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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Online Ticketing for a Small Independent Theatre (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Online Ticketing for a Small Independent Theatre
Patrick Matthews
Film Handler

Posts: 86
From: Kansas City, MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted 10-03-2005 11:38 AM      Profile for Patrick Matthews   Email Patrick Matthews   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We are currently looking into starting online ticketing for our theatre. We are only a single screen house and was wondering what kind of systems other small theatres use. Any help/advice is appreciated.

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Amanda Jones
Film Handler

Posts: 92
From: Indianapolis, IN, USA
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted 10-03-2005 11:47 AM      Profile for Amanda Jones   Email Amanda Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Question for you? How big is your auditorium? Do you experience sellout crowds? Since most if not all online ticketing sites charge a service charge in addition to the ticket price, it is not worth it if you are not selling out or if you have a big enough auditorium to accomendate large number of people.

Most people only use online ticketing when they believe the movie is going to be a sellout.

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1102
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 10-03-2005 11:59 AM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Movietickets.com works with small exhibitors all the time. That's who we use.

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Patrick Matthews
Film Handler

Posts: 86
From: Kansas City, MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted 10-03-2005 02:14 PM      Profile for Patrick Matthews   Email Patrick Matthews   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike,

Does Movietickets.com charge a fee? How do I get in contact with them? Will I still be able to use them if my ticketing system here at the theatre isn't done on computers?

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Brian Hogan
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Registered: Jul 2001


 - posted 10-03-2005 03:41 PM      Profile for Brian Hogan   Email Brian Hogan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
im confused. how is it that you want to allocate seats online, yet you do not have computerized ticketing at the theatre? movietickets.com only works by basically connecting the theatre's local computerized ticketing system with movietickets.com's computerized servers. thus allowing the public to purchase tickets, in real time, from the theatre itself via movietickets.com. might wanna upgrade your ticketing system first before getting into online tickets.

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Patrick Matthews
Film Handler

Posts: 86
From: Kansas City, MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted 10-03-2005 03:49 PM      Profile for Patrick Matthews   Email Patrick Matthews   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well that is what I thought, and I think the idea of getting online ticketing for our theatre (based on our ticket sales) is a stupid idea, but my owner wanted me to check into. Now I can firmly tell him that it is impossible without getting a computer based B.O. system first.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12106
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 10-03-2005 05:17 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Even then, I wouldn't think it's necessary for a single screen. (I run a single screen, and have yet to have even one request for online ticketing.)

I think the more important techno-upgrade is to accept credit cards and/or checks. The days of people carrying enough cash to go to dinner and a movie are history.

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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 10-03-2005 10:34 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
QUOTE: [The days of people carrying enough cash to go to dinner and a movie are history.]

I haven't found that to be a problem at my theatre. My problem is that every patron has a wallet full of twenty dollar bills, and nothing smaller. They always use a twenty to buy one or two $3.00 tickets, and I have to keep a ridiculous amount of change on hand to meet the demand. They don't even use the change we give them at the box office when at the concession counter, but rather use another twenty dollar bill. Most nights my deposit is made up of 98% twenty dollar bills. What is worse is the rise in the number of 50s and 100s that we are now seeing.

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Jeremy Jorgenson
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1002
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: Feb 2005


 - posted 10-03-2005 10:40 PM      Profile for Jeremy Jorgenson   Author's Homepage   Email Jeremy Jorgenson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why is that worse? You'll be giving back the same small change as if they paid with a 20, plus a few 20s.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12106
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 10-04-2005 02:09 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Richard - I was being a bit sarcastic there. I'd bet the people with the stacks of 20s have just been to an ATM. It slays me the number of theatres that won't accept credit cards OR checks. We don't take plastic - yet - but we do take checks, always have. Hardly ever any problems with checks, but that might be due to my small town location.

I agree with you about the 20s and 50s. Used to be, a 50 was sort of a rare sight -- now we get them all the time, even 100s are becoming more common. I think they should bring back the $500 bill.

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Matt Fields
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 536
From: Jackson, Ohio, United States
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 10-04-2005 08:52 AM      Profile for Matt Fields   Email Matt Fields   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I live in an economically challenged area. Sometimes the welfare types will come up to the box office with a stack of twenties and fifties. You can just about guess that's all the money they have.

We call it being "hillbilly" rich.

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Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1037
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 10-04-2005 03:09 PM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We don't have on-line ticketing, but DO accept Visa/MC and Debit cards for ticket & concessions purchases. Ticket purchases with plastic is a mere convenience, but concessions purchases with plastic is usually pure impulse. They DO buy more stuff when using plastic. Cash green money hurts when you pull it out of your wallet, while plastic purchases are seen as painless.

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Jack Ondracek
Film God

Posts: 2246
From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
Registered: Oct 2002


 - posted 10-04-2005 03:53 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We found online ticketing to be an interesting footnote to our operation (a 4-screen indoor). However, while it might have made me feel like we were putting on an appearance of keeping up with the big boys... it really didn't add anything to our bottom line. It was pretty much just an image thing.

The online systems work very well. The one we used actually completed the transaction through our system, in real time, as if the customer had purchased the ticket right at the boxoffice. The money transaction is completed when the customer reserves the ticket, not when(if) they redeem it at the boxoffice. Ours also allowed a customer to purchase the ticket by phone, when we were around to answer it.

To make this work well however, you need a separate place for the customer to collect the ticket, and a pathway to the auditoriums that doesn't involve your cash boxoffice line. If they have to wait in line like everyone else, then there's no advantage to online ticketing other than if you sell out a lot and they want to be sure they get a seat.

Seems I recall talk here about people buying online tickets, showing up at the last minute, then being upset that there WERE seats for them, but the selection wasn't to their liking.

With only one screen, this could be more trouble than it's worth... unless you actually sell reserved seats online... and that questions whether the cost of the POS system is worth what you'd ever make for offering the service.

As for plastic sales in general, Barry is right on. Our plastic sales doubled this year, and accounts for over a third of our business now. That would not have been possible here without online processing, which usualy makes the transaction as fast as cash.

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1102
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 10-04-2005 09:41 PM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With movietickets.com ... you set the service charge ($.50 minimum) ... and split it 50-50 w/ Movietickets.com. Their contact info should be somewhere on their website.

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John Pommon
Film Handler

Posts: 25
From: San Francisco, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 10-05-2005 09:10 AM      Profile for John Pommon   Author's Homepage   Email John Pommon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
<<<<<<They always use a twenty to buy one or two $3.00 tickets>>>>>>

Holy Smokey . . what a bargain! In San Francisco, tickets are
$9.75 for general. Fandango charges $1.25 service fee.

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