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TOPIC: outside ticket sales

outside ticket sales 17 Jan 2006 23:26 #29278

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How much do you think customers would object to purchasing tickets outside but under the cover of an overhang? Im thinking of moving my ticketing outside so as to have better crowd control with teenagers. With outside ticketing noone is allowed in the building unless they have a ticket. Currently some teenagers enter the building and then hang out while pretending to make up their mind as to which movie they' would like to see. I think by only letting paying customers enter the lobby we will eliminate many of the problems associated with teen behavior . What is the downside of this-Thanks
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Re: outside ticket sales 18 Jan 2006 09:01 #29279

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Where are you located? Is the weather extreme? I'm sure your patrons won't like it, but perhaps by explaining your reasons for doing so (and not having to raise ticket prices to offset your losses) you can help them to understand. This may mean adding another box office person to speed the line up during inclement weather. But if your teens are anything like the ones in our area, it would be well worth it. We allow NO ONE in the building except paying customers. They can read on the marquee what movies are showing, there is no need for them to come in to look around.
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Re: outside ticket sales 18 Jan 2006 09:21 #29280

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Speaking from a southern viewpoint, I've bought plenty of tickets while standing outside. Even some of the big megaplexes at the malls have outside ticket sales. Unless your weather is so bad that people refuse to stand in line, I can't imagine that anyone would fuss too much. They might not like it at first, since it involves a change, but should adjust with only minor grumbling. Just be sure that your overhang is large enough to accomodate the number of people who will be standing there. Do you normally have long lines, or do you move them through quickly? Nobody will want to watch a movie if they have to get soaked first. If it's sheltered from the wind, that would be even better.

The only other issue I can think of is that you might disappoint some people who choose to meet in the lobby before buying tickets. Or perhaps someone might not like that their children will have to wait outside to be picked up. Is there a safe, suitable environment for meeting outside the theater?

Oh, just had one more thought. Will those teenagers causing problems now hang out in front of the theater, if they can't come in? That might be a problem if their presence would deter other customers from coming in or from standing in line. Something to consider.
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Re: outside ticket sales 18 Jan 2006 12:57 #29281

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Been there with the outside ticket sales and the overhang. No one was allowed in the lobby without a ticket. It worked at our single screen for crowd control except that the bratty kids would then work over the exit doors letting in their friends so you always had to have an eye on the exit doors. Some people don't respond to your ticket window and just walk in requiring you to stop them. We had one bad situation where a young man apparently decided to ignore the ticket window and just come into the lobby and sit down. We just kind of wondered what he was doing but he felt no need to explain himself. Eventually we asked if he would be staying for the movie (which was Titanic-btw). He got all huffy and stomped out - stopping to tell our employee outside that he ought to look for a new job. It appears in hindsight that he just wanted to sit in the airconditioning which would have been fine with us if he had just asked.

We didn't like selling tickets to customers outside in rainy or cold weather. Ohio has plenty of both. If we had owned the building we would have built a glass enclosure for the ticketing area.
I think that we now have the better situation at our 4 screen. We have a separate ticket lobby which is inside but is not part of the main lobby. It is still nearly impossible to heat but much better for the customers. They pass through another set of glass doors into the main lobby where their tickets are checked. We still have problems with non ticketed people who insist on coming in to use the bathrooms as though they were for free public use. Groups can either meet in the ticket lobby or buy tickets and meet each other in the main lobby. Kids waiting for rides and parents waiting for kids can still wait in the main lobby but we have to keep an eye on them. We also let in concession only sales. Advance tickets sales creates a whole new set of situations because people don't feel that they should wait in line to show their tickets so they just zoom by the ticket window. If you do a lot of advance ticket sales the outside ticket window won't work well for you either.
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Re: outside ticket sales 18 Jan 2006 13:18 #29282

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Our single screen theater was built in the 1940s so ofcourse the ticketing was setup so the tickets would be sold outside. There is a small window in the lobby where people could buy the tickets, but considering how small our lobby is, all ticket sales are done outside. For the most part, we haven't had any problems. I can see where weather could play a factor, but I think people will stick through it if they want to see the movie.
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Re: outside ticket sales 18 Jan 2006 16:27 #29283

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If people will walk past the outside ticket booth and come right in, then would the solution be to tear tickets just inside the door? Of course, you might have to check stubs again before seating. This would increase the manpower required, but it would maintain better control.

Anyone authorized to enter the lobby without a ticket, such as concession sale only or a parent picking up a child, would simply have to get permission from the usher at the door. And of course, anyone holding advance tickets would have no problems getting inside since they wouldn't have to worry about standing in line.

I think I would be pretty annoyed if you asked me to wait in line at the box office to show that I'd already purchased advanced tickets. Now if I had to pick up tickets purchased by phone, I might understand, but a "Will Call Window" is a great convenience. Even if the "will call window" is something as simple as picking up the tickets from the usher at the door, it might be something worth trying.

Just be sure to ask "will call" customers to show up a little early to pick up their tickets, something they probably wouldn't mind doing since they are the kind of people who do things in advance anyway. That way they wouldn't cause a delay at the entryway. If you make them wait in line again instead, they will be annoyed and cause the lines to be a little longer anyway just by their presence.

I can just imagine how special a customer will feel if they buy their tickets by phone and then show up, by-pass the ticket line, and meet the usher at the door who says, "Yes, Mr. & Mrs. Jones, you are right here on my list, and here are your tickets. Enjoy the show." This would be a great personal touch for those customers who make the special effort to make sure they have good seats by making the advance purchase and showing up early to pick them up. That would beat the AMC will call window anyday.
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Re: outside ticket sales 31 Jan 2006 13:27 #29284

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You can do will call with internet ticketing and a pretty simple terminal. I have not done it but I know our system will do it and others are doing it.

We are in the midwest and get all 4 seasons. 100+ to -10. Most theatres around here seam to have outside ticket sales.
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Re: outside ticket sales 20 Mar 2006 19:21 #29285

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We visited the JAX JR Cinema in Littleton NH in January, cold, snowing, windy night where I experienced my first ever buying a ticket outside. We went to the front door to enter only to find it locked. They unlock it 30 minutes prior to the movie and no one is allowed in the lobby without a ticket. They have an overhang on the sidewalk and folks gather outside and purchase their tickets. They have shown movies here since 1924 utilizing the same ticket on the outside system.

They have NO games or game area - With the exception of our game area in the lobby I too have shared the same thoughts.
For us this would minimize the excess folks in the lobby who want to use the phone, go to the bathroom, or hanging around pretending to make up their mind.
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Re: outside ticket sales 20 Mar 2006 21:23 #29286

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Wisconsin here....... If we expect a blockbuster film to play, we open our "outside" boxoffice window in addition to selling tix at our two concession terminals. The outside boxoffice would only be open on Fri-Sun, as all tickets are sold inside during the week. Ya, a couple people will complain about having to buy their tickets outside, but they are also the same that complain about the price of concessions, the President, and the cost of groceries and gas! Since installing RTS software in our theatre, life has been a lot easier, and fewer complaints (except for the above!). Our original outside boxoffice was removed in the 80's to make way for a series of tinted glass exit doors and showtime schedule. Our current outside boxoffice is located in the concession area with the window facing the street. The boxoffice person has double duties, selling tix and keeping the popper running.
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Re: outside ticket sales 21 Mar 2006 22:15 #29287

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Most of our theatres have outside ticket sales. One that seems to have a pretty good handle on it has entrance doors on either side of the boxoffice. When entering, the patron is directed by ropes to a center point. An 'usher' takes the ticket and the patron then enters the lobby proper.

In all, the patron gets about 4 or 5 steps into the building before handing over the ticket.
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Re: outside ticket sales 06 Apr 2006 14:17 #29288

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We live in Nebraska and have the extemes of hot, cold, heavy showers and all the negatives to selling tickets outside. We still do not have a problem with it. We only have two windows from which to sell but we watch very closely that no lines form outside. It is impossible not to have lines at times but the customers are for the most part regulars and know that we will get them into the ( warm or dry or cool ) lobby as fast as we can. Once inside they do not present their tickets until it is time to go down the hallway to the theatres. These are located a long way from the entrance. We have had few problems. We are a sub-run so most of our patrons are families or older. The kids go to the fancy new mega-plexes nearby to see and be seen by others more than to see the movies.
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Re: outside ticket sales 06 Apr 2006 20:09 #29289

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The theater I am looking to biuy has serious problems with indoor ticketing. Everyone is bunched up buying tickets in the middel of the lobby a few feet away from the concession.
Makes no sense.On the far left of the theatre is a box office that was closed that woudl of done well.
I plan on moving the window to the outside wall on that room that will be an outside ticket window and clear up the lobby for ticket holders only buying concessions.
Rope of the area and only let ticket holders enter the concession area.
There are many problems with the teens and this will clear it up!
So I am for outside ticketing and took alil survey and the older customers and families liked the idea.
This is a four season state with an overhang Marque!~
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Re: outside ticket sales 03 Apr 2007 13:07 #29290

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The theater I am looking to buy has serious problems with indoor ticketing. Everyone is bunched up buying tickets in the middle of the lobby a few feet away from the concession.
Makes no sense. On the far left of the theater is a box office that was closed that would have done well.
I plan on moving the window to the outside wall on that room that will be an outside ticket window and clear up the lobby for ticket holders only buying concessions.
Rope of the area and only let ticket holders enter the concession area.
There are many problems with the teens and this will clear it up!
So I am for outside ticketing and took a little survey and the older customers and families liked the idea.
This is a four season state with an overhang Marque!
My thing is shoudl I actually punch the whole through the wall and have outside ticketing or have it to the side in the lobby.
Now it is at the concession stand and is a mess!
And would I be better contacting a local theatre box office company to put it in or go with alocal construction company!
I am in Pa.
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Re: outside ticket sales 04 Apr 2007 08:37 #29291

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I think a local contractor can do this. It is more of a construction thing not a theatre design thing. You already know you need it to help your business. Make sure you have all the parts thought out and pieces purchased so that the contractor knows what is going where like a mike pass through in the window etc.
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Re: outside ticket sales 04 Apr 2007 23:15 #29292

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I don't get it. What's wrong with having people hang out in the lobby before purchasing tickets? Why not let them buy food and play video games, even if they never see a movie?

And I don't get it again. Isn't the point of purchasing tickets in advance to avoid the line? Why would you make someone who has a ticket already stand in line? I would be ticked if I had to stand in line when I already had a ticket- and most of the time I have to pay $1.00 extra for a pre-advance ticket, which is even more reason to skip the line.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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