Ticketing Trouble: Lessons Learned

Whether it is a small gathering or a grand gala, thousands are eager to score tickets to Washington, DC’s finest inaugural events. And with the inauguration less than two weeks away, preparations for the ball season are well under way.

Barack and Michelle Obama at an inaugural ball in 2009. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user The U.S. Army.

The décor may be finalized, entertainment lined up, and seating charts in the works, but what happens when there’s a marketing mistake, a BIG marketing mistake?


After Ticketmaster’s technical glitch, all the public tickets to President Obama’s ONLY official inaugural ball and parade seats were sold on Sunday – a day before they were scheduled to go on sale. According to officials, this was after Ticketmaster unintentionally sent out e-mails announcing they were available.

Photo Courtesy Guest of a Guest

Ticketmaster immediately issued an apology, which unfortunately did little to appease the outrage and heartache of those hoping to attend these events.

So what can event planners and marketers take away from this? We asked the experts:

“Name a business that hasn’t made a mistake. [As a business owner,] I think Ticketmaster handled itself better than most,” says Lynda Webster, TWG Chairman & CEO. “It’s about taking responsibility, and for that, we applaud them.”

Whether it was a technical or a human error, a quick and honest response is what sets a company apart from its competitors, especially in a sticky situation.

Pat, a Director at TWG weighed in and reminds us that it’s critical to always have a through editing method and proofing process to prevent “avoidable” mistakes – either with traditional marketing or when using technology.

At TWG, we employ a “double check, triple check and then have someone else check your work system. “Although it might take some extra time, going the extra mile goes a LONG way!

Lesson learned: Technology may make things easier for marketers, but it is far from perfect, and as with everything, it is important to have an effective review system and process in place.


Still looking to have a fine time and enjoy the excitement of inauguration? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

2009 Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball

Bust out those cowboy boots, big belt buckle and black tie! The Texas State Society of Washington, DC (TSS) is preparing for its quadrennial Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball, on January 19, 2013 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

Bust out the Boots!

With live music running on six (6) different stages, authentic Texas food and an open bar from 7:00pm-3:00am, it’s no wonder the Black Tie & Boots Ball has garnered the reputation of being one of THE hottest ticket in town during inauguration week. Tickets are still available at www.blacktieandbootsball.com.

Be sure to wrangle yours today!

Texas Rangerettes

Southern scene not your style? Check out some of the other balls in the area!!