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How do you do box office???

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Theater Administration
Forum Name: Running Your Theater
Forum Discription: General questions about how to make it work
URL: http://www.communitytheater.org/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=2291
Printed Date: 9/02/14 at 10:02pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: How do you do box office???
Posted By: MartyW
Subject: How do you do box office???
Date Posted: 3/08/07 at 11:58am
We currently have our tickets handled through the local arts partnership. For various reasons it may be time for a change....  We are looking for information.. How do you handle box office..

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Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."



Replies:
Posted By: dboris
Date Posted: 3/08/07 at 12:47pm
We use a combination of online sales through http://www.vendini.com/ - http://www.vendini.com/ , voice mail, and a live person who answers calls around 12 hours a week. Our box office person is paid, so she can offer both daytime and evening hours, but I don't see a problem with a community theater only offering a live box office attendant in the evenings.
 
Dan


Posted By: Nanette
Date Posted: 3/08/07 at 2:09pm

Our "box office" is the local library.  (Remember, we're in a REALLY small town.)  The librarian handles all ticket sales and telephone reservations.  This gets more people through the library, thereby increasing her patron count.  It's a win=win situation for both of us.  :o)



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In a world of margarine, be butter!


Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 3/27/07 at 10:11am
Thank you all for your responses... some great looking companies out
there.  I guess I should have been a little more specific in my request…
As I stated, we are a small theater (in number of seats anyway) we do
seven shows with a combined event night of about 56 performances a
year.  Additionally, we really want to keep costs down for our patrons
and want to add an online option to appeal to those who are more high
tech oriented… However, we DO need to keep a phone option.  Is there any
company out there who provides both online ticketing and phone orders
(so our heavy blue hair base can still get tickets) will handle a
smaller venue like ours  AND doesn’t cost the proverbial arm and a leg?

Thanks again, and please let me know if such a place is out there..

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Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."


Posted By: EddyZ
Date Posted: 3/27/07 at 10:49pm
Dan, what does Vendini run you?  I can't seem to find any pricing at their site.  (That usually bugs me.  If a company can't be up-front about their pricing, what else aren't they up-front about?)



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EddyZ
http://webpages.atlanticbb.net/~ezahurak/ - http://webpages.atlanticbb.net/~ezahurak/
http://www.nailsouptheatre.com - www.nailsouptheatre.com/


Posted By: gracie
Date Posted: 4/06/07 at 11:22pm
There is a community theatre in my area who does online ticketing and phone purchases (thru their own box office).  Their website is http://www.communityplayers.org - www.communityplayers.org
 
It looks like online purchasing is powered by tickets.com
 
Hope this helps.
 
 


Posted By: doublezero420
Date Posted: 4/14/07 at 12:30am
My CT uses the local Chamber of Comerce for walk-in ticket buyers, and takes reservations via voice-mail and our on-line reservation form. 
We print our own tickets on business card stock to save on printing costs.  It can be a pain if you use reserved seating as you would need to write seat/row numbers in by hand, but very easy if you use festival seating.  We also maintain our own website through Geocities.  If you want to see our on-line reservation form it's at http://www.geocities.com/rushcountyplayers/reservations.html - http://www.geocities.com/rushcountyplayers/reservations.html
 


Posted By: Eugened
Date Posted: 4/28/07 at 8:25pm
Check out brownpaperticket.com based in Seattle.

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Eugene d.
El Cerrito


Posted By: Kathy S
Date Posted: 4/30/07 at 11:32pm
Originally posted by doublezero420

My CT uses the local Chamber of Comerce for walk-in ticket buyers, and takes reservations via voice-mail and our on-line reservation form. 
We print our own tickets on business card stock to save on printing costs.  It can be a pain if you use reserved seating as you would need to write seat/row numbers in by hand, but very easy if you use festival seating.  We also maintain our own website through Geocities.  If you want to see our on-line reservation form it's at http://www.geocities.com/rushcountyplayers/reservations.html - http://www.geocities.com/rushcountyplayers/reservations.html
 
Sorry, doublezero420, I checked out your online reservation and accidently sent a bogus order -- I just wanted to see how it worked.  Sorry!


Posted By: trutter
Date Posted: 5/09/07 at 1:24pm
we have a local business in town that is open 9-5 sell tickets for us during the week, and then we only sell tickets at the door.  It is a great partnership, as we don't think a more automated system is worth it for our small 130 seat theater.  We only just added credit card acceptance a few months ago too.

Tickets are printed on card stock with a seat assignment based on the configuration of the theater (we are a black box)

Troy




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------
Troy A. Rutter
Author, "Kids in the Biz: A Hollywood Handbook for Parents"
http://www.kidsinthebiz.com/ - http://www.kidsinthebiz.com/
A Heinemann Drama Publication


Posted By: dpsychs
Date Posted: 6/18/07 at 7:06pm
Have you checked out Ticket Turtle?  They seem like an excellent solution for online ticket sales for small community theaters.  The service also includes lots of additional features like information management of patrons, donors, volunteers, etc.  We are just getting started with them, and they seem quite friendly, knowledgable, and helpful.
 
Their features and prices are all posted right on their website, as well:  http://www.ticketturtle.com - www.ticketturtle.com
 
Good luck.
 


Posted By: ticketjunior
Date Posted: 6/23/07 at 9:33pm
Marty W.
 
Several people have already offered very good options and ideals concerning how you can sell tickets.  Here's my option as well.
 
I've been building a web based box office software for some time now which would allow you to sell tickets both online and through your box office.  The system can handle general admission and reserved seating events, gives you the ability to take credit cards, checks, cash and even give tickets away if you want.  You'll be able to keep track of each ticket sold and account for all the money made.  The other attractive feature is that the system is completely free to use.  I haven't completed all the features of the system yet and therefore I'm current offering the Ticketjunior system free of charge to theatres and organizations like yours.  I'm looking for groups that will help me test and suggest new features for the system.
 
If you're interest and still looking for a box office software to help you sell ticket and manage your events let me know. Here's a link to my website.  http://www.ticketjunior.com - http://www.ticketjunior.com


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-James P. Walters
Phone: 404-272-4778
http://www.ticketjunior.com - www.ticketjunior.com

"We're the little guy in the ticketing business."


Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 6/24/07 at 10:02am
Thanks again for all your suggesstions and help... Our problem is we have to have a telephone option, and that option (at this time anyway) has to be provided by an outside ticket sales point.

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Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."


Posted By: ticketjunior
Date Posted: 6/24/07 at 3:09pm
Marty,
 
Having a way for patrons to call in and purchase tickets is definitely a good option.  In fact with the current venues we work with we're only seeing 20%-30% of the tickets being purchased online.  The remaining 70%-80% of tickets are being purchase either in person, over the phone and a few orders by mail and fax. 
 
With the Ticketjunior system your patrons can purchases tickets online, over the phone, in person or by mail. 
 
Purchasing tickets over the phone could look something like this. 
 
- A patron calls the box office phone number (If no one is in your box office full time maybe you could just forward the number to your cell phone or home phone.)
- You answer the call and login into our "Ticket Tools" secure administration area from any internet connected computer. (Meaning you could be in the box office, at work, home or anywhere you can be online.)
- Through our system you'll choose the performance, seats and then take their credit information right over the phone.
- You'll be able to give them a confirmation number and even send them a receipt and their tickets by email if needed; of course they could also just pick their tickets up the day of the show too.
 
The Ticketjunior system isn't just about selling tickets online its about helping you sell ticket in whatever way you choose to sell tickets.  We're trying to build a system that will give even the smallest of venues the maximum opportunity to sell tickets and streamline account.
 
Let me if this is more inline with what you're looking for.  If you're looking for someone to "fully" manage your tickets sales we can discuss what that might look like as well.
 
 
 
 


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-James P. Walters
Phone: 404-272-4778
http://www.ticketjunior.com - www.ticketjunior.com

"We're the little guy in the ticketing business."


Posted By: SpaceCoast
Date Posted: 7/10/07 at 7:22pm
What does the junior cost?

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Devon
http://www.spacecoasttheatre.com - SpaceCoastTheatre.com
http://www.surfsideplayers.com - SurfsidePlayers.com


Posted By: ticketjunior
Date Posted: 7/10/07 at 11:41pm
Devon, thanks for asking about the ticketjunior system.
 
Ticketjunior is currently FREE to use.  We're just getting started and we are looking for "partners".  We need people to sign up and help us as we complete the development efforts on our system.  We're looking for people that will help test our ticket sales platform, provide us feed back, suggest new features and just to simply use the system.  In return well let you use our system free of charge during our beta period. 
 
The system not only helps you sell ticket online but it enables you to manage all ticket sales for each event, keeps track of how much money you've made and keeps up with your customers. 
 
Devon, are you currently looking for box office software or a way to sell tickets online?  I visited your site and it looks like your site offers a great area for advertising local events.  Can you tell us more about your site and you're offering local theater groups and community theatres?
 
Thanks again for asking about the system.  Let me know if I can help answer more of your questions. 


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-James P. Walters
Phone: 404-272-4778
http://www.ticketjunior.com - www.ticketjunior.com

"We're the little guy in the ticketing business."


Posted By: SpaceCoast
Date Posted: 7/10/07 at 11:55pm
Yes, I'm looking for ways to sell tickets online. I will register on your website and look around. I'm looking for ways to intergrate ticketing into my Joomla/MySQL/PHP websites.
 
I volunteered at my theatre as a webmaster (SurfsidePlayers.com) and I now run a local website for community theatres (SpaceCoastTheatre.com) and would like to be able to offer tickets sales in the future. But since it is with several theatres I don't think I could apply it on SCT, but could recommend your website to them and let them read for themselves.
 
I look forward to looking at your software.
 
Thanks for the info!


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Devon
http://www.spacecoasttheatre.com - SpaceCoastTheatre.com
http://www.surfsideplayers.com - SurfsidePlayers.com


Posted By: BirdieC
Date Posted: 7/27/07 at 3:10pm
We used Vendini, but they had TERRIBLE customer service. Switching to Ticket Turtle was the best move for us. We have not had any trouble, the people are great, and our patrons have noticed a positive difference since our switch. Highly recommend Ticket Turtle. Don't get thrown off by their website. It looks kitschy, but per our techie guy, "anyone who knows anything about technology would pick Ticket Turtle over the other guys". As the money person, my main concern was the price.




Posted By: bones123
Date Posted: 7/29/07 at 6:36pm
On the contrary, we love Vendini.  We looked at every solution out there and they were by far the leader in the space. I think they have over 3000 customers now...a few years ago, when we joined, they only had about 500.  Customer service has never been a problem, in fact, we've been very satisfied with their level of service - extremely professional.  I plug their service whenever I can, they've really made things easy for us.  I encourage any organization to do a full evaluation and compare, you'll see what I mean. 


Posted By: spotlight
Date Posted: 7/30/07 at 2:07pm
I have to agree with bones123.  In my experience, the customer service at Vendini has always been top notch and very professional.  As for the price, if I remember correctly, the two systems were somewhat comparable.

We chose Vendini because it's a more established company.  After all, they're handling our money and are a critical piece of our business.  We view them as being a partner of ours.  I feel that we made the safe choice.

Also, the box office staff really enjoys using it.  They'd probably have my head if we tried to switch to something else.

My 2 cents.



Posted By: dreamer
Date Posted: 8/17/07 at 10:05pm
We use Ticket Turtle and they are fabulous. They have a very comprehensive system and it's completely customizable. http://www.ticketturtle.com is the URL to their website. Customer support is great and very reasonable rates.  Fast and easy, which is what I was looking for since several different people would need to use it.  I agree with previous poster, you should look around and consider all your options, what works for one person may not work for you.

One difference between Ticket Turtle and Vendini I noticed is that it appears that Vendini does not have an integrated donor management and donation system and also it looks like Vendini doesn't allow customers to choose specific seats but rather they can keep asking the system to choose different seats until they land upon the ones they want. But I would have to say the big thing that sold us on Ticket Turtle is that they provide so many more tools all in one place than any other competitor for the same or lower price.  So if it costs the same to get a ticket sales and marketing program as it costs to get ticket sales, donor and patron management, marketing, and many other customizable options, it really doesn't cost the same because with one you get a lot more than the other.




Posted By: boxofficebull
Date Posted: 8/20/07 at 2:19pm

I have to agree with bones123 also. Ticket Turtle's application felt like I was using a fancy Excel spreadsheet - lots of fields and links but not a sense of flow, consistency, or intuitive feedback. It came across as amateur.  I agree, there are lots of features, but using them efficiently was a different story.

Simply put, we were sold on Vendini's software design.  The product felt mature - you could tell they took their time to do it right. I really don't see these two solutions as comparable. Ticket Turtle appears to be great for very small venues on a shoestring budget - where cost is the big concern. Other good options for these types of venues would be eTix and Brown Paper Tickets - I've used them in the past. For a larger, more professional operation such as ours, we had 3 solutions on our short list after an exhaustive search/evaluation (Tickets.com, Tessitura, and Vendini).  We decided on Vendini and haven't looked back.
 
And, to respond to "Dreamer," Vendini does offer an integrated Membership & Donation management system.  It is offered under a Beta program (similar to how Google does it).  It is comprehensive and is working great for us. 
 
One feature we love with the system is that we can print out 10,000+ custom targeted mailing labels with a few clicks.  It looks like Vendini has partnered with Avery and Adobe to make this happen.  Our marketing department is very happy to say the least.
 


Posted By: EddyZ
Date Posted: 8/20/07 at 4:38pm
(You wouldn't have to partner with Avery and Adobe to do that.  Avery's template specs can be found just about anywhere, and the PDF spec is mostly open and available.  It's probably about 10 lines of ASP.NET coding to print out those labels. :) )

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EddyZ
http://webpages.atlanticbb.net/~ezahurak/ - http://webpages.atlanticbb.net/~ezahurak/
http://www.nailsouptheatre.com - www.nailsouptheatre.com/


Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 8/29/07 at 2:22am
This might be of interest to James from 'ticketjunior';-

http://www.theatre.asn.au/green_room_gossip/ticket_sales_0 - http://www.theatre.asn.au/green_room_gossip/ticket_sales_0

Which may be of interest, it is on the 'theatre australia' website.
 

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      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}



Posted By: ticketjunior
Date Posted: 8/29/07 at 1:13pm

Joe,

Thanks for thinking about me.  Yes, that was definitely a very good post concerning why Community Theatre groups are opting to use 3rd party companies to handle ticket sales.  It not only helps reduce the overhead and headache of selling tickets but helps maximize the opportunity to sell tickets.

Selling tickets is about marketing.  If people don't know about the show they sure aren't going to buy tickets.
 
http://www.theatre.asn.au - http://www.theatre.asn.au  also looks like another very good resource for community theaters.
 
Thanks again for letting me know about the site and that particular post.
 
 


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-James P. Walters
Phone: 404-272-4778
http://www.ticketjunior.com - www.ticketjunior.com

"We're the little guy in the ticketing business."


Posted By: Gaafa
Date Posted: 8/29/07 at 8:01pm
She's aright mate!
We have used BOCS since our theatre started up a few years ago.
There was the usual oposition to using the bocs, but that vanished fairly early.
the main hiccup is they stop  taking bookings for the show 48 hours prior to end of the season, which is logical.
So the group have to get that message across by word of mouth or in thier promotional material.
However the returns make it worth while & they will furnish all the relevant demographics & information collected about the season. Also the show is included in Bocs monthly promotional newletter, they send to all those who book with them, as a bonus,
The agency is run by the State government department for the arts & culture. seems to the only gov run thing that actualy works.
We opted to pay all charges & fees atracted by the purchase of tickets, such as credit card fees & Goods & Services Tax of 10% which we absorb, rather than pass it on to the punters. which we consider as just a promotional show cost.  The only fees we don't cover are the extra charge at piont of sale, for using the various local walk in Agency Branches for Bocs, who charge it directly to  the punters choosing to buy from the shops  in various regional areas.
All in all it works well for us & our situation, although there is still a lot of groups who resist changing from thier old system of box office, which has been in play for more than forty five years! Run by some dear old dragon lady who still makes the same blues of over selling & messing up seat alocations - Believing they loose too much adding to the ticket price. but that's the way it is!
We handle our own comps as this can become a bunch of knitting with bocs handling it, only if they recieve block bookins, where by we authorise them to give 1 free for every !0 purchased;- http://www.bocsticketing.com.au/ - http://www.bocsticketing.com.au/
There are other central ticket agencies of course, but these are national orginisations & are possibly better geared for Oz wide larger events.







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      Joe
Western Gondawandaland
turn right @ Perth.
Hear the light & see the sound.
Toi Toi Toi Chookas {{"chook [chicken] it is"}
May you always play
to a full house}



Posted By: landon2006
Date Posted: 3/10/08 at 3:46pm
The Theater we rent for our Production's has it's own Box Office w/ Online and Phone abilities thats included with the rental fee.

If this option is not available, I would suggest using a software like Vendini (www.vendini.com).


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