Event Ticketing Software – One Size Fits One

If you are looking for event ticketing software, you’ve probably noticed there are hundreds of ticketing choices in the marketplace. In fact, we’ve published a list of 100 ticketing companies in a recent post.

At first glance, these different alternatives appear to offer a similar set of functionality as each other. However, we spent some time examining hundreds of event ticketing software vendors and believe they can be categorized into three types. And only one type will be right for you. The three categories are

  • Box Office Software
  • Registration
  • Gate Control

Box Office Software

The first type is the traditional “box office system” software vendor. These vendors provide event ticketing software that typically handles the ticketing requirements for shows, performances or sports matches. Examples of the types of events served by box office system vendors are musical theater shows, sporting events, concerts, dance recitals or any other type of performing arts event.

Features in this type of event ticketing software usually include the ability to assign specific seats, ability to sell season’s tickets, extensive reporting and patron management.

Whether the ticket is printed at home on plain paper or at the box office on ticket card stock, the ticket usually has the event name, date, time and location, the seat number for assigned seating and the logo of the event producer. Today, it is likely to also contain a bar code or qr code for check-in.  And, some more advanced box office systems allow you to put the purchaser’s name on the ticket and perhaps a special message.

Registration Software

The next type is what we call “registration software”. This type of event ticketing software is used when assigned seating is not required and usually when there is not a single show or performance. Examples of these types of events are conventions, exhibits, festivals, classes, air shows or corporate meetings.

These types of solutions are more focused on collecting registration information than on selling a seat to a specific event. Often the information collected at the time of registration is more extensive than you would get in a box office system. There is a limited amount of overlap with box office system – functions like discounts, print-at-home tickets, and social network integration.

The ticket itself is usually a full page with the attendee’s name, registration number, the name and address of the event, perhaps a barcode or QR code to scan in the attendee.

Gate Control Systems

The third type of event ticketing software is “gate control” systems. This category is less oriented to specific events and more oriented to controlling access to a particular location on an ongoing basis. Examples of organizations requiring this type of ticketing are amusement parks, laser tag parks, zoos, aquariums, water parks, circuses or fairs.

The functionality here is less oriented to collecting the customers information and more focused on simply ensuring payment is made and allowing the guest to get through the “gate”.

The ticket, in this case is usually a generic voucher, not specific to the customer. That is, the customer’s name is usually not on it, nor is there any event information. In fact the “ticket” could even be a wristband, or a stamp on the hand or something similar.

So What?

Why does this matter? If you are looking for a ticketing system, you will be overwhelmed by the number of event ticketing software solutions there are out there. This is a way of categorizing the vendors so you spend time only on the vendors in the category important to you.

For example, if you are a performing arts organization there is no use in considering solutions that are predominantly gate control. Or if you require box office functionality and assigned seating, you would want to avoid registration types of solutions.

We have categorized many of the solutions in a separate post. We hope it saves you time in your search. Please feel free to comment below.