“Monthly Expert Interview”
Mike: Hey guys, welcome to the F1FanAdvisor “Expert Interview” series. This interview series is for F1® fans, especially newer USA-based fans for valuable “behind-the-scenes” insights directly from the experts in the industry of Formula One involved in the ticketing industry, the apparel industry, travel and collectibles.
Let’s get right into it. Ticketing is very important, and it’s not as simple as it seems, especially for newer USA based fans. We have a track in Texas, but we still have to get out there to the other tracks around the world because they are beautiful.
This month we have a “ticket expert” on. We have Sarah MarGree from http://www.bookf1.com/. I chose BookF1 because it’s a cool site. I’ve been on it and I use it. BookF1 works with all circuits. They’re an authorized supplier of Formula 1® Grand Prix tickets and they will book these races around the world. I’ll let Sarah expand on that.
I’m excited about this one because the ticketing season is probably starting very soon for the new season. We’re at the beginning of the NEW season. It should be very exciting.
Sarah, do you want to tell us a couple of things about http://www.bookf1.com/?
Sarah: We’re based over in the U.K. We’re a quite a small company, but we get along well with all the circuits. We’re work closely with them all. We have good relationships with everybody who works there. We have contacts that give us all the up-to-date information. It’s quite a small team. We’ve got a good relationship with our customers as well. It’s quite a personal relationship, so we find we get on really well with everybody.
Mike: That’s exactly true. There are a lot of ticket companies out there. But one of the reasons I picked BookF1 is because if you go to the site, you’re going to see a couple dozen testimonials from happy customers. As I always write on my website, we give them ratings and people drop by our website to rate different companies. Happy customer testimonials are huge to me because you know that other people have been there, went through the process and they’re happy with what BookF1 offers. That’s really cool. I wanted to mention that. That’s a big deal.
For our interview series, let’s get in some questions. It’s going to be good information for buying tickets. How can Formula 1® fans make the smartest choices when shopping for Formula 1® tickets? That’s a very broad question, but believe it or not, there are pitfalls out there. Buying a ticket is a big deal. It’s a vacation; it’s a big process; it’s a big event. Do you have any general advice for smart choices when shopping for F1® tickets?
Sarah: We recommend that everybody does their research before they go ahead and buy tickets; partly because the circuits don’t allow any cancellations or amendments once the ticket has been booked. We make sure that our customers have researched the travel and accommodations in the area to make sure that everything is set up before you make that booking. It can cost a lot of money if things go wrong.
You need to make sure that you get the right stand for you. Obviously, there are quite a lot of different options for you. On our website there’s plenty of information to assist with that. We’ve got details about the local area, about the races, as well as options on how to get to the circuit over the weekend.
We do provide as much information as possible about each viewing area to make the decision easy. For many of the races, you’ll find that there are a lot of photos of it and there are usually descriptions about what you can see, so you know what to expect from the stands. We’ve also got a review section there, which a lot of people find helpful.
If you feel like you need more information, there’s always people at http://www.bookf1.com/ who are reachable by e-mail or phone as well.
Mike: That’s a great answer. When you said the review section, what is “reviews”? Is it track or event race reviews? What does that have on it? I don’t remember that one.
Sarah: It’s both. We send out an e-mail after people have been to the race, so those people can give us their feedback. They can let us know exactly how they found the circuit, how they found the facilities, the travel, whether it’s busy and they can comment on the atmosphere. Also, they give their reviews with regards to the specific grandstands or areas that they were in as well. They let us know what the views were like, and just generally if they were happy overall.
Mike: That’s good. Each race is a giant vacation. It’s a giant travel package. Nothing is the same each race and each location. I imagine that’s really important. There’s nothing like reading feedback from other people.
Sarah: Exactly. It is helpful.
Mike: Can you give us some advice in regards to track seating and locations to see a race? All the tracks and areas are designed differently, but is there anything regarding seating and location?
Sarah: When we get this question we say everybody is different. Everybody is looking for different things when they visit. Some people are looking for seeing the pits and the garages, the start/finish lines, or sometimes it’s seeing the overtaking versus the speeds out on a straight. Wherever possible, we do try to provide our customers reviews on the experience. I think people find that particularly helpful, particularly if they haven’t been to the circuit before.
There are a few basic rules you can use to narrow your search. For example, the prices give a good indication of the views offered in the areas. There’s also a list of basic facilities for each area, including whether the grandstand is covered, if the seating is reserved, or if you’re going to have a TV screen there. We would always say make sure you look at each of those things before you make your decision. A lot of those things are important, particularly things like TV screens.
Mike: That’s a lot of things to think about. You have seating, overtaking, and TVs. There are other events, too. It’s not just the race. You can check out the pits or maybe see the drivers. What other types of things are possible when you go see one of these? I know you’ve possibly got to spend a lot of money, but what other things are possible?
Sarah: Some of the circuits do pit walks, particularly if you’ve got a weekend ticket. They might hold those on a Thursday. As well as the main race, you’ve got support races. You’ve got different activities going on around the circuit when you’re there. Some people might want to consider the facilities and the other activities that are happening around the circuit while they’re there. Those are also things to look into.
Mike: I imagine there are various different price ranges and packages. A pit walk would be awesome. If you’re going to go there, you might as well go there.
Mike: We’re early in the season. Is there a best time to buy ticket when you’re going to see a race? Since this is a big event, is there a timing preference that you think of?
Sarah: We usually say buy the tickets as soon as they go on sale. A lot of the races have an early bird price period. As soon as the sales open up, often you can save yourself between 10-40% on the full ticket price. We definitely recommend getting in there early.
On our website, we do have a place where you can register your e-mail address before the sales open, so as soon as they go on sale we’ll send you an e-mail straight away and you can get the tickets at the best price.
Sometimes there is an exception to that. If you’re looking for single-day tickets perhaps, sometimes they go on sale later in the sales period. But that information will be on our ticket page if that is the case. Booking early also gives you the best opportunity to get the seats you want as well. The popular grandstands tend to sell out early, and the best seats in them get snatched up quite quickly as well.
The earlier you make your booking, the more likely it is we can get you the seats you want and the views you want. The only thing we’d say is if you are booking early, make sure that you keep your travel flexible until the calendar has been confirmed for the year.
Mike: This is like booking a vacation. When you say early, does that mean four weeks early or four months early? I know it probably varies, but is there a general early? What does that mean?
Sarah: We say “early” as in as soon as the tickets go on sale. If you go on the ticket page for the event, we’ve got a place so you can put your e-mail address in. It is dependent on the circuit and you can register there. We’ll e-mail you as soon as they go on sale. It’s usually a few months before.
Mike: Put in your e-mail at http://www.bookf1.com/ and you’ll be notified that day and you can just jump right on it, depending on what race. That’s good. Ticket delivery methods; I have in my free report that’s on www.F1FanAdvisor.com, there are a couple of incidents where deliveries didn’t happen by companies who are not reputable and are out of business. Can you talk about ticket delivery methods?
Sarah: Most of the tickets are dispatched by courier before the race. Some of the venues will offer a box office collections service, but it’s not across the board. We know that a lot of people travel on the lead-up to the race, so we try to be as flexible as we can with our delivery options. We always say if you’re concerned about receiving your ticket before you leave, if you just let us know the day when you’ll be leaving, we make a note of that and it does flag up to us.
In the event that we can’t get the tickets to you for any reason before you go, we’ll always get in touch with you to sort out something else. We know that it’s nice to have the tickets in your hand before you leave, but it’s always dependent on when they’ve been printed by the circuit. Some of the venues do offer ticket options for late bookings, and we’ll offer it where we can, but at the end of the day they’re usually sent out before. We always say make sure you keep them safe because lost or stolen tickets can’t be replaced. Make sure you know where they are once you get them.
Mike: So, it depends on the venue. You guys don’t have control. It depends on the venue most of the time.
Sarah: That’s entirely true.
Mike: I would keep in touch with you, because I don’t want to leave for Monaco and not have tickets in hand, then find out bad news! So, keep in touch. You guys send them out as soon as you can, and then if there are any variables then talk to http://www.bookf1.com/.
Sarah: That’s right,. Just keep in contact with us. As long as we know, we’ll make sure the tickets get to you.
Mike: As far as planning a trip, it’s usually friends or family going. They travel across the world for buying tickets for a group or a family – you’ve mentioned children to me previously – how does that work as far as tickets? Is it better to buy in groups? Do you have any advice there? I don’t know about that.
Sarah: Some of the circuits have started to cater for a wider variety of people. It used to be a standard ticket price, mostly. Now they’ve started opening up discounts for child tickets. One or two of them do options for senior tickets as well. If you’re thinking of taking a child, be sure to check the events and the viewing areas. There’s often a discounted rate, and you can usually save yourself up to about half the ticket price on a child ticket.
Some of the races will offer a family ticket option, too. That usually applies for general admission. You can save yourself a lot of money there, instead of buying the four individual tickets. It’s definitely something to consider before you book.
Mike: I imagine general admission is not as great as the other viewing areas, which makes sense. Can children sit anywhere? Are there specific locations or can they just sit anywhere? You pay for the ticket and you’re fine?
Sarah: It’s dependent upon each circuit. They all do it differently. Some of the circuits will do child areas and do child tickets in certain grandstands. For example, in Britain they only do it in a few of the grandstands. Some of them will just say that if a child is under a certain age, they’ll get free admission, or if they’re not occupying a seat they’ll have free admission. Just check out the details on the bottom of the page for each of them.
Mike: I know about a few circuits, but not all of them. It’s very circuit-dependent, and you have to keep in close talks with http://www.bookf1.com/ in order to make sure the purchaser is on the right track. That’s good to know.
What do you think about this season? Are there any changes that anyone should know about or is it pretty much the same as it always has been regarding ticketing?
Sarah: Most of the circuits tend to keep the same, more or less, each year. They do take feedback on what people say. We tend to provide our customers feedback after each event as well. In relation to that, a lot of the circuits will, if something has not worked out very well one year, they’ll mend it slightly the next year. They did that quite a lot in Britain this year and changed all the ticket options.
If you’ve been to the event before, just double-check what you were booking and what it’s going to entitle you to because sometimes they do amend the details on what you get included with your ticket.
Mike: That’s very helpful. I think I’ve covered all my bases. Do you have any final advice to offer? Do you have anything on your website that fans should check out? I would check out the testimonials, if I’m looking into this right now. The testimonials are great. There are tons of them from happy people.
Sarah: As you mentioned, the reviews are always very, very good. Everyone finds them really valuable. We’ve got an FAQ page on there as well. It’s got a very broad range of information. Sometimes if you haven’t considered it, if you just pop on that page, it might bring up something you’ve not yet considered. Then you can look into that and make sure everything is as you want it.
Mike: Check out the site, like Sarah recommended. You can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can put you in touch with Sarah directly. I’m looking forward to the new season. I’m looking forward to the new season! Any last words Sarah, before we leave?
Sarah: Just make sure that you do your research, and if we can be of any help at all, just get in touch. No problem.
Mike: Looking forward to it! Thanks for your time, Sarah. I’m sure we’ll be in touch again. We look forward to a great season and working with http://www.bookf1.com/.
Sarah: Great! Thanks a lot! Cheers, Mike!
Mike: Thank You!