England Hockey

England Hockey levelled up fan satisfaction scores to 90% with CM.com’s ticketing, payment and marketing platforms.


England Hockey joined forces with CM.com, the Official Ticketing Partner of England and Great Britain Hockey, to reconnect and build a richer, deeper relationship with fans during the ticketing and purchase journey and deliver personalised marketing communications.

Since utilising CM.com’s ticketing, payments and marketing platforms, England Hockey’s post-event customer survey results have shown a positive impact.

When asked if they rated the experience as Good, Bad or Excellent; 79% rate the customer journey as good or excellent, 89% rate booking communication good or excellent and 90% rated overall ease of purchase as good or excellent.

To learn more about the partnership, read our interview with Charlie Wells, Head of Commercial, Marketing and Communications, Neil McGuigan, Events Project Manager and Iain Starkey, Marketing Manager at England Hockey.

A key player: managing grassroots to elite levels

England Hockey is the national governing body for hockey across England. Managing everything from the grassroots to the elite international level competing in the Olympics, World Cups and European Championships.

With around 750 clubs in England, the organisation engages 150,000 weekly participants, including 100,000 under 16s. England Hockey is also the nominated home nation that manages Great Britain Hockey, the GB performance programme including senior women’s and men’s squads. It also manages elite athlete development, performance, events, communications and marketing across England and Great Britain Hockey.

In the Olympics, hockey is one of the oldest team sports. Great Britain’s participation dates back all the way to 1920, with three gold medal wins, the last in 2016 for the GB women.

“As a governing body, we manage everything from a 5-year-old picking up a hockey stick for the first time to the Great Britain team going to the Olympics and everything in between” Charlie Wells, Head of Commercial, Marketing and Communications


Visible, relevant and accessible

England Hockey’s strategy is to make the sport more visible, relevant and accessible. To enhance the connection between its current fan base and players, while also opening the doors to new players and supporters, to drive more participation.

A key part is rewarding fan loyalty and having a dialogue with fans, asking them what they want, to drive repeat purchases. Its most recent question to fans was ‘How much is too much hockey?’ focusing on the structure of international match days and altering that structure to fit the fans’ response. Rewarding fans and showing that England Hockey asked, listened and acted, “we need to take the fans on the journey with us,” explains Charlie.

Repetition leads to recognition

To elevate the fan experience and drive participation, England Hockey focused on delivering consistent quality throughout the journey.

“We’re consistently driving a reputation of quality across the board, not just within our marketing or ticketing, but as a whole brand approach. Providing the level of service fans expect, which should be exactly the same across all England Hockey events and communications. We understand that repetition leads to recognition and a positive association with England Hockey as a brand.” Charlie Wells

England Hockey recognise that “the experience of coming to watch Great Britain in a Pro League game isn’t simply about the event itself, it’s also receiving a marketing email because they’ve bought a ticket in the past, it’s the ease of use of the ticket shop and entering their payment details, it’s the post-event customer service survey leading them to receive a discount, it's that first interaction with the brand and every single touch point on from that,” describes Charlie, “the cycle continues and the consistency of that delivery is absolutely key.”

To ensure consistent delivery across the hockey fan base, the team worked with CM.com on a two-fold approach:

Seamless ticketing

On the ticketing side, the strategy is to keep things as simple as possible for the fans. “We wanted to find a ticket shop that ensures the fans’ journey is as simple as possible, with as few clicks as possible,” explains Iain. Using CM.com’s ticket shop, fans can purchase tickets, select seats and even book and pay for parking all in one single interaction.

“Selling parking spaces in the ticket shop rather than having a separate system or at the venue on the day is really helpful for fans. They can buy parking in one click,” continues Neil, “using mobile-first tickets for entry and parking also means we’re able to scan and keep track of the number of attendees and avoid any duplication of tickets. CM.com’s Entrance dashboard then enables us to gain real-time insights into figures for attendance and security reporting. The experience is positive for both fans and employees.”

Fan-focused marketing

From a marketing perspective, they are focusing on engagement in both pre-and post-event situations, utilising CM.com’s Customer Data Platform to truly personalise communications. “When we’re building email campaigns, we don't have a two-stage process of downloading data from one system to then upload it into another marketing platform, we can access real-time data directly through the CM.com platform,” describes Iain, “we can then interrogate that data in terms of who do we want to talk to, create a subsegment and tailor our communication to that group.”

“The data enables us to see the reality of how people are buying, what they're buying and what device they're buying on, which makes a big difference to our campaigns,” explains Neil.


The perfect partnership

Partnership alignment is key for England Hockey, therefore the team wanted a technology and ticketing partner that matched its aims, objectives and operational needs.


When it comes to ticketing the simplicity of a system is key, both from the fan perspective and the employees. The self-service aspect of CM.com’s ticketing platform is vital to England Hockey’s internal team, with its previous ticketing solution, the team had to put a request in to make a change, whether copy in the ticket description or ticket prices, and then wait 48 hours for a response.

With self-service, the team can make changes there and then, which is critical when moving quickly before a match. For example, “agreeing on a ticket discount and selling that discount via the ticket shop in two minutes with CM.com,” explains Iain. It is the same for marketing, the team need to have the autonomy to add different pricing models to promotional messages to a select audience.

“We have a lot more control now in terms of what we can do and that ultimately has a positive impact on tickets and gives us more time to actually be on sale,” continues Iain, “for example from Pro League finishing in June last year, we were able to review, plan and rebuild in under two months using the CM.com platform, meaning we will be on sale now for nine months, increasing our on-sale period and the number of purchases.”


England Hockey’s events attract a variety of attendees, from one-off ticket purchases and season ticket holders to group reservations and even schools. The flexibility of CM.com’s ticketing platform enables the team to scale ticket types up and down depending on the event, venue and audience.

When it comes to the inventory of the tickets sold, the ticket shop allows England Hockey to sell the same inventory of seats whether it's a one-off ticket, a season pass or a group reservation. “This means we're not having to move tickets between different events based on how the sales are going,” explains Neil, “it's very fluid and flexible, so that's a really good thing for us.”

The reservation function enables the customer service team to take all group reservation requests for big events and manage the process. “It was really easy to train them up on the platform,” continues Neil, “the team get a certain number of days to finalise the tickets and receive payment utilising the deadline setting in the ticketing platform, it’s been a game changer for us.”


Working with 8 areas or regions, 40 counties and 700+ clubs, England Hockey needs to be able to create bespoke ticket shops dependent on the club or organisation. The team can set up multiple, individual ticket shops with the clubs’ own branded colours and logos, different ticketing structures, price points and discount codes, all being used by the fans at the same time, with one ticket inventory.

“We’re able to easily create a Surbiton Hockey Club branded ticket shop, where they tell us they want 200 seats in a particular block and then their fans can go and buy those tickets,” explains Charlie, “that level of innovation not only drives ticket sales, but it also cuts down a significant amount of admin for our membership team. But more than anything, it gives a level of service to our clubs that wasn’t there, and it has been revolutionary.”

Account Management

The support from CM.com’s Account Management team has been vital to England Hockey. From in-depth onboarding sessions to one-time requests, the team have always been very accommodating. “Real-time testing, training and learning whilst also giving us some tips and sharing ideas, that level of service has been invaluable to us,” explains Neil.

“One key thing we like about CM.com is that the company and the team, like us, want to innovate constantly,” continues Charlie, “we're not looking for a technology supplier, we're looking for a partner to help us and that’s what we have with CM.com.”


Moving forward

England Hockey will continue to drive participation by delivering consistent quality, using data-driven campaigns and personalised offerings. After an FIH Pro League match, for example, using the ticketing and marketing platform in collaboration to send attendees a message offering an early-bird discount on next year’s match, but not only that, offering the choice of sitting in the same seat they sat in that year.

Using SMS and WhatsApp for marketing via Mobile Marketing Cloud, England Hockey can share little nuggets of information with its audience. “We’re going to be able to use the SMS and WhatsApp functionality to contact fans 48 hours before a match and say, ‘The weather looks like rain today, don’t forget your umbrella’ or ‘It’s 30 degrees bring the factor 50’. We’re able to deliver that level of customer service because of the integration, just to add those little things brings positivity to people's minds,” explains Charlie.

“We see the potential of Mobile Marketing Cloud in terms of connecting with our audiences in different ways, many hockey clubs, for example, use WhatsApp, so the ability to integrate WhatsApp to speak to them makes things a lot easier,” continues Iain.

A vital aspect of England Hockey is keeping it fan-centric, Neil explains how “mapping out what our fan experience looks like and then taking the time to review and get that right internally has produced a much better experience and drives a lot of our sales.”

“Our goal is to keep it simple and to not overstretch the system from an operations perspective and keep the fan experience front and centre to add extra value where we can,” concludes Charlie.

Are you interested in learning more?

Contact us and discover how you can streamline the ticketing process, personalise fan-based marketing, and ultimately enhance the fan experience with our ticketing platform.

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