Theater Ticketing System Essentials

published on 26 December 2023

Most theater owners would agree that managing ticketing can be complex, with the need to sell across multiple channels while delivering great customer experiences.

The right theater ticketing system makes this achievable, enabling you to maximize revenue, streamline operations, and enhance customer satisfaction.

In this post, we'll cover the essential features and capabilities a modern ticketing solution should provide - from multiple sales channels to audience view ticket scanning. We'll also explore top systems like AudienceView, TheaterMania, and Ticket Tailor, outlining key factors to consider when selecting the best software for your theater's needs.

Introduction to Theater Ticketing Systems

Theater ticketing systems play a pivotal role in modern cinema operations by enabling owners to sell tickets online and in-person, engage audiences, and maximize revenue. As the gateway for moviegoers to access shows, an effective ticketing platform should make the ticket buying process smooth, convenient, and enjoyable.

When evaluating theater ticketing systems, here are some key capabilities to look for:

Understanding the Role of Theater Ticketing Software

The core function of a ticketing system is to help you configure and sell event listings. Key features include:

  • Flexible event and seating chart creation
  • Robust ticket type and pricing options
  • Discounts, bundles, and upsell functionality
  • Powerful reporting and analytics

With the right software, you can optimize online and in-person sales while gaining data-driven insights to make smart business decisions.

Exploring Multiple Sales Channels

An omnichannel approach is vital for giving moviegoers choice and convenience. A ticketing system should enable sales through:

  • Box office terminals
  • Custom theater websites and mobile apps
  • Call centers
  • Third-party channels like FareHarbor

Tight integration between these channels provides a seamless experience for customers and staff.

Creating Engaging Moviegoer Experiences on Theater Websites

In addition to processing transactions, your ticketing platform plays a big role in shaping the overall moviegoing experience. Interactive seat maps, trailers and concessions upsells can engage visitors. Optimized layouts and designs entice them to buy tickets.

Leveraging Theater Discounts to Enhance Sales

Strategic use of discounts and special offers helps fill seats during slow periods. Your system should empower you to easily configure and apply:

  • Discount codes
  • Loyalty programs
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Group rates
  • More

Incorporating the Audience View Ticket Scanner for Efficient Entry

Long lines dampen the moviegoing experience. That's why fast and efficient ticket scanning is so important. Mobile solutions like AudienceView Ticket Scanner enable staff to quickly scan digital and print tickets on tablets for faster entry and shorter wait times.

What is the best online ticketing system?

Choosing the right online ticketing system is crucial for cinemas to efficiently sell tickets, manage seat reservations, track sales, and provide a seamless moviegoing experience. Here are some of the top theater ticketing systems to consider:

Ticketbud

  • Cloud-based SaaS ticketing platform designed for small to midsize venues
  • Allows creating custom ticket types, flexible pricing rules, discounts, etc.
  • Seamless integration with cinema websites and apps for online sales
  • Robust box office management features like barcode scanning, sales reporting, etc.

Accelevents

  • Specialized for selling tickets to live entertainment events
  • Flexible event and seating configuration to match cinema layout
  • Custom branding and design for online ticket store
  • Tools for access control, attendance tracking, etc.

Ticket Tailor

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface to build custom ticket store
  • Social media integration and customizable widgets
  • Options for discount codes, bundle deals, upsells, etc.
  • Detailed sales and customer analytics

The best fit would depend on the cinema's specific needs and scale. Key aspects to evaluate include ease of use, customizability, box office and website integration, discounts and bundle pricing, sales analytics, and responsive customer support. Considering both robust features and affordable pricing is advisable.

What is a CRM ticket?

A CRM ticketing system integrates customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities into help desk ticketing software. This allows support teams to access customer information directly within tickets, providing helpful context for resolving issues more efficiently.

Some key capabilities of a CRM-based ticketing system include:

  • Two-way sync between CRM and help desk: Customer and company data flows between systems automatically, keeping information up-to-date on both sides.
  • Customer context in tickets: Details like contact info, order history, and past issues are surfaced right in the ticket interface for agent reference.
  • Ticket details in CRM: Support interactions are logged as activities on customer records in the CRM for a comprehensive view of engagement.
  • Single unified agent workspace: Agents can manage tickets and access CRM data from one central interface instead of toggling between multiple systems.

By eliminating silos between customer service and sales/marketing teams, a CRM ticketing system aims to provide more personalized, efficient service fueled by greater insight into each customer. This ultimately leads to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty over time.

What is an ERP ticket?

An ERP (enterprise resource planning) ticketing system is software that allows theaters and other entertainment venues to efficiently manage customer service interactions.

Key capabilities of an ERP ticketing module include:

  • Processing sales data from box office, concession, and online sales channels
  • Tracking customer support tickets and inquiries
  • Assigning tickets to staff and monitoring response times
  • Reporting on ticket volume, resolution rates, common issues

Benefits

Integrating a ticketing system into an ERP platform provides theaters with several advantages:

  • Consolidated data: Ticket data flows into the central ERP system rather than separate software. This gives a unified view of customers.
  • Improved efficiency: Staff can access customer profiles and history when responding to inquiries, reducing resolution time.
  • Enhanced reporting: Theater managers can run reports to identify trends, common issues, staff performance in resolving tickets, and opportunities to improve.
  • Lower costs: An integrated system eliminates the need for separate ticketing software, reducing licensing fees.

Considerations

Factors to evaluate when selecting an ERP ticketing module include:

  • Integration with other theater software like POS and CRM systems
  • Customizability of fields, views, workflows
  • Self-service options for customer ticket submission
  • Mobile access for responding to tickets on-the-go

Choosing the right ticketing software ensures theaters can provide excellent customer service experiences and operate efficiently.

What is the ticketing tool widely used?

The most widely used ticketing tools for theaters include:

Zendesk: A popular customer service software with basic ticketing capabilities.

  • Starting price: $55 per agent/month
  • Free trial: 14 days

Zoho Desk: Affordable customer support software with some ticketing features.

  • Starting price: $20 per agent/month
  • Free trial: 15 days

Freshdesk: Free customer service software for small teams, with ticket management tools.

  • Starting price: Free up to 10 agents
  • Free trial: 21 days

HappyFox: Help desk software with robust ticketing and automation. Good for mid-sized theaters.

  • Starting price: $39 per agent/month
  • Free trial: 14 days

The right theater ticketing system depends on your cinema's size and needs. Small indie theaters can benefit from free tools like Freshdesk. More complex operations will require advanced software like Zendesk or HappyFox with customizable ticketing workflows.

Look for systems with automation to simplify ticket handling, SLAs to ensure fast response times, and analytics to identify trends. Integrations with payment gateways, calendar tools etc. also help streamline operations. Leverage free trials to test software before deciding. Investing in the optimal system pays dividends through better ticket sales and moviegoer experiences.

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Key Benefits of Modern Ticketing Systems

Investing in a capable, cloud-based ticketing solution brings many advantages compared to legacy systems in terms of features, scalability, and data-driven insights.

Maximizing Revenue with Theatre Discount Tickets

Modern ticketing systems like AudienceView allow cinemas to easily create bundled deals that pair discounted movie tickets with concessions or other offerings. These upsell opportunities, customized based on real-time data and insights, help drive overall per-capita revenue.

Key features include:

  • Flexible discounting rules and promotions
  • Targeted upsell offers based on customer data
  • Real-time sales analytics to optimize deals

By moving beyond siloed point-of-sale systems, theatres can capture more revenue per guest visit.

Streamlining Operations with Box Office Software

Integrating key cinema systems under a centralized box office software solution brings major operational efficiencies. Critical capabilities include:

  • Unified data and reporting across ticketing, concessions, marketing etc.
  • Process automation for mundane tasks
  • Staff productivity tracking
  • Intuitive POS and self-serve kiosks

Modern solutions like Ticket Source reduce manual efforts for staff while capturing the data needed for smarter decisions across the organization.

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Seamless Ticketing Solutions

In addition to back-end features, modern ticketing systems also focus on engaging and convenient customer experiences. Capabilities like:

  • Mobile ticketing and ticketless entry
  • In-theater upsell offers via app
  • Personalized recommendations

Solutions from vendors like AudienceView allow theaters to meet rising expectations for seamless, personalized experiences.

Utilizing Event Management Software for Performing Arts Venues

While cinema-focused systems meet the needs of movie theaters, performing arts organizations require tailored solutions. Capabilities like:

  • Flexible seating charts and packages
  • Donation management
  • Volunteer coordination

Robust event management software like AudienceView allows performing arts venues to manage unique operational needs while still providing modern patron experiences.

Evaluating Theater Ticketing Systems

When researching potential platforms, theater owners should assess both core functionality as well as implementation factors to ensure the system meets their cinema's needs.

Assessing Core Capabilities and Theatre Ticketing Software Features

Key features to evaluate in a theater ticketing system include:

  • Configurable tickets/events - Ability to create customized ticket types, packages, bundles, etc.
  • Interactive seat maps - Visual selection of specific seats/sections during online ticket purchases.
  • Integration with box office - Sync ticket sales between online and in-person box office systems.
  • Discounts and special offers - Create promotional codes, loyalty programs, dynamic pricing, etc.
  • Mobile ticketing - Allow ticket purchases/redemption from mobile devices.
  • Reporting and analytics - Track sales, revenue, traffic sources, etc. to optimize operations.

The system should also have robust security, PCI compliance, customer support, and the ability to scale with your growing needs.

Considering the Ease of Implementation and Use

To ensure smooth adoption, assess:

  • Setup time and resources needed - Some systems may require lengthy development projects.
  • Ease of customization - Tailor the platform to your cinema's branding needs and workflows.
  • Staff training requirements - Evaluate complexity for box office personnel to process orders.
  • Ongoing platform management - Level of effort needed from your technical team for upgrades and maintenance.

Choosing a system that is intuitive and easy to manage can minimize friction during rollout.

Vendor Support and Roadmap for Box Office Software

Key elements that indicate a reliable solution provider:

  • Hands-on implementation assistance - Vendors that help configure software and migrate data.
  • Responsive customer service - Quick resolution in case any issues arise.
  • System upgrades and feature improvements - Ensure ongoing innovation to meet emerging needs.

Evaluate their overall commitment to your cinema's long-term success.

Integrating Venue Management Software for Theater Operations

Integrated systems can synchronize data between your:

  • Ticketing platform
  • Point-of-sale system
  • Website and mobile apps
  • Email marketing
  • Accounting software
  • CRM system

This consolidation helps boost productivity and streamline operations.

Choosing Between AudienceView Professional, Unlimited, or Campus

AudienceView Professional offers robust core ticketing functionality suitable for most movie theaters' needs.

AudienceView Unlimited adds features like advanced dynamic pricing tools, while AudienceView Campus provides specific capabilities for college and university film departments.

Compare service tiers based on your requirements and budget. Their sales team can also suggest the best fit.

Evaluating systems thoroughly will ensure you select a future-proof solution that takes your cinema's operations to the next level.

Top Theater Ticketing Systems

Leading options like AudienceView, TheaterMania, and Ticket Tailor offer robust capabilities to meet the needs of different theater types and sizes. These systems provide key features like customizable branding, real-time inventory tracking, dynamic pricing, automated email/SMS, and data analytics to optimize operations.

AudienceView: A Comprehensive Solution for Ticket Sales

Used by major cinema chains and performing arts venues globally, AudienceView offers customizable packages for different operational requirements:

  • AudienceView Professional - Scalable SaaS tailored for large cinema circuits and arts centers needing advanced functionality. Integrates with POS and CRM systems. Provides detailed sales analytics.
  • AudienceView Unlimited - Flexible cloud-based option for mid-size regional chains. Includes mobile apps, kiosk integration, dynamic pricing.
  • AudienceView Campus - Streamlined system designed for college/university performing arts centers. Simplifies student discounts, package deals, registration.

With real-time data visibility, automated reports, and robust configuration options, AudienceView enables granular control over pricing, packages, promotions to maximize ticket revenue.

TheaterMania and WhatsOnStage: Specializing in Theater Websites

Cloud-based SaaS focused on ease of use, with clients ranging from small indie theaters to regional chains and festivals:

  • Fully responsive websites and mobile apps to enable online ticket purchases.
  • Integrated CRM, email marketing, social media integration.
  • Custom packages for different budget levels. Options include DIY site builder to managed service.
  • Specialize in promoting local theater scene by aggregating event listings, reviews, interviews in a centralized platform.

While light on advanced analytics and complex pricing rules, TheaterMania offers an affordable way for smaller theaters to establish an online presence and sell tickets directly.

Ticket Tailor: Simplifying Ticket Source for Smaller Venues

Intuitive, affordable option for small-to-midsize cinemas needing basic but modern ticketing functionality:

  • Easy-to-use dashboard to configure events, track sales, issue refunds.
  • Customizable online storefronts, basic access control, discounts.
  • Integrates with PayPal, Stripe for payments. Email/PDF tickets.
  • Lacks some larger-venue features like dynamic pricing, reporting, marketing tools.

With its simple interface and lower pricing tiers, Ticket Tailor appeals to smaller independent theaters wanting a basic, self-service ticketing system.

Exploring Alternatives: Eventbrite, Xola, and Showpass

Review other popular ticketing platforms like Eventbrite, Xola, and Showpass that cater to a range of event types and sizes:

  • Eventbrite - Originally focused on small music venues, festivals, Meetups. Now used by larger venues. Freemium model.
  • Xola - Cloud-based system for tours, classes, small event venues. API integration, custom packages.
  • Showpass - Specialized in comedy clubs, improv theaters, small music halls. Flat monthly fee.

These systems compete on affordability and ease-of-use. Lack full capabilities of dedicated cinema/theater platforms but offer simpler operation for small venues.

Evaluating options based on specific operational needs, budget, and target audience is key in selecting the right theater ticketing system. Prioritizing must-have features versus nice-to-have capabilities will help streamline options.

Key Considerations When Selecting a System

The best ticketing platform balances robust core features with ease of use and affordable pricing scaled to a theater's specific needs. Here are some key considerations when selecting a theater ticketing system:

Balancing Internal Resources with External Box Office Software Support

Assess the effort required for setup and ongoing management based on your staff's skills and availability versus dependence on vendor assistance. Key questions include:

  • Does your team have the skills to handle software implementation and management internally? Or will you need to rely on the vendor for support?
  • How much of your staff's time can be dedicated to learning and running the system?

Prioritizing ease of use can minimize dependence on vendor support. Cloud-based systems are also easier to implement than legacy on-premises solutions.

Choosing Between Complex Functionality and Simple Workflows

Prioritize must-have capabilities today and in the near future rather than unnecessary advanced features. Consider:

  • Which features are essential: online sales, mobile integration, access control etc.? Build requirements around these.
  • Will you actually use the complex analytics the system offers? Or do you just need simple sales and attendance reporting?
  • Start with core features, add other functionality over time as needed.

Often the system with simpler workflows matches needs better than overloaded solutions.

Calculating Ongoing Operational Costs and Theater Discounts

Compare both initial purchase/deployment costs alongside longer-term fees for maintenance, upgrades and support.

  • Account for ongoing expenses in your budget - vendor fees, staff training costs, upgrade projects etc.
  • Consider offering theater ticket discounts to provide value to your loyal customers rather than discounting for the sake of promotion. Offering loyalty programs and subscription packages can be an effective alternative.

Considering Registration Software for Special Events

Evaluate if it's beneficial to incorporate specialized registration software for managing ticketing and RSVPs for special events and performances at your theater.

  • Does your main ticketing system provide tools to manage these events? Or is separate software needed?
  • Will you host third-party events that require custom registration workflows? Unique software may be required.

Carefully determine if standalone registration software capabilities warrant the added cost and complexity.

Conclusion

Investing in a modern, cloud-based theater ticketing system can provide significant benefits for cinema owners and operators looking to enhance their operations. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Core functionality like robust reporting, access control, and CRM integration is essential for efficiently managing ticket sales, customers, and theater staff. Prioritize must-have features over nice-to-haves.
  • Ease of use for both staff and customers greatly impacts adoption and usage. Intuitive interfaces and self-service options are key.
  • Implementation should be quick and painless. Look for systems with extensive integration capabilities, customer support, and tools to migrate data.
  • Focus on overall value specific to your cinema's size, budget, and objectives. Subscription models that scale with growth are often the best fit for independent theaters with fluctuating demand.

The right ticketing platform unlocks data-driven decisions, exceptional moviegoer experiences, and operational efficiency. Assess your needs, shortlist matching solutions, and request demos to find the best fit. Investing in the fundamentals pays dividends over time.

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