Want to know when the new kit is out? Read on...
With the arrival of seven new signings John Still’s been a busy man this summer as he pieces together a squad fit for promotion next season.
Often the manager’s close season business is the only visible work seen by those outside of the Club but, as we will reveal over the coming weeks, there’s more to life at Kenilworth Road during the summer months than new signings and a lick of paint here and there.
In a series of reports, lutontown.co.uk will be giving you a behind-the-scenes insight into what’s happened and how it happens around the ground as the Club prepares for the 2013/14 season.
From goalkeeper shirts and grass seed, pots of paint and pies, we’ll unveil the exciting changes and projects that have been undertaken around Kenilworth Road – and the reasons for them.
Part One: Retail. Ticket office and club shop.
If there are two areas of the football club that will see unprecedented levels of business this summer it will be the ticket office and club shop.
The ticket office have received and processed over 4,100 season tickets for next season already (and we’re almost two months away from the beginning of the campaign), whilst the club shop gears up for what will be a similarly busy period of business as the eagerly-anticipated unveiling of the new home and away kits draws nearer.
When will the kits go on sale? How many of the 4,000+ season tickets have been given away for free to children?
To find out the answers to these questions and more – including what improvements and changes this area of the club has seen over the summer so far – the official website caught up with Mike Hooker, the Hatters’ Head of Retail.
Official Website: We’re two months away from the start of the season and you’ve processed over 4,100 season tickets already. It’s fair to say you’ve had a busy few months?
Mike Hooker: We have been busy ever since season tickets became available in April. Thousands of supporters took advantage of the discounted EarlyBird prices. This summer the club made the decision to allow supporters to pay by four or eight-month instalments without any additional charges. From the feedback we have received and the amount of applications processed during this close season it has proved very popular with supporters.
OS: How did you and your staff cope during this busy period of business?
MH: Due to the demand as the deadline for EarlyBird approached, the decision was made to extend our opening hours. We also advised supporters to email us directly their contact details to enable us to contact them back and thus secured the discounted EarlyBird price. I would like to thank all the supporters for their patience and understanding during this period.
OS: For the first time this season supporters purchasing a season ticket have the option of receiving a free under-17 season ticket for next season. How popular has this particular offer been and what has been the uptake.
MH: We are pleased to say the offer has been incredibly popular. The current figure of under-17s with a season ticket is approximately 900. Of those, in excess of 300 under-17s have paid for their season tickets, by either being unaccompanied or choosing to take advantage of the ever-increasingly popular Diamond Package so the net effect is that it hasn’t had much of an impact on our income.
OS: You are trialling a new ticketing system at the moment, which is part of an overall new Club Management System (CMS). How does it work and how will it affect supporters?
MH: The new ticketing system forms part of the CMS, which is an enterprise management software system that forms a strategic move to progress the way the Club manages its customer base and sales. The system has been jointly developed with a local Luton-supporting company who have practically designed this around our specific needs but in a way that will even save us money.
The system will ultimately cover all aspects of the Club’s business which incorporates all departments, including the club shop, commercial department, marketing, hospitality and finance. One of the first noticeable benefits we hope supporters will see will be the vastly improved online facilities – you will be able to buy everything (tickets and merchandise) in one place.
Another benefit of the new system is that it will give the Club more flexibility as to how, and more importantly where, we are physically able to sell tickets and merchandise. This opens up a number of exciting new possibilities. For example we are looking at combining the Club Shop and Ticket Office into one premise Monday to Friday. It also opens up the possibility for the Club to have a presence in the local Shopping Mall, where we could sell both tickets and merchandise – something I really hope we may be able to achieve in the not too distant future.
OS: Talking of the Club Shop, when will the new kit go on sale?
MH: Supporters will be able to get a sneak preview of both the new home and away shirts from the 1st July via our social media channels Facebook and Twitter. Both the new home and away shirts will be released on Friday 19th July in the club shop and online.
OS: It’s not just new shirts that will be available though, is it?
MH: No, there will be a full range of this season’s new Fila training wear available from early July. We are constantly reviewing different ranges of leisurewear and souvenirs. However, if you have any thoughts or ideas on any merchandise you would like to see available in your club shop please let me know. I can confirm that our very popular gnomes will be making a re-appearance in the not too distant future.
OS: How can supporters contact you should they have any questions or queries about ticketing and merchandise?
MH: The best way is to email firstname.lastname@example.org where I am more than happy to respond to questions from supporters.
OS: Finally, with pre-season is due to begin shortly. Kenilworth Road is hosting three friendlies, against Aston Villa, Dagenham & Redbridge and an Arsenal XI. When will tickets go on sale and how much will they cost?
MH: It is envisaged that tickets for these friendlies will be available online and from the ticket office from Tuesday 2nd July. These will be priced at £10 and £5 for golden seniors and under-17s and free for accompanied under-17s (a maximum of two).
As mentioned, we hope to be ready to introduce the new CMS system for the pre-season friendlies. All we ask is for supporters to bear with us as staff become used to the new system. We will endeavour to provide a high level of service however, there is the possibility of one or two teething problems until staff become fully familiar.
OS: Will you be offering season ticket holders any discount for these matches?
MH: Yes, season ticket holders purchasing tickets for all three friendlies can purchase these for £25.