of-office hours, including weekends.

By bringing bookings online, the club’s hospitality sales channel is now turned on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is a huge improvement to the customer experience, as supporters are no longer pressured into making a purchase decision in a restrictive 9-5, Monday-Friday window. Giving supporters the ability to book where and when they want, has been key to securing greater customer conversion rates.

Looking ahead

Marc Lee: As with all businesses we are looking to grow our revenues along with our fanbase whilst offering the best service and experience we can. I firmly believe Seat Unique can really help us here and I’m sure the platform will look very different over the next few years to what it does today as we both get our creative heads together.

Throughout the partnership, we will continue to integrate cutting-edge technology into all areas of the hospitality booking process. These ongoing digital transformations will positively change the way the WRU operates and delivers value for customers.

Welsh Rugby Union and Seat Unique

An important deal for Seat Unique

Phillipa Hicks: It’s hugely important to us as we’re proud to be partnered with such a successful and prestigious organisation as the WRU. Not only does the Principality Stadium host world famous international rugby tournaments, but highly anticipated music tours too. And we’re delighted to have the opportunity to open supporter access to these incredible live experiences.  

Having helped grow the PSE’s sales in a short period of time, shows the potential this partnership has – especially in the digital space. As a digital-first business, SEO plays an important part in strengthening our partners presence online. We feel privileged to be helping the WRU increase their visibility across search, making it easier for customers to find VIP experiences they didn’t know were available to them, and in turn, growing the WRU’s fanbase.

We take pride in delivering the best possible customer experience. Our platform allows customers to compare packages by price and inclusions in a side-by-side view. They can then book in one safe, secure and seamless transaction. By tracking customer touchpoints, we continue to improve sales conversion rates.

We have invested a lot into our technology. It converts well while saving the club time and money. The ability to continue selling while out of general office hours also makes the buying process more accessible for supporters, so it’s a win-win.

Seat Unique is a sponsor of TheTicketingBusiness Forum, the world’s No.1 B2B ticketing business meeting, which will take place from December 2-3, 2021 at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester