At St Andrew’s College there are a lot of ticketed events showcasing student talent and performances, from the annual Preparatory Ballet Show through to the Senior Production. On top of these, there are fundraisers, guest speakers and the upcoming Centenary celebrations in 2017, all of which require ticket design, printing and selling.
Historically, these tickets were designed in-house by our Communications team, bulk printed and then sold via the reception desk in the Secondary School. Whilst this worked, it tended to be inflexible if people wanted to change the night they were attending and it was also time consuming for reception staff showing students and parents what seats were still available and then processing the purchase of tickets.
In 2014 the College re-examined online ticket sales as an option and partnered with PatronBase, a Christchurch based company with customers throughout Australasia, the United Kingdom and Spain. We had some clear goals in mind to improve our sales of tickets to events, including:
- The ability for students, parents and wider community members to see what events were happening at St Andrew’s, choose their preferred seats (where allocated seating was being used) and to purchase tickets online.
- The ability to pay for tickets online using Visa or MasterCard.
- Customers to be able to print their tickets at home and for reception staff to be able to print tickets on a “as needed” basis.
- Event organisers to be able to see very accurately how many tickets were sold/remaining.
- Accurate reporting at the conclusion of an event for reconciliation of payments and disbursement of funds.
The team at PatronBase worked hard to help create a custom skin that accurately matched our College branding and also supported the technical requirements for connecting with BNZ’s BuyLine product for processing online credit card payments.
A decision was made to trial the PatronBase system with the 2014 senior production of Guys and Dolls with tickets being available for sale online for the first time ever, as well as via the “Box Office” in the College reception. The ability to sell tickets both online and via the reception was a real advantage over the previous ticket system used and reception staff were confident that tickets were never going to be accidentally sold twice.
Furthermore, because tickets could be re-printed as needed, it did not matter if a customer changed their mind about the night they wished to attend a performance, because the tickets could easily be transferred with new tickets being printed and the original seats being released for other customers to purchase.
As can be seen from the above images, the seating layout from the College Theatre could be recreated in PatronBase allowing allocated seating to be selected by students and parents. However, after the initial success of online sales for Guys and Dolls other events in different venues were also sold via the new ticketing system, including:
Parent response to the new system has been incredibly positive, such as this unsolicited feedback we received:
The new ticketing system is really great. It is great to be able to purchase with a credit card and to have a choice of whether to print or collect tickets.
When booking shows in the theatrette it was fantastic to be able to choose your own seats and it was very easy to use. It really was great to be able to see exactly where you would be sitting.
Keeping the self print tickets simple is good. I have had to print out tickets from other places before and they have wasted so much ink printing fancy pictures.
Your ticketing system in excellent.
The ease and convenience of purchasing tickets online is evident from the table, and this encouraged the College to explore other possibilities with PatronBase such as sales of the fundraising recipe book “Recipes From The Tartan Kitchen“. This book, sold to raise funds for the new College Chapel, was launched in late 2014 with the accompanying promotional video:
Since then, 150 copies of the book have been sold through the PatronBase system, often by Old Collegians overseas who wish to have the book couriered directly to them.
A more recent form of fundraising online came after the devastating Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu. A full blog was written about this that you can read here, and at the time of writing donations during the sale of tickets to UrineTown and Style at StAC are approaching $1000 for Onesua Presbyterian College in the north-east Efate, Vanuatu.
Finally, the Old Collegians Association of St Andrew’s College, having seen the value of online ticket sales, will soon be using PatronBase as well for all their ticketed events and reunions. A custom theme is being developed to match the branding of the Old Collegians and the tickets will be available for all events.
With an eye to the future, having run over 15 ticketed events through PatronBase over the last 12 months, the system will definitely be used for managing ticket sales for the 2017 St Andrew’s College Centenary. It is pleasing to be able to deliver an improved service to students and parents that makes the purchase and attendance of ticketed events at the College so much simpler and easier.
This blog has been written by Sam McNeill and can be found on the St Andrews website. To view the original blog click here.