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Photos: London Eye beats the queues with BT

Automated ticketing overhaul for popular tourist attraction
By Andy McCue, Contributor on
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Automated ticketing overhaul for popular tourist attraction

The British Airways London Eye attraction was forced to implement a new automated booking system across all its sales channels to help cut queues for the 3.5 million tourists who visit it each year.

Eleanor Harris, head of commercial at the London Eye, told silicon.com: "We wanted one ticketing system that handled all our sales."

All photos: Andy McCue

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The online booking system from BT will soon allow visitors to print off a ticket with a barcode at home, which is scanned by London Eye staff with wireless handheld ticket machines. The system's better multi-lingual capability - due to go live in January - will not only cater for the traditional European markets of France, Germany, Italy and Spain but also emerging markets such as China and Russia.

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During peak periods the London Eye has to cope with 1,500 visitors per hour while the ticket booths deal with up to 1,000 ticket sales per hour from tourists eager to catch some of these views of London.

The new chip and PIN (C&P) system for the walk-up ticket booths had to initially be withdrawn because it added too much time to the purchase procedure but London Eye's Harris said that has now been resolved and C&P will be rolled out again soon.

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The RialtoPlus booking system was built by BT on a Java-based platform using Sun hardware and Oracle databases and fully hosted on a BT network as a managed service.

Because the system integrates all the sales channels, the London Eye is better able to work with its trade partners in the tourist industry and promote other services such as the Eye river cruise down the Thames.

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