Seat reservation has begun
April 20 saw the start of the long-awaited seat reservation system for the championschips in Berlin: Visitors who purchased their tickets already in 2011 could access the reservation system on time at 12 o'clock.
About half an hour later, the WM team received first reports about slowly loading pages and error messages. Staff members on duty contacted the technical support of our ticket service provider and learned they were already trying to identify the problem.
Server congestion on Saturday
With additional ticket buyers looking to redeem their vouchers and select their seats, the server overload kept growing. Around 14:00 hrs, the system had almost come to a complete stillstand, making successful reservations almost impossible at that time.
Despite staff members were able to resolve many issues during the weekend and could send out tickets to many visitors who had been seeking advice, it is perfectly understandable that some visitors were upset. Carsten Eckert, managing director of WM 2013, said: "We sincerely regret what happened on Saturday and would like offer everybody who was affected our heartfelt apologies. Our ticket service provider really screwed up here and we honestly had wished both for our visitors and ourselves to see a better start."
What had happened?
The launch had been preceded by a long preparation phase: Detailed maps of the tribune layout were set up in the reservation system. Afterwards all different ticket types were stored in the database. Finally, the voucher codes to be sent out to customers were generated.
When everything was prepared, WM team members and employees of service provider Tixoo AG went several times through all steps necessary to redeem vouchers and reserve seats in a dedicated test environment.
But what went smoothly during test runs did not work out last Saturday, as Lutz Lesener explains: "The systems of our service partner could not cope with the high number of reservations made at the same time. Obviously, a bug has slipped in that shows itself only when a certain high number of visitors are accessing the system simultaneously. We believe that the software engineers at Tixoo have introduced this bug while making modifications to their system required to handle the World Championships."
Special rebate offered to early-bird-customers
Servers were back to normal on Saturday evening, but support staff at Tixoo continues to watch the system very closely and staff members are ready to step in should the need arise. WM organizers have offered the affected customers a special rebate on tickets to the grand opening show "HorsePower" by way of consolation.
What's up next?
Just as previously announced, the roll-out of seat vouchers continues as planned. All customers are gradually receiving their voucher codes and access to the seat reservation system in chronological order. By Monday evening, all visitors who booked their tickets before June 2012 have been mailed their reservation codes. New codes will be sent out on a daily basis.
The moment all ticket buyers have received their codes, the ticket shop will no longer issue vouchers, but customers will be able to select their seats as part of the ticket buying process.
WM staff members are available at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer your questions and assist you.
Image: Carl Silver / sxc.hu