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TOPIC: Premium seating control

Premium seating control 13 Jul 2007 17:12 #29356

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Does anyone offer a premium seating area at their theater? For those who do, how do you control access to them before and during the film? I can see teenagers sneaking into the premium seats at any time during the movie and sending an attendant arround checking all the time isn't practical.

It would be ideal to have some sort of locking mechanism on each seat that could be unlocked once a particular seat is purchased (thinking assigned seating here). I don't want to get into having a separate entrance to the premium seating area if at all possible.

There is a new seat counting system where each seat is wired with a pressure sensor in the seat and is connected to the POS system so it can be checked from anywhere at anytime, but it's big $$$.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Premium seating control 13 Jul 2007 21:33 #29357

  • rodeojack
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I saw this done many years ago, but I think they had the problem you're talking about. Basically, they figured the kids wouldn't be likely to pay extra for the "loge" section, and that kept the upper area relatively quiet.

I don't know if the RTS system can split between general seating and reserved, but if you could get a POS to do that, perhaps your premium seats could be sold on a reserved basis. Like a sports stadium, it's easy to tell if someone's in your seat.

That's all that comes to mind.
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Re: Premium seating control 14 Jul 2007 03:22 #29358

  • BurneyFalls
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I closed my balconies for the most part about six months ago. Got alot of flack for it, but the darn things are extremely hard to clean--hands and knees type cleaning.

I reopened them both for the blockbusters at a premium price. Getting more flack for that. But I show them tickets from "back in the day" when the loge seating was more.

I have to monitor those areas constantly. Haven't had much sneaking up there after the movie starts, but many want to go up there without the proper paid admission when they first come in.
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Re: Premium seating control 14 Jul 2007 08:52 #29359

  • slapintheface
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The point of going to a theater like yours ,and your niche over megaplexs ,is the balcony...
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Re: Premium seating control 14 Jul 2007 10:48 #29360

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I'm not particularly interested in balcony seating- with a new build, I have the option of creating premium seating in the last three or four rows. It would be available for anyone age 16+... no kids. Check out Page 22 in the July issue of Film Journal for pics of what I'm referring to.

Mary with RTS has told me that different seating prices is a function of the software already, so that's covered. Yes, they would be reserved seating like a stadium.

The only problem that's standing in my way is controlling access to these seats. Checking them just before the movie starts isn't a big deal, it's checking them after the movie starts that concerns me. It may not be as big a problem as I'm thinking of, but I always like to measure the width of the canyon before making the jump, so to speak.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Premium seating control 14 Jul 2007 14:53 #29361

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Mary with RTS has told me that different seating prices is a function of the software already, so that's covered. Yes, they would be reserved seating like a stadium.

Then, what's the problem? A stadium is reserved by row and seat number. If you have someone in a seat that hasn't been sold, it shouldn't be that hard to tell... especially if you only have a couple of rows.

Past that, I wonder if you might just find this to be a huge headache. Like the balcony problem, you'll always have to babysit it. Would it be worth the trouble?
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Re: Premium seating control 14 Jul 2007 16:57 #29362

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The problem is that just like in a stadium, once the game starts, you'll see droves of people coming down from the nosebleed section to grab those empty $50 seats on the 50-yard line. Who's to know? In this case, they would move UP to the premium seats that cost 2X the price of a regular ticket. They could even move 1/2 way through the movie. How to stop that? I'm not worried about the RTS system. You could even set up the premium section as a separate auditorium showing the same movie- there are options.

You're right Jack, I don't think it would be worth babysitting the premium seating section, which is the reason for this post. There must be an easier way, preferrably automatic. Like the sensors in the seats- if 10 tickets were sold and I see 12 seats with butts in them on my POS, then they get a visit. If not, then no action is necessary. I really like this option, but I'm trying to think of something similar that wouldn't cost as much. Swinging bars over the seats that would open with a disposable key card? A projectionist with a night vision scope? Etc.

Or maybe I should trust patrons more?
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Premium seating control 15 Jul 2007 01:16 #29363

  • rodeojack
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Yah, those are all interesting ideas, but...


If you do figure a way to do this, please let us all know. It sure sounds like a good idea with automatic problems.
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Re: Premium seating control 16 Jul 2007 17:14 #29364

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I tried selling my balcony for more $$ one season. People were receptive to the idea because they know we are always looking for ways to make an extra dollar or two without raising overall prices. But I found it to be too much trouble to monitor as well. Now we have settled into closing it during the week (when staff is minimal) and opening it only on the weekend, when the crowds and the tourists are in.
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