The box office is the most underappreciated piece of the theatre. Often taken for granted, a box office sets the tone for audiences as they enter the space for the first time. Think about the kind of experience you want your guests to have. Let’s try something: Let’s see the box office through your eyes.
Think about the last time you went to the theatre and had a positive experience. What made it so wonderful? When you checked in – were your tickets under the right name? Did you have all of the seats you thought you’d purchased? Were you in the section you wanted to be in? Now, think about the days leading up to your theatre trip. Did you know what to expect when you arrived? Were you sent a reminder email with details about parking and location? Were the instructions accurate?
This is just a fraction of what the box office team has to manage – and that is why it is so important that time and energy is invested into implementing successful box office systems, from staffing to ticket sales and everything in between. Well-trained associates, reliable software systems, and seat accuracy all contribute to the patron experience.
Every event your company hosts, whether it be a musical, a staged reading, or an open-mic cabaret, has a lasting impact on the surrounding community. That impact creates a reputation. Don’t let the administrative organization get in the way of your audience experiencing the art you’ve worked so hard to create.
Tips For a Successful Box Office
Creating a successful, thriving box office is easier than you might imagine! These helpful tips can help you get started:
- First, train your staff. Make sure your language is consistent and that every associate is fully educated on your sales and policies. The last thing you want is mixed messaging.
- Keep your software up to date and functioning smoothly. You can’t run a successful will-call if your computer crashes every 10 minutes. Check out a few pointers from TicketPeak to save you time and money on your box office software.
- Be mindful about your pricing – stay away from ticket traps that end up causing your guests loads of processing fees. It’s important to get a feel for how to use ticket service fees appropriately.
- Organization is critical. We like to maintain a clean, effective system for everything, but every box office functions a little differently. With creativity and an open-minded approach, you can design the perfect box office for your team. If you’re feeling stuck, here are a few ideas: keep records of previous guests so they feel special to your organization; update your will-call often to maintain accuracy; always make sure the office is fully stocked with tickets and programs. The livelihood of your artistic business rests in the confines of your box office – treat it well.
A box office can seem boring and easy, but it deserves as much attention and detail as your technical design. A successful box office helps your guests have a wonderful, relaxing time from the moment they purchase their tickets, through their commute to the theatre, until they’re finally in their seats. Stay organized, stay optimistic, and stay committed to consistency. Keep your box office running smoothly so you can focus on the art at hand.
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