Stuff You Can Use: Ticketing Software

David Dombrosky, Executive Director at the Center for Arts Management and Technology posted a link to the results of a Ticketing Software Satisfaction Survey they conducted last year.

They broke down the results by small, medium, large and very large organizations as defined by budget. They looked at what software, services and features people were using at each level to serve their audiences. I will reiterate the report–the respondents were self-selected so the results should not be construed as representing the market share of each ticketing option.

I didn’t scrutinize the report much and what I was looking for was assuredly defined by my own criteria for a ticketing system. The thing I was interested to find as a low priority feature was barcode scanning. It makes sense that small organizations wouldn’t need it but even the very large organizations didn’t see it as a top feature. I wonder how many of those who have the ability to process bar codes actually use it.

I guess I am somewhat sensitive to the issue because our events are listed on a site that sells athletic tickets with the option of printing a pass a home. Occasionally someone asks us about that option. For us the cost is far too prohibitive and too few people order in advance to actually use the print at home option. Had we more seating capacity, it might make sense to scan the bar codes on the tickets to expedite the processing of all the at gate ticket buyers.

Even if you aren’t interested in reading about all this, the end of the report can be helpful if you are looking for new ticketing services. There are three pages of questions to ask and things to look for when evaluating ticket systems for your organization.

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.


8 thoughts on “Stuff You Can Use: Ticketing Software”

  1. Hi, Joe:

    I almost spilled my coffee on this one. I’m a fan of your blog and subscriber. I’m also the Director of Marketing and co-founder of Ticket Turtle, one of the ticking software products that was a part of the survey. Looks like 11 of our clients were surveyed.

    I know *of* the Center for Arts Management and Technology, but haven’t been keeping it on radar in any significant way which makes me feel like a dingbat right about now.

    What my oversight raises for me is that as a software as service provider who is a 10 on the earnest scale when it comes to figuring out what performing arts need in ticketing software – I missed this 47 state survey underway by a heavy in the field of arts management technology. Yesh.

    I haven’t gone to the CAMT today to catch up on them, but I will. My comment is two-fold – first, thanks for posting this! second, on our site we have what we call a “shopper’s resource guide” which reads much like the CAMT guide to finding the software.

    I won’t get on my soapbox and try to sell you our software. But I will say we started our business to make it affordable for small and mid-sized performing arts organizations to get what they need – which isn’t arena focused ticketing. Ain’t no reason to pay a fortune for good software these days! Viva la Revolution!

    Thanks again,

    Heather (off to read survey!)

    • Heather-

      Thanks for reading the blog. User friendly ticketing systems are indeed an important point of interaction with new and returning customers. Right now my we are on the Paciolan system administered by the athletics department. Been a roller coaster ride the last 2 years with them being acquired by Ticketmaster and then spun off by court order when Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation.

      All I will say on the matter is that with the Paciolan contract expiring in a couple years, there was some serious consideration being given to options out of concern about how the Ticketmaster handling fees would be viewed by our audiences since they are much more than those we charge. Of course, who knows what changes Comcast-Spectacor is going to implement.

  2. Always seems an unfortunate situation when the performing arts dept. gets lumped in with athletics in the edu world. A tough row to hoe with the level of bureaucracy involved in breaking away and finding a provider that can work within the requirements.

    In solidarity,


    • Actually, I spent two years petitioning to get on the system. Three other performing arts organizations in the university system are on it. Even the athletics people were worried about backlash when the service fees jumped from a couple dollars to closer to $10. The central system provides phone coverage at times I can’t and access to walk up ticket purchasing in some convenient locations. In that respect the arrangement is beneficial.

      On the downside, their priority is selling tickets to athletic events so those who call or queue up compete with the sports crowd. Though so many people are either buying online or purchasing at the door, I have had few complaints about the other phone lines and none about purchasing tickets at outlets. Most gripes come from people who arrive 10 minutes before a curtain–with 100 other people–and have to wait to purchase or pick up will call.


Leave a Comment