Here are some highlights of the 2015 Ticketing Satisfaction Survey conducted by AMT Lab (Arts Management & Technology Laboratory) at Carnegie Mellon University:
“When analyzing how respondents use and value each feature it was important to consider what ticketing systems they use. Tessitura remained the most common ticketing system for organizations earning more than $5 million. For those earning less, Arts Management Systems and Center Stage Software were the most common systems reported.”
Mobile ticket purchases are still low – 7.2% of annual ticket sales.
Sale or no sale, audiences are learning about,and interacting with, arts organizations and their offerings via mobile at a tremendous rate (64% of all US adults own a smartphone).
the majority of respondents still attributed immense importance to mobile ticketing
CONCLUSION: While mobile ticketing is not a major source of sales now, organizations are moving in that direction and value it as important.
In a notable change from our 2011 and 2009 surveys, website transactions outranked in-person and phone call transactions as the most used and valued method of ticketing.
Barcoding and ticket forgery remain among the least frequently used and valued features since the National Ticketing Survey began in 2009, especially in low budget organizations.
What respondents would most like to change about their current ticketing system:
Ease of Use
“Ease of use/user friendliness” was the most frequent improvement requested of a respondent’s ticketing system. Most simply responded with “more user friendly,” with one respondent from the Midwest asking developers to “Just simplify everything. Clean looking and easy to understand.” Issues relating to optimizing reporting features and training new employees were frequently tied back to confusing and “needlessly complex” navigation. Many reported patron user friendliness as critical.
General and customer reporting features ranked highest in top-of-mind importance for a ticketing system, immediately following ease of use. Easier building, printing, editing, saving, and creating customer-specific reports all cropped up as requested reporting improvements. As was making “selected preferences ‘stick’ so they don’t need to be re-specified every single time.” Customized sales reporting functions were more frequently used (92% overall) compared to automated sales reporting functions (80% overall). The use of automated sales reports varies across organization size, steadily increasing 23 percentage points, from low budget (68%) to high budget organizations (91%).
Final Ticketing System Comments
For many arts goers, purchasing a ticket is their first interaction with an arts organization. Before concluding the survey many respondents stressed the importance of making the patron’s ticketing experience as intuitive and customer friendly as possible to set relationship building off on the right foot.
A ticketing system’s ability to provide intuitive learning and use for operators, collect development-related information, and deliver a pleasant transactional experience for patrons are just a few of the criteria arts managers consider when selecting a ticketing system. Cost frequently was a barrier to upgrading features, investing in new systems, and overcoming existing technical issues.
When AMT Lab first ran a ticketing survey in 2009, dissatisfaction levels with software were far higher than they are today. The broad levels of feature usage and satisfaction reported in the 2015 survey are a sign that as the industry has advanced, arts organizations may face entirely different technology challenges.
Ticketing System Considerations
Since the last survey in 2011, the market for ticketing systems has changed significantly. Although there are still a great number of solutions available, most systems will be expected to take on an increasingly broad range of data management tasks. In addition to standard tasks such as seat mapping, subscriptions, and sales reports, many systems also have significant CRM (Customer Relationship Management) functionality as well. Used correctly these systems can present a fuller picture of customer’s relationships with your organization, including ticket sales, donations, and interactions with customer service. Some systems are even beginning to look towards social media.