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TOPIC: new ticketing machine/software

new ticketing machine/software 02 Jan 2008 13:25 #29506

  • robaker
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Hi there all -

I work for a not-for-profit one screen in Blacksburg, VA (The Lyric Theatre, for those interested). We are presently using an Automaticket machine which we rebuilt for our use (about 10 years ago).

The Auto has its periodic mechanical glitches which are usually very easy to fix, though lately the glitches are more frequent and more serious.

I am beginning the process of looking for a replacement for the machine. Ideally, I'd like a touch screen system which allows for 4 different ticket categories. We also have live events at our theater (plays and whatnot) and sell tickets for those though a 3rd party system (www.sellingticket.com) and would like to continue with that.

Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts that would be helpful in my search? Bear in mind, we are on a budget and our traffic is fairly light (50,000 customers a year, roughly), so spending 10 grand on a system with bells and whistles isn't terribly likely.
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 02 Jan 2008 15:39 #29507

  • rodeojack
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I'm clearly biased on the matter, but here are a couple of options.

Two systems seem to attract most of the conversation around these boards. You can check each one's site to see if either fits your needs.

RTS (rts-solutions.com) is very popular, and can handle pretty much everything. It is inexpensive to get into, because all of the hardware is off-the-shelf. You can buy a system from them or build your own, depending on your budget and/or qualifications. Upgrades are frequent, they are responsive to customer needs and support is very good. The downside is that it is not a "buy-out" type of system. You pay a yearly license to run the software, depending on how many sales terminals you have. While there are pros and cons to everything, my opinion is that it's pretty hard to go wrong with this system.

Another system you might look into, is the "Sensible Cinema" (sensiblecinema.com) software. Like RTS, the hardware can be pretty much anything you want (PC-based). In this case however, the software is actually purchased. There is no annual fee to run the program. Support is free for an initial period. After that, anything other than emailed questions carries a charge. I also used this system for a while. It started out OK, but my needs were way over what they could/would provide at the time. My chief complaint was the availability of a live body to chat with, which always was one person (the owner). That was a few years ago, and they may be better now, so you should probably check it out.

As far as I've seen, everything else out there is more expensive, or is based on proprietary hardware designs that, once you've invested in them, keeps you tied to that particular company.

If you have a well-developed business model, a buyout program might work for you. On the other hand, if your business tends to evolve (like ours), a system that updates frequently might be a better choice.

Both systems have demos available. RTS can be downloaded from their site. It is fully functional, except that it won't actually conclude a sales transaction (must be licensed for that). For Sensible Cinema, you need to go to their site and request a demo. I don't know what limitations are on that.

Good luck!

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited January 02, 2008).]
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 02 Jan 2008 22:40 #29508

  • cordbuff
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Jack-
If you don't pay the annual fee does RTS quite working or do you just loose support?

Marc
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 02 Jan 2008 23:58 #29509

  • dsschoenborn
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It quits. I think mostly because the annual fee is really small compared to what you would have to pay for a purchase system.

RTS would do your online sales too probably better than the other site becuase it would be tied into your ticket system. It also does researve seating it you want to for no additional fee.

I looked for a long time before we bought and I like a system you can use your own hardware and not spend thousands on. Also you have to be able to work the system easily. I normally always look at other systems at conventions but end up asking myself why someone would buy something so complicated the person showing me can't explain it in a few minutes.
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 03 Jan 2008 13:04 #29510

  • robaker
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Thanks for the heads up. Both of these leads will be a good start.
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 04 Jan 2008 10:30 #29511

  • rodeojack
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If you don't pay the annual fee does RTS quite working or do you just loose support?

It does 'quit', but not until it's bugged you for nearly a month. If you are nearing the expiration of your license, it will put up a message every time you log in. It truely is a pain, but there really is no way you could say you didn't know it was coming.

In the sense that I said the system was fully functional except for concluding a transaction; an unlicensed RTS does everything, right up until you push the "total" button... and that's where it blocks the sale. With that in mind, you can use unlicensed copies to maintain and monitor the system, set up your shows, and concession items. You can network it at your theatre for this purpose, or you could install a copy at home and keep an eye on it from wherever you are. That's a big deal around here, and part of the system's value, IMHO.

Just to be clear: You could have 50 terminals spread around your business, each with a running copy of RTS on it. The only ones you actually have to license are the ones that transact business with a customer.
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 06 Jan 2008 18:52 #29512

  • Mike
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we have RTS and we are very happy

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 08 Jan 2008 08:36 #29513

  • WINGMAN
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I LOOKED AT BOTH SITES AND IT LOOKS LIKE SENSIBLE CINEMA IS A LOT HARDER TO WORK WITH NOW AS THEY SEAM TO HAVE HIGHER REQUIREMENTS TO RUN IT AND THEY ALSO SHOW THEY DONT SUPPORT SOME OF THERE OLDER SYSTEMS SOUNDS LIKE BOTH WOULD BE A PROBLEM FOR ME BEING A SMALLER OPERATOR AS WE WOULD NEED NEWER EQUIPMENT TO RUN THERE SYSTEMS OR DID I MISS SOMETHING

ANYONE RUNNING THERE SYSTEMS OR READY THEATER SYSTEMS

IF YOU HAVE USED EATHER SYSTEM WHICH WOULD YOU SUGEST IS BETTER OR EASER TO OPERATE FOR A SMALLER THEATER





[This message has been edited by WINGMAN (edited January 08, 2008).]
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 08 Jan 2008 10:00 #29514

  • dsschoenborn
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RTS for small single theatre operations is the best that will make you feel like a big guy.

I can do a lot of work from home on RTS. I can watch sales from home. I can talk to a person with a minute wait time for help. etc.....
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 08 Jan 2008 11:37 #29515

  • rodeojack
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RTS is pretty easy on computer resources. I've run it on small Celeron computers with not much memory and Windows 98. It works just fine in that environment. Everything but the database is on XP pro now... pretty bulletproof.

I use touch screens, electric cash drawers, credit card wedges, thermal roll printers and fingerprint readers (for staff login) and gift cards in my system. I have used its internet ticketing function and window displays, though I don't now (drive-in). None of that is required. You can simply sell tickets and/or concessions with a standard monitor, keyboard and mouse. It will print on pretty much anything you hook it up to.

For the smallest installation you could run with as few as one computer, though most people recommend you network the database somewhere away from the public access areas.

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited January 08, 2008).]
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 08 Jan 2008 11:44 #29516

  • robaker
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That's starting to sound more like what I need - we have one ticket booth and one concessions register (though concessions wouldn't be part of the system if I switched today). Thanks again for the input.
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 08 Jan 2008 13:51 #29517

  • dsschoenborn
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Do the concession as part of one system. It makes life so much better when trying to do accounting at the end of the day.
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 22 Jan 2008 01:51 #29518

  • Avalon
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Love the system. Easy to use. Wish Tribune Services would look at RTS's interface for their scheduling.
Biggest complaint: Wish it would run on a Mac OS. I will now don my flame retardant suit for the PC lovers' fire storm... I did actually talk to them about it since a lot of us are having to work in two formats and RTS won't run on what I use on all of my other computers. The person I spoke to said they are looking into it since they're getting a lot of questions about it.
We run ours on a very simple Windows 98 machine. The software seems to work very well until the computer doesn't.
The renew notice starts about 45 days before it expires. After about 3 days you (the workers) become desensitized to it. Suddenly, it's due. Yes, they can say we were warned. Goody for them. However, as good it makes them feel, there has to be a better way of reminding us without something so annoying we tune it out.
Petty stuff about a system that works great supported by great people.
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: new ticketing machine/software 22 Jan 2008 13:49 #29519

  • NSCInemas
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RTS IS GREAT!!! Yes you pay a yearly fee instead of a one time purchase but this is better as you get any upgrades and always have the latest and greatest version of RTS. Having worked with the very expensive large chain standard Radiant Theatre Management System... I find RTS BETTER! This is the software that ANYONE who runs a cinema should use it really is great and flexible... also if you have some specialized need RTS will come up with an upgrade for you to do whatever you need to do, the customer support is also the BEST in the business.

Just my unbiased opinion!
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Re:new ticketing machine/software 19 Feb 2009 22:03 #30927

  • Bri
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http://www.us-vista.com/awm/

It has Touchscreens.
It has Multiple Sales options - Can sell Tickets, Candy, Gift Vouchers, Wine, Coffee ect.
Can do Internet sales.
Does all kinds of different reports if you like.
And has a built-in stock tracking program.
And more.

(vista is not related to "windows vista" TM)
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