If you are part of the theatre community I am pretty certain that you will have come across ‘SeatPlan’ at some point. If you haven’t, you will soon enough. This will change your whole seat buying experience.
If you are a regular reader you will remember that I mentioned this site during my ‘getting the better seats without breaking the bank’ post.
“A website I use before I make any ticket transactions is SeatPlan. This is a fabulous website especially if you are not familiar with the theatre or seating plan. SeatPlan offers an interactive seat map for the majority of the big theatres in the west end and a handful nationwide. They rely on their members to upload seat reviews and many of them include photos of the view of the stage from that particular seat. These are completely honest reviews which are monitored. So far it has never failed me. They also provide an incentive for their members to review seats with credit which can add up to theatre tokens. Another great way to save money! Currently, you will receive 40p for each photo you upload once your review has been approved. You can start doing this now if you haven’t already! Just head to their website and sign up for free. They also offer great ticket deals through their website so that is also worth checking out.” – A extract from said post but it sums the website up nicely.
SeatPlan was created in 2011 and has grown so much. A little birdy tells me they are looking to develop the site further so I thought I would make my opinions known! Ha!
I have been an active member on this site since the summer of 2015 (if I remember correctly. It’s been a fair few years for sure) and I have to say this is my go to website when I am buying tickets regardless of which site I use to purchase them. It is and always has been so easy to navigate. It is such a clean set up which allows you to do everything you need straight away. My only nag about the navigation of the page is that I do struggle bringing the list of London theatres up. There has been a few occasions where I’ve wanted a trusted list of the main London theatres so I have turned to SeatPlan. I know the list is on there but it would be nice having it at the top of the page instead of having to scroll down to the bottom. What would be even better is having a side menu where you could select just that. Typing this, it has just come to mind how useful a map of ‘theatre land’ would be! You literally could find everything on one site. I know that when I book shows I like to fit as much in as possible and seeing how close the theatres are is key. It is such a hassle switching from websites to google maps. I have a fairly good knowledge of ‘theatre land’ but still need help on occasion.
When I found out a while back you could purchase tickets for shows in London via SeatPlan I had to have a little peek. I was actually really impressed. This isn’t a feature that I have used loads but when I have they have always had great seats at great prices. I can’t say that it is the same for every show but they haven’t disappointed yet. I really need to make a habit of checking there first before booking anything. I have a feeling I could save lots of money.
To upload reviews you do have to create a profile which I, personally, really love. It is such a great way to keep track of the shows I have seen and various theatre trips. The timeline at the bottom of your profile is a great touch. It saves me having to dig out my hefty ticket scrapbooks to see if I have been to that venue before, actually sat in the same seat or in a similar area, etc. You can just scroll through the timeline, click on the relevant show tab and it will show you the date you saw the show, where you sat and the review you left on the site. Obviously you are restricted as you can only add reviews to the theatres they have listed on the website. There have been times where I have been looking for certain seat plans but they didn’t cover it. I think it would be nice to have a section dedicated to seat plan for theatre all over London. There are a lot I have come across that aren’t on there. Not so much for members to write reviews (and gain credits) but to get an accurate seat plan. A lot of the seat plans online are not accurate. This would be a nice touch, completely separate to the main aspect of the site where you add reviews. Maybe just keep the reviews to the main theatres currently listed on the site?
The profile aspect could really be used to gain a community feel on the site. At the moment you can see a percentage of the user profiles on the leaderboards but apart from that you can’t really do anything else. This is the same with the monthly competitions held. We never hear much about the winner unless you actively search for it via the tab at the bottom of the site page. Members all receive the emails reminding them of the competitions (actually mine are on occasion, not every month) but that is all we really hear.
Rewarding reviewers is a great incentive. I loved earning rewards that add up to theatre tokens that arrive in the post. I’m not gonna lie, these tokens helped to fund my Dreamgirls addiction! It has been sad watching the individual credit amount decrease over the years. When I first started it was £1 per photo from your seat and then it went to 50p per photo (ticket and seat) but now it is 40p per photo. I understand it is a business and needs to make money but it just takes forever now to gain those theatre tokens. The hand written notes that come with the theatre tokens are really cute. You’ve got to love Susannah for doing that. That is one thing I admire. Even though there are thousands upon thousands of members they still keep that personal touch.
I do wish that it was compulsory to add photos to the reviews. There is nothing worse than seeing someone has reviewed a seat (especially in a part of a theatre which is less reviewed) to find that it is really vague with no photo. You then have to take a stab in the dark and hope for the best when booking seats.
I have often asked myself the question – why don’t the have guest bloggers or takeovers on their social media. I most certainly would love to read a guest post, say once a month and get an awesome insight into the theatre world. This could be another aspect which could completely explode and be great for SeatPlan!
Just to be really picky I shall comment on the overall appearance of the site – it does look rather bland. As I have already mentioned the navigation is easy but Seatplan almost loses its identity as you scroll down the page.
The next step for SeatPlan is definitely an app. I believe it would open so many doors. I personally would then add reviews as soon as I have them instead of waiting to upload several at once. This could also really help them which the selling of theatre tickets. I’m all about having that immediate access on my phone. My bank account isn’t, but I am!
I’m opinionated so there are some of my thoughts. It has been great watching the site develop and grow over the years and I really look forward to seeing where it goes in the near future. And on that note, I need to add all the seat reviews I have been allowing to accumulate. BYE!!