So for this post I decided I would start to indulge into the world of theatre protocols, or at least ideology of it and what better place to start then that of tickets.
These are what are used to prove people have paid for admission into the performance and they can be sourced from anywhere the company chooses to sell them. Unfortunately there have been issues around reselling. As a general rule when buying tickets from any seller, whether first had or second hand, they should always be bought at face value and the production company will always be happy to provide a list of authorised dealers.
But as Production Company or theatre there are some important rules to follow when selling for your upcoming performance and if they are not already in your ticket terms and conditions then maybe you should consider.
These are just some of the common protocols when it comes to ticket management of the arts industry. First and foremost when selling tickets it is so important that you take some form of contact details, though as a general rule there are no refund, if the show is cancelled or postpones it is only common decency to let those current tickets holder know these updates before an announcement goes to press.
So what should the protocol be for tickets don’t get used after sale?
These need to retained at the box office for resale and become the last tickets to be sold on the night and if they are sold the customer will receive a refund.
Allowing customer to resell their own tickets in the venue on the night should be discouraged, because if you think about it if someone shows a ticket without a stub how do you know if it’s come from box office or from a customer to customer resale? Also it means box office always have an accurate count of how many people are in and exactly how many tickets are left to be sold.
As for uncollected tickets, protocol should usually be to wait until the interval to resell these. But just check they are not duplicate of tickets that have already been collected or resold – human error is easy, and if there is multi location to pick tickets up from and a customer decides to pick their ticket up before performance night and someone may have forgot to mark is the system is printed or collected. Any tickets sold at the interval (usually this notion is very rare as nobody really only want to see half a show) but the name on the ticket that is resold should be recorded and if they ring up wanted a refund that is the only other that is able to be given.
Accuracy of ticket sales attendance should be paramount this why its good practise to only print uncollected tickets on the actual night, even if the customer has requested to pick them at the venue, there is nothing to say they won’t pick them up before the night, especially if there are multi collection points.
Finally knowing exactly how many people are in your venue during the performance is important. The number of venues that don’t count stubs from tickets or have other ways of knowing exactly how many people are in the venue is surprising. If there is an incident that involves the emergency services you will need to be able to account for everyone on site, you may not know everyone individually but the exact numbers are important and not just staff and volunteers, at the time of an evacuation will the services need to re-enter the building or not?
Ticket management can be so hard, but it is so important, because paid staff or volunteers you are responsible for every person in that building during events, you need to know who is there and who is not. But this is not just for profit purposes, if there is an area of the auditorium that is closed off then those seats need to be excluded from the ticket sale numbers.