Secure those Tickets

Well I have been really busy the last couple days and have met with some limited success in my objectives. One of my projects for the last few months has been to get secure online for patrons that didn’t require paying a large service fee for the luxury like Ticketmaster charges. Despite being a part of a university, the many IT offices I contacted all said they couldn’t support my modest needs.

I have been exploring many options from outside vendors. Many of them were dead ends and those that weren’t, were rather expensive solutions. Finally I found a local provider that had a store front as part of their offerings and the monthly fee was really quite reasonable.

Of course, it was too good to be true. The storefront they had was not really customizable at all. I would have had to list all my shows with no way to differentiate between them or link directly to specific listings. And what was worse, I couldn’t have 2 prices for the same product, in this case a show.

So, I upgraded to the next package which was essentially double the price, but did allow a bit more control. The solution was equally disappointing though. I still couldn’t have two prices for the same product, even if I had separate sizes or colors (two aspects I could customize with my own terms)

I worked around this by having separate catalogs, each with 2 “products” for each event–in this case, adult and student tickets. This works a little better, but is still unwieldly since people have to add adult tickets and then click the back button to add student tickets.

Another good thing is that I can link directly to the event in my online store from my website so patrons only have to deal with navigating the show they are interested in.

But as I said, the utility is limited. I can’t redirect people back to my webpage or to my thank you page. I can’t change font sizes so the titles of the shows are really tiny and in the left hand corner. If anyone has a suggestion for a provider with good storefront packages or good software I might get my provider to load on my account for me, I would love to hear about it.

The interface was unwieldy and frustrating to use properly so the whole process was extremely time consuming.

However, I definitely think this is something people want. Even without really promoting the fact we offer this service to our audience base, we have already started doing a fair bit of business averaging about 20-30 ticket sales a day the last three business days.

If you are interested in seeing how I set it up, you can go to here

Believe me, it is incredibly rough and basic. If I wasn’t desperate to offer the service, I was really tempted to keep looking. Obviously, I am not satisfied and will continue to seek alternatives, even given the fact I may only need the service for less than a year while I wait for the university to integrate me in their centralized ticketing.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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