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Brentford FC is an established Premier League team with 11,370 season ticket holders and thousands more My Bees loyalty scheme members. Season ticket renewal levels were high but previously fans had to pay the full cost in a single transaction or split the cost into two credit card payments.
The club has a commitment to affordable, accessible football as Jon Varney, Chief Executive of Brentford FC said: “We are very mindful that the cost-of-living crisis is biting hard for people across the country and within our communities. Ensuring that football remains affordable and accessible is really important for us and our fans. That’s why we have frozen prices and introduced a new Direct Debit scheme.”
As part of its commitment to helping fans, Brentford FC has introduced Direct Debits to spread the cost of buying a ticket over a longer period of time. The club has enjoyed a positive experience over the last two years when using Bottomline’s PTX Direct Debit solution for its Premium tickets. It was a logical step to extend the scope to include General Admission season tickets.
Jamal Graham, Head of Venue Optimisation at Brentford FC explains, “We were able to respond to supporter feedback for a wider choice of payment options. By choosing Direct Debit, there is no deposit or large upfront payment which makes it easier and more affordable for the average fan. It is also more efficient for the club as we spend less time resolving issues such as card payment failures.”
Brentford FC was guided through the process of rolling out Debit Debits by Bottomline payment experts who went above and beyond during the course of the project. The project kicked off in late 2022 and, following extensive testing, went live in time for the opening of the season ticket renewal window in February 2023, with the first payments taken in May.
Fans renew season tickets via an online portal. This captures the Direct Debit mandate and verifies customer and bank details. The information is uploaded to PTX which collects around 3,000 payments every month from May to February.
Jamal adds, “It was a very smooth process working with Bottomline. We rely on their expertise so we don’t need to become experts in Direct Debits ourselves. I really appreciate the high level of professionalism, service, and support that we received. The attention to detail and responsiveness to questions was exceptional; any issues that arose were dealt with quickly. I commend the team on the fast turnaround from discussing requirements to go-live.”
Direct Debit offers a number of benefits compared to card payments such as lower transaction costs. Jamal adds, “We have a lower risk of a failed payment as Direct Debits are taken directly from a bank account. We have greater security and minimise our risk of fraud. If there is a failure, PTX automatically makes a second attempt to collect the payment. Just 0.33% of all Direct Debits have to be manually investigated.”
With a 98% renewal rate for season tickets, the club was able to promote the sale of an additional 200 season tickets to its My Bees members. “The option to spread the payments over a number of months was a selling point in this campaign, and we quickly sold out the allocation,” Jamal states.
Brentford FC fully believes that ‘nothing is more important than our fans and how we treat you.’ In that respect, there is a lot in common with Bottomline as both companies strive for customer delight. That’s why the club has chosen not to markup Direct Debit payments so fans can continue to support the team they love without additional financial pressures.
The club is a double winner of the coveted ‘highest matchday experience’ award. Jamal says, “The introduction of Direct Debit means we can improve the fan experience and boost our chance of winning next year. We have managed to make the season ticket renewal process easier and feedback from fans is that they really appreciate this new initiative. PTX has also saved a lot of time that used to be spent on the laborious and time-consuming process of chasing customers for updated card payment details.”
PTX has given Brentford FC an easy-to-use, scalable solution that can support its Direct Debit volumes which are predicted to grow year-on-year. Bottomline has also worked closely with the club on the integration work behind the introduction of Ticketmaster as a new ticketing provider. Brentford FC takes part in a knowledge-sharing forum with other sports clubs. Jamal concludes, “I will definitely be recommending both Bottomline and PTX to other clubs. It has allowed us to further help our fans during these difficult times. We have had an exceptional experience so far and I really do think we are at the beginning of a long-term journey with Bottomline.”
“The introduction of Direct Debit means we can improve the fan experience and boost our chance of winning next year. We have managed to make the season ticket renewal process easier and feedback from fans is that they really appreciate this new initiative. PTX has also saved a lot of time that used to be spent on the laborious and time-consuming process of chasing customers for updated card payment details.”
Once you have decided that collecting Direct Debits could make a big impact on improving your cash flow, you need to decide who to partner with. There are many different providers and offerings but how do you make sure that you pick the right one for you?
In this 30-minute webinar, Andrew Scarborough, Product Manager of Direct Debit Management (DMM) at Bottomline, explores some of the common misconceptions that might be holding you back from moving to paperless Direct Debit.
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