This guide on Selecting Ticketing Systems was updated in March 2018 from an earlier ADUK resource sheet first shared on CultureHive in 2012. Authored by Roger Tomlinson .
When choosing a new ticketing and marketing system, the basis for the choice and the options have changed completely in recent years. The analogy used to be with buying a car, in which all the basic requirements are met, with then a few variations in specifications and equipment, and some limited opportunities for customer chosen options. It is no longer that simple.
For a start, the software is often more comprehensive across a wide range of functions needed in arts and entertainment organisations. So a system can handle ticketing, marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), loyalty, ‘frequent-flyer’ and membership schemes, fund-raising and donation management, event planning, room and equipment scheduling, merchandise and retail sales tools, and interface with accounting, planning and hospitality tools. Don’t be fooled that this is expensive, some of the lowest cost systems do all these.
These functions might all be web enabled with tools for bundling and packaging, subscriptions, loyalty points and so on. There are still separate specialist software tools for some of these, but market leading suppliers want to meet most of the needs to ‘join-up-the-tools’ for users around a ‘database-of-truth’, encompassing all the customer ‘touch-points’ in one system. The systems are likely to have interfaces to accounting and other software solutions, and possibly an Application Programming Interface (API) to enable tools to be written to link to other databases and/or software solutions.
So, similar to cars, there are significant differences of detail between systems and what they do. But now how they do it and how they charge for it mean there are different models to choose from, and these can have significant implications for costs, control and flexibility.
Image courtesy of Company Chameleon © Joel Chester Fildes — Chameleon Youth, Illuminate, 2017