The challenge

Royal Ascot is one of the most prestigious events in the social calendar. 

In 2016, I suggested replacing a traditional, paper-based invitation and ticket registration system for Royal Enclosure members, with a digital solution, which could reduce admin costs, improve efficiency but also increase sales of additional extras and bolt-ons. 

Ticketing platform development is notoriously tricky, bringing its own challenges but we were confident.

Prototyping

As the idea had come from us, I set about prototyping an elegant ticketing solution, which could handle heavy traffic with large volumes of transactions, over a short period of time. A prototype was created in AngularJS with a REST API in the background. 

All GET requests were heavily cached and fine-tuned. The only requirement for public facing interaction with the API directly, was on login, basket manipulation and purchase. In demonstrating the speed of what we could build to Ascot, they approved quickly and proper development commenced.

Ticketing platform development

Working with the excellent design and UX teams at e3creative, we set out to design a highly interactive layout which felt more like an app, with as little on the page as possible, to reduce complexity. Basket interactions were instantly updated, new pages loading rapidly. Enhancements and add-ons were suggested, depending on the basket contents, to maximise up-sell opportunities.

Integrating with the ticketing management system proved fiddly, as it required a combination of external APIs, synchronisation with an existing Royal Enclosure database and payment facility integrations. After lots of collaboration with Ascot IT and various third parties, we were ready with a fully functional ticketing platform.

Ascot Racecourse

Server architecture

A website of this importance, with the expected traffic volumes this had, needs a custom server solution. This was architected by myself, configured and fine tuned, to allow as much caching as possible of front-end assets and data, a load balanced backend and clustered databases with recoverability and backup solutions throughout. 

Launch

The site launched in the January, with a view to live right up until Royal Ascot in June. By April, we had had a record number and value of transactions, huge uplift on the additional up-sell items and a very happy client. A client who requested we repeated the process the following year, adding the core Royal Ascot ticketing journey. 

Even during its busiest periods, with large volumes of traffic and transactions, both platforms stood strong, barely even flinched. One of my proudest achievements to date, especially due to the relatively short amount of work required to launch.

Skills used

Tech used:
PHP, Laravel, AngularJS, JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, Bootstrap, Sass.
Dedicated physical server solution with multiple servers, load balancers, clustered databases, linux, nginx, MySQL, Redis etc.

Roles/Hats:
Technical Consultant, Lead (solo) Developer, DevOps Engineer, Solutions Architect

Ticketing platform development

If you have a ticketing platform project like this, that needs a technical architect or product owner to deliver, please get in touch.