Founded by Pulitzer and Tony Award winning Playwrights Horizons, Ticket Central provides low-cost, customer-friendly ticketing and marketing alternatives for some of the most exciting Theater, Dance, Opera and Performance Arts groups in New York City. Ticket Central staff have to manage a constant flow of unique requests from a wide variety of clients for pricing adjustments, marketing reports, and more. With so many business operations on their plate, it is essential that the team operate as efficiently as possible.
Craig Melzer, Manager of Client Support at Ticket Central, recognized an opportunity to increase efficiency around the company’s complimentary ticket redemption policies. With each new performance sold through AudienceView, Ticket Central’s clients typically required a predetermined set of comp tickets that would be distributed to the press, artists, and industry professionals. Historically, this was a very manual process, often leading to hours of time spent coordinating and processing comps for a specific production. Producers would be in constant dialogue with Ticket Central, while comp recipients would need to contact the box office directly to redeem their tickets. “Every minute our team spent answering calls about free tickets was one less minute they could dedicate to other important box office tasks,” Melzer explained. Additionally, it was difficult to track patron information for the ticket redeemers. Comps were processed under generic accounts with little to no information on who was actually attending the performance. Melzer and his team turned to AudienceView to help create a more streamlined approach.
As Ticket Central considered ways to make the comp redemption process easier, they knew the key to success would be having patrons to redeem their tickets online. This would reduce staff time spent on processing orders, while also enabling the system to capture the information of every patron who redeemed comps. However, this lead to concerns about controlling inventory. They needed to make sure that patrons could only redeem a fixed quantity of tickets and that free admissions couldn’t be shared with the general public.
Ticket Central leveraged AudienceView’s One Time Access Code functionality to drive this initiative. As each producer requests a set of comps, Ticket Central generates a list of random codes that are then linked to a specific quantity of free tickets. Each code can only be redeemed once, preventing the spread of promo codes between non-eligible redeemers. Additionally, these codes are often tied to specific seating sections, allowing Ticket Central and the producers to manage inventory and quickly address gaps in the house.
The use of One Time Access Codes has been incredibly effective. In 2017, nearly 2,000 tickets were redeemed using this functionality, over three times more than were redeemed in 2016. 69% of One Time Access Code orders in 2017 were created online, saving valuable time for the entire box office team. Melzer estimates that for their busiest events, these codes can save his team four or five hours each week.
Not only have these codes substantially helped streamline Ticket Central’s box office operations, but the end users have benefited as well. Their clients and patrons have responded positively to the new online flow. Rather than having to call the box office during business hours, people can redeem their comps at any time of day. Producers have also embraced the functionality; some of them have created business cards with the unique codes so they can easily distribute without having to explain redemption policy details to each guest.
Leveraging AudienceView’s Business Intelligence functionality, Ticket Central can also easily report on the quantity of redeemed comps, who is attending, and more. These reports are often scheduled to send to the producers automatically, further streamlining Ticket Central’s operations. After a performance, Ticket Central can even use this reporting capability to create targeted marketing campaigns geared towards comped attendees, as the purchaser information is easily accessible in the system.
As Ticket Central plans for the future, they hope they can leverage this functionality with more of their clients. Melzer agrees, “Using AudienceView to process comps with One Time Access Codes has been extremely successful. Our clients enjoy the simplicity of the redemption process while our box office staff can spend more time on tasks that help our organization grow.”