Tapping into the collective to figure out an issue with ticket exchanges

Hello everyone!

tl;dr is for our winter show we have a massive amount of ticket sales and have to create a separate mirrored event just to keep track of the wait list of people. If someone can’t make a show, they email in and we send them a number of contacts for people on the waitlist who need/want that number of tickets on that date. It’s very cumbersome and I’m looking for an easier way to manage it.

Long version:
I just started at Caravan Farm Theatre and loving learning the Theatre Manager software and such. Since I haven’t been through one of the winter shows yet, I’m not sure if this is actually the best way to manage things. It seems very hands-on heavy and lots of emails seem to have been missed this last show and I’d like to mitigate that, if I even can!

The way the previous person had it set up was that there was the main event and that is fine… but then we create a completely identical event to hold our waitlist people so we can keep track of how many tickets they would like on which date, if possible.

Then… if a patron can’t make a show and they email in saying so, we email them back with the people from the waitlist who want that date and number of tickets and it’s up to the patron to work out selling them the tickets with an etransfer and to get back to us to let us know who the tickets now belong to.

I hope I’m making sense…

What do you guys do for waitlists and/or ticket transfers? Is there some magic thing inside TM or even outside using google spread sheets or something that might take some of the work a little less cumbersome?

I’m asking now to hopefully get ahead of the seasons because it sounds like it’s pretty much a gong show and I dislike those very much lol

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have! Much appreciated!
Caravan Farm Theatre

@CaravanFarmTheatre, Hi Paula! I’m afraid this isn’t something we have much experience with. Occasionally we have shows that necessitate a wait list. When this happens, we add patrons to a mail list in TM and should seats get released (either holds or patrons calling unable to attend), our Box Office goes through the mail list in date added to mail list order and calls until they find someone to take the seats. More commonly, though, our Relationships/Development department keeps a list of VIP folks who were late to the ticket game and reaches out directly after Box turns returned tickets back into holds. Either scenario is pretty rare for us though. Only the biggest blockbusters on their first tour through have that kind of demand.

Just from reading your process, I’d say that the duplicate event allows you easily track performance date interest and number of tickets, which is great (though I’m curious how you handle wait list folks who say they can attend multiple/any performance). It’s the emailing back to patrons to handle etransfers that strikes me as particularly cumbersome and an odd sharing of patron information. Assuming the volume of ticket returns is relatively small, would it be faster for your team to process directly rather than relying on patrons to do that piece? Or perhaps do a single eblast to anyone with wait list “tickets” to say hey, there are new seats avail, first come first serve and have them just buy online? Not sure the full context, but those are my first ideas in case they’re helpful! And good luck building a more efficient process!

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Hi Sophia!

That was the exact piece of it that struck me as odd/cumbersom as well!

I did talk to my predecessor briefly about it as we’re right in the middle of our summer show and this is for the winter show so miles away comparatively lol

When I did a survey of the amount of emails that came in and went out about the tickets it’s quite a lot of ticket changes and such. I feel like road conditions are one of the major factors as a lot of folks are coming from a bit of a drive or a longer drive away (1+hrs) so if it’s bad roads they don’t want to come (understandably!!)

Once we’re done our summer show, I’m def going to revisit this and see what she thinks of your ideas if it’s possible.

I do know having the duplicate show is amazing to track the date interest and # of tickets and I’m not sure how we do it if people are available for multiple dates, I’ll check on that for you later.

Much appreciated though, Sophia, thanks for the thoughts/input!

Our winter shows both feel a million miles away and right on top of us - totally get that. All the best with the summer season and I’m sure you guys will design a process improvement one way or another!