What ASI did right, and what they could have done better
by Michelle Matos
I’m sure ASI was fully aware that chaos was bound to happen from offering $10 Disneyland tickets to a group of 37,500 students, and limiting it to the first 1,000 buyers.
If you were one of the hundreds of students waiting in the line - which extended from the USU all the
way to the CSULB library - to buy tickets to Long Beach State ASI Day at Disney, you probably witnessed the commotion, frustration, and outrage that unfolded among the crowds. Here is what ASI did well, and what they could have done better in terms of public relations and crisis prevention.
ASI announced this year’s ASI Big Event on Facebook at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 5. Although it was short notice, ASI did well at promoting the event over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and on the ASI website. It seems nearly every student was aware of the tickets: For just $10, CSULB students get all-day access to Disneyland on Friday, May 11, and access to an exclusive hospitality area with food and LB swag from 2 to 6 p.m.
What wasn’t so delightful, for both students and the ASI team, was the process of ticket sales. Many
students missed class, skipped lunch, lost study time, held their need for a bathroom for over two hours, and threw off their day for the chance to buy a ticket to the first-ever ASI Day at Disney. If ASI had a more organized system in place for ticket sales, and better on site communication, they could’ve avoided these problems for over 1,000 students.
I arrived just before 1 p.m. and ended up in the middle of the crowd, right in the gray area of whether
the line was within or past 1,000 students. As time passed, more and more people started jumping into the front area of the line, cutting people who had been waiting for over an hour, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. At 2 o’clock, ticket sales finally began and my area of the line still didn’t budge for half an hour, while the mob of people at the front trickled in, 10 to 20 at a time.
Every student around me and behind me spent the hour wondering the same thing: What number am I in line? How many tickets have been sold so far? Will I even get a ticket? Should I just leave now? A few people near the front turned to look at those further behind in line and held up three fingers, as if to say “May the odds be ever in your favor.” The line eventually began to move at a decent rate for the next hour, until they finally announced that tickets were sold out. Students blew up all over ASI’s social
media, flooding their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter comments with complaints.
ASI did everything right, in theory, in terms of online communication with students. They had FAQs on
their website before the day of ticket sales, they sent out updates on Twitter and Instagram Story during the hours of ticket sales, and they responded to many comments over social media before, during, and after the sales.
However, not even the best PR plan can fix a faulty product (in this case, the insufficient supply of
tickets). Of course, the only way to have satisfied every student in line, would’ve been to have enough
tickets available for everyone in the first place. But since the number of tickets was so limited, ASI
needed to have a seamless process of selling them in a way that was as fair to everyone as possible.
My suggestions? Option 1: Communicate with students in person and give out frequent updates to
everyone regarding how many tickets have been sold. By the 900th ticket sold, there should not have
still been more than 500 people waiting in line. Option 2: Give each person in line a number. This
would’ve avoided people from skipping ahead and cutting to the front, and would’ve limited the line to
Hundreds of students were left disappointed on Monday afternoon, to say the least, after more than
two hours of waiting in line and not even a Disneyland ride at the end of it, let alone a Disneyland ticket. I experienced the devastation first-hand; I was next in line when they sold out.
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