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How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Selling 2000+ Tickets In 3 Hours: Guest Post By Andrew Farrell

Guest Post from Andrew Farrell, Development Database Manager at Birmingham Museum of Art:

Each summer the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) hosts ART ON THE ROCKS, a series of after-hours events combining lots of music, food, dancing, drinking, and arts of all kinds. 2014 was the tenth year of this event and the first time that the BMA used Altru as its ticketing solution.


Before our conversion to Altru, we were ticketing out of a local 3rd party ticketing operation which cost us a pretty penny for each ticketing transaction. Added to this we were running all of our memberships out of the Raiser's Edge and either had to have a network connected workstation with RE installed to check a member's status, or we'd print out a phone book sized membership list for any ticketing station that didn't.

Yet, before software was ever an issue, our biggest challenge has been that the BMA is a museum with free admission, two very open entrances, and no real controlled point-of-entry/sale to even handle ticketing an event. Our standard set-up included a rag-tag bunch of worn and weary (and slow) laptops and desktops that required pulling and taping down extension cords everywhere. We needed an affordable, reliable, and most importantly an easy way of setting up multiple points-of-sale that could be set up on a folding table and taken down before the end of the night so the museum could be entirely reset for a wedding the following morning.


To answer our needs we purchased four Acer Chromebooks each with phenomenal battery life, excellent Wifi reception, and a fantastic multi-touch screen that made the Daily Sales screen so much more user friendly than any desktop or tablet. Using run-of-the-mill USB swipers, barcode scanners, and basic cash boxes we were able to sell thousands of tickets in less than 3 hours. A low price point of $10/$20 member/non-member pricing eliminated the need for receipt printers (only one person in August asked for a receipt for a $10 cash transaction which we were able to e-mail afterwards).

Towards the end of the night, I was able to pick up the entire set-up at both entrances and take everything back to the office to be locked away. It was such a relief to not need a dolly to cart around desktops and screens after a 16 hour day. Altru allows us to scale our ticketing system for our needs. Now we can easily set up our full ticketing capacity for an off-site event, or just run down the hall with a Chromebook in hand to help alleviate some of the pressure on our special exhibition point-of-sale when the crowds overwhelm the one ticket seller we normally have on duty outside the gallery.

To connect with Andrew, find him in the Altru community!
Posted by Kristen Gastaldo on Aug 26, 2014 1:35 PM America/New_York

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