Why should you consider ticketing for your organisation?
Having a good ticketing system in place can mean so much more than just providing entry to your organisation. Beyond being a doorway, ticketing can also provide you with insight into your audience’s behaviour, as well as a link to stay connected with them. By giving people the option to easily pre-book their visit, it shifts the idea in their mind from “Should I visit?” to “When will I visit?”.
Make sure it works for you
Before anything, there is a difference between a box office system and a ticketing system. A ticketing system is simply what it says on the tin, a tool to sell tickets. A box office system has many features such as seating charts, audience check-in, communication tools and advanced analytics. It is basically a customer relationship management software and a ticketing system combined into one.
If you don’t currently have any of those systems, you may not realise the wealth of resources it could provide for your organisation. By having a ticketing system in place, it creates an avenue for audiences to connect with you. It’s also a way for you to learn more about how they engage with you.
Launching something new for your organisation can be daunting but think about how it may help resolve issues affecting your organisation. A ticketing system can help with the following:
- Do you find it difficult to keep track of your visitor numbers/data because you’re not charging for entry?
- Do you find yourself worrying about whether or not people will show up?
- Do you want to improve your customer experience?
- Do you want to reward customer loyalty?
- Do you want to get a better understanding of how your audiences engage with you?
- Who are they?
- What do they visit you for?
- How often do they come?
- Who do they come with?
Evaluate where current issues lie and consider the possibilities of how ticketing may help improve the situation. There is a wide variety of ticketing and box office platforms now available, free and paid, so choices may be overwhelming. Take your time to consider what your needs are and shop around to see which platform best suits you.
If you already have a ticketing system in place and are considering making changes, make sure that you contact your current supplier to make use of their knowledge and experience. Issues with your ticketing system can potentially create barriers for your audiences in the booking process and put them off visiting. It is in everyone’s best interest to troubleshoot problems with your current system. Your current supplier can support you in making the most out of their platform.
Consider the online booker experience
Using an online ticketing system is not only beneficial to you, but it will also help to make things easier for your audiences. You want to consider all the hurdles that stand in the way of someone booking and remove as many as you can. By adding ticketing to your website, this creates a new entry way to your organisation. Having a ticket system that can be easily navigated gives an indication of the experience they will receive from your company.
Provide clear guidance on how to book tickets and ensure the website interface is accessible so that people aren’t put off and decide to wait to buy in-person instead. Your website is often the first impression audiences have of your organisation, so for your audiences to have a positive experience is a must. It’s not only about them booking tickets but also about providing as much information as possible to inform their decision and prepare them for their visit.
Remember some of your audience members who may have access requirements as well. Does your ticketing or box office system allow them to book online? Or do they have to call you directly to book accessible seats? Depending on which system you use, there are simple ways for you to tweak it and make it more accessible.
It can be difficult to find time in your busy schedule to pause and review what you’re doing, but we highly recommend allocating an hour or two of your time to explore your website and go through the ticket purchasing experience. How does it feel? Is it straightforward? Are there elements that could be improved? Your Google Analytics account will be a helpful tool for you to figure it out.
Keep in touch
A ticketing system also helps you to identify your different audience segments. As a sector, we’re always on the lookout for new audiences, but think about those who have already booked tickets to your organisation. They are the people you want to hold on to and keep happy to increase customer loyalty. The good thing is that they are already there, within reach. Some of the things you can do:
- You can send out a thank you to first time visitors and make sure they know you appreciate them.
- Use this opportunity to encourage them to sign-up to your newsletter, follow you on your social media channels or to share about their experience with you.
For returning attenders, you could use a different approach:
- Have a look at their previous bookings and what they’re interested in. This way, you will be able to create different segments and personalise the information they get from you. You can also tailor your marketing emails to keep them engaged and offer them more of the events that appeal to them.
- Alternatively, promotional offers are another way to encourage re-attendance.
- Encourage loyalty from audiences with memberships or loyalty schemes, offer things like early booking, discounts or behind the scenes access to audiences that frequently attend your events.
Manage visitor capacity
Ticketing systems have been useful for organisations hosting in-person events, particularly considering restrictions on numbers of people gathering over the past two years. Pre-booking has been a great tool for organisations looking to manage their visitor capacity. Restrictions aside, managing your visitor numbers can also assist in the day-to-day organisation of staff and resources. Without ticketing data, you will only be able to make educated guesses about how many visitors you may have on certain days. With access to ticketing data, you can make informed decisions on what resources you need to provide a smooth experience for audiences.
Our latest Missing Audiences research indicated that audiences feel safer in spaces where they can avoid large crowds. They also trust the organisation to implement appropriate safety measures in place. From the get-go, by having a ticketing system, audiences are told that your organisation has control over capacity. You may want to let audiences know how many tickets are sold or how many remain. This information can encourage them to book sooner as tickets run low or can help direct to book for another day or time slot where numbers of other visitors are lower.
If you are thinking about making changes to your ticketing approach you want to make sure you stay audience-focused. Ticketing is just one way to help provide you with the data to reach the ultimate goal, which is audience loyalty. When you stay connected with your audiences it gives them more opportunity to fall in love with you. The data that ticketing provides goes beyond just tracking things for administration support. With the right ticketing platform, you can gain a better understanding of:
- When to prepare for busy days
- Who your repeat visitors are
- What your individual guests are most interested in
- Your most successful events
- The behaviours of different people in your audiences
Resources to review
There is plenty of information out there to help inform and guide you through your decision to adapt to a new ticketing system. What you decide to do will be personal to your organisation and it may take time to weigh up the different options. The below links provide further insights into the uses of ticketing and Customer Relation Management systems.
If you want to talk more about ticketing and the possibilities for your organisation, feel free to contact Eve Murtagh at email@example.com.
Guidance on choosing the right ticketing tech for you:
Details on the possibilities of your ticket system for audience development:
Introduction to ticketing for museums and galleries: