With Broadway theaters presumable shut down for the foreseeable future, would-be patrons are now flooding ticketing platforms with questions regarding the cancellation of shows. Broadw.ai, an artificial intelligence system within the Broadway network, is adjusting accordingly by adapting its software to handle the influx of customer issues.
Broadw.ai and its sister company Satisfi Labs use language processing programs to react to human inquiries and uses artificial intelligence software to create solutions. Focusing on select keywords helps the system determine overwhelming human need, which has recently been regarding the pandemic-related shutdown of Broadway theaters.
This integration runs through mobile devices as well as Amazon Alexa and Google products. Broadw.ai employees customized the software to respond to inquiries utilizing words like “coronavirus” and “shutdown” upon the March 12 closure of all theaters by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The mandate was originally set to last one month with theaters eyeing an April 13 reopening. The Broadway League has hinted at extending the shutdown by another month, however, no official announcement on a possible reopening date has been made.
As a result of the uncertainty, Broadw.ai is seeing a new influx of Broadway ticketing inquiries. CEO and co-founder Micah Hollingworth revealed to Broadway News that the company’s clients (which includes acclaimed productions Wicked, Come From Away and The Phantom of the Opera) saw a 50 percent increase in new inquiries within the first week of April as Broadway’s status post-April 12 remains unknown.
Majority of the inquiries have involved cancellations, refunds or exchange policies depending on whether productions resume. To handle the new influx of questions, the company has created a new feature allowing patrons to receive text or email alerts when scheduling decisions are made, as well as promote future ticket offers when theaters are up and running.
The frenzy regarding the Broadway shutdown has not only impacted Broadw.ai’s systems but has also led to the unprecedented postponement of June’s Tony Awards, with several productions now facing unexpected delayed openings.