How to Choose a Theatre Ticketing System & Box Office CRM Software

Please note: this is a legacy page from my former company, Group of Minds. The info is still useful, though the process has changed a bit. Get in touch if I can answer questions. -Ron

 

Theatre ticketing systems. There are literally hundreds to choose from. Are you ready to switch? How do you choose the theatre ticketing system that is right for your organization?

First things first: can you love the ticketing system you're with?

Switching to a new theatre ticketing system is not the most difficult thing in the world. But it is not a walk in the park either. Data needs to be transferred. Staff need to learn to operate the new system. Theatre patrons need to become familiar with buying a ticket the new way, etc. Before beginning the process of choosing a new ticketing system, get in touch with your vendor. See if they can address your needs. The new functionality you're looking for might be the next thing on the development timeline. If your current vendor can address your theatre company's needs, then there's no reason to move!

Sometimes, though, you feel you've exhausted all the options with your current vendor. If that's the case, then it is time to consider other systems, and how they can benefit your theatre company's operations.

The mistake we see companies make most often in selecting a theatre ticketing system:

OK! You've decided to look for a new ticketing system. One of the biggest mistakes we see organizations make when choosing a theatre ticketing system is to simply go off of a recommendation from another theatre company. Sure, hearing that the vendor has treated the other theatre group well is useful. But it says nothing about the functionalities and features of the ticketing & CRM software. And choosing a system that does the ticketing functions that your theater needs to do is more important than anything else.

 

Define what your theatre ticketing system needs to do.

So the first step is to define what it is you're looking for in a new ticketing system for your theatre.

[caption id="attachment_3391" align="alignright" width="300"] Take at the INTIX conference, where ticketing vendors gather to show off their software.[/caption]

You can figure out many of these things from looking at your current operations. You can also document what you already know you want to be able to do in your venue. A few basic examples:

  • Does the ticketing system need to offer choose your own seating?

  • Do you need the ticketing system to take donations during the checkout process as people are choosing their theatre tickets?

  • Can people share the fact that they purchased a ticket from you on their social media of choice at the end of the purchase process?

  • Do you want to be able to scan tickets in at the door of the theater?

  • Do you want people to be able to print their tickets at home and then bring them to the theater?

 

Your current ticketing & CRM system may provide insight.

You may also find features you'd like by looking at what you don't like about your current ticketing system. Are there functionalities you have wanted to have but that your vendor has been unable to provide? (Or you don't like how they have been implemented)? Are you expanding your theatre and needing new features and functionalities that you didn't need when you signed on with your current vendor?

This process should create quite a list of needs that you can share with prospective vendors via a traditional RFP process. Or, simply contact them and ask them if they can do the things your theatre company needs. Pay close attention to their answers. If a system can't do what you need, there really isn't any point to continuing the conversation with that vendor -- better to move on and check out other vendors.

Narrow your selection of ticketing vendors and request software demonstrations.

As you find that some vendors are well matched to your needs, you can set up software demonstrations to see each ticketing software in action -- vendors are happy to do a remote screen share tour for your team. Gather your team together and let everyone ask questions. Remember, you can ask the vendor for as many ticketing software demonstrations as you like and ask as many questions as you like, until you feel comfortable that the vendor is a good fit. Work out the details on the pricing and an implementation timeline, and when you feel ready, sign the agreement, and begin the process of migrating your data, and learning how to adapt the new ticketing system to your theatre company!

An alternative: guided vendor selection assistance.

As we've outlined, it is entirely possible for a theatre company to carry out a structured approach to choosing a new ticketing & CRM system. Some people enjoy the experience going it alone, and some people feel more comfortable having a guide in the process.

Think about selling a home. Many people can and do sell their homes "for sale by owner," if they feel that they have the skills and experience to carry out the complex process on their own. Others prefer having the help of a real estate agent, and all the benefits that person brings in terms of knowledge of the homes in the area, how to bid or list a home at the best price, assisting in negotiations, and teaching you along the way.

Group of Minds provides this type of service to theatre companies via our vendor selection assistance services. Theatre companies come to Group of Minds for independent guidance in choosing the right system, from all over the United States and Canada. Our process limits risk and helps protect the investment.

The benefits of getting experienced assistance with your theatre ticketing system selection:

 

Group of Minds assists theatre companies in the system selection process by:

  • analyzing and synthesizing the costs/options/values of different ticketing & CRM vendors in a common language you can understand, so you can compare intelligently

  • exploring the impact of pricing changes on patrons, staff, and your budget, so you can forecast accurately

  • identifying hidden costs, so you can avoid being unpleasantly surprised

  • migrating the valuable data you have already gathered, so you can use it to create new insights

  • auditing that vendors deliver on what they promise — that you are both in agreement on expectations, so that your expectations will be met, and exceeded

  • acting as your independent guide, representing your interests

 

The Functionality Builder: our database of ticketing & CRM functionalities

Remember when you wrote down all the things you wanted in your theatre ticketing system? Chances are, we've got them listed in our online database tool, along with hundreds of other features you may be interested in. And if not, we can add them. Watch this short video explaining the Functionality Builder:

 

A few benefits of using the Functionality Builder to help you select your theatre ticketing system include:

  • Save time — compare the capabilities of 29 (and growing) ticketing/CRM vendors in minutes, instead of weeks

  • Save money — a wider range of vendor options allows for more competition and lower costs

  • Match fit-for-purpose — our scoring system will tell you exactly which systems best match your theatre company's specific needs

  • Remove emotion — avoid any chance of being influenced by excellent salespeople by making your initial inquiries based on how well the system actually does what you need it to do

  • Serve as a platform — run your entire procurement process via the Functionality Builder — no more Excel spreadsheets or confusing RFP responses

Let us know your needs. We will discuss your current situation, explore your future theatre ticketing system expectations, and map out the milestones of how to get there.

Curious how your organization matches your current ticketing and CRM system? Get in touch for a tour of our tools and services. We look forward to helping you succeed in choosing the right system.