Why Paper Tickets Will Be With Us For Many Years To Come
“To support or not to support paper, that is the question.”
Imitating the famous quotes from Hamlet is rather cliché to start an article. But that indeed was the question we asked ourselves when we launched our blockchain-based ticketing business. Having heard the horror stories of people being denied entry to events or even a flight just because their phones died, we took the effort to analyze the pros of paper tickets and why it’s something that most industries are still holding on dearly to.
It’s easy to use
Compared to other medium of exchange, paper is still by far the easiest to use material that we could carry around while packed with information. Cash, for example, is still widely used today, although plastic credit/debit cards or NFC payment phones are quickly becoming the norm. Some of us might use credit or debit cards every day but we always have a backup of cash somewhere in our wallet or purse.
Smartphone tickets are a sensation for online ticketing companies but do you dare to tell them to give up on paper tickets altogether? What if a young teenage girl wants to watch Ariana Grande but mommy doesn’t think she’s ready for a smartphone. How about losing your phone a day before your favorite team’s game? How about flat battery? Or cracked screen? And I’m not gonna start talking about grandpa or grandma.
If there were a gunfight between a paper ticket and a smartphone ticket, who would have won? Paper ticket! Why? Because there’s no turning on the phone, unlocking, opening the app and finding the ticket. Just take that piece of paper from your pocket and bang! Just like a paper gunslinger.
Nothing beats the low-key and low-price of paper. Paper tickets may be getting more expensive to print these days but it’s certainly no way near the price of a plastic card let alone a smartphone. Unless ticketing companies (or worse, customers) are willing to bear the cost of replacing old-fashioned paper tickets with another medium, we will continue to use them till kingdom come.
It’s very portable
In fact, a paper ticket is more portable than a ticket residing inside a smartphone app. A paper ticket in its digital format (like PDF) or hardcopy can easily be transferred from one hand to another. Which also makes it a double-edged sword.
It works with legacy ticketing systems
Someone might try to sell you a revolutionary ticketing system that is overloaded with the latest tech gadgets and jargons. But they come with a price and a steep learning curve. Either you get your customers to bear the costs and get your new vendor to work for you on-site, or you swallow the fees and put your team through months of training. Either way, it’s gonna take some effort. Worst is, your customers may not even know how to use it. Do make sure there’s a backup that you could fall back on and make sure it’s made of paper.
It could prevent ticket reselling
Seriously, it can. You don’t need animated QR code or some sort of ID document at the gate to block reselling. In fact, this new ticket technology we’re using also works with smartphone ticket or animated QR code, if you wish to. But bare minimum requirement is paper.
Paper still offers the best low-cost interface
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against cutting-edge technology like facial recognition, RFID or even smartphone apps. In fact, I’m always biased towards technology. But when it comes to business implementation, we have to weigh the cost and the benefits. Paper tickets still offer the best and cheapest interface for a ticket.
Photo credit: Mattia Luigi Nappi