View Full Version : Tickets go High Tech with High Touch

08-29-2007, 12:15 AM
Online Ticketing was a Hot Topic for the past several years in the haunt industry. Many haunt owners got tied down to 3 year contracts as I did. Our customer got used to paying for tickets in advance with added fees and with the increase in sells the revenue lost to Third Party Vendor fees starting to mount up into the thousands of dollars. Here's a concept to think about if you want to put those dollars back in your pocket. This concept is not brand new, however starting to make more sense. I first seen this at Headless Horseman and Hayrides years ago, but we built a new system from the ground up using high tech with high touch.

Starting this year Spookywoods is offering a 15 minute Reservation and all of our other Ticket options over the phone. This will allow us to control the reservation system better and increase our revenue capturing the thousands of dollars our customer were paying in fees to Third Party Ticket Processors and our own 5% inside fee. We estimate us processing these tickets ourselves will increase our revenue by around $20,000 the first year and managing the crowds to attend when we can handle them in a timely fashion.

Reservations will be sold in blocks of 15 minutes starting at 8PM. We have developed our own software using touch screen technology a Gigabyte Network with a Windows 2003 Server and 7 Windows XP Pro Workstations and 4 DataMax bar code printers. We even built an addition to our monster shop just to handle phone sales for the call load we are expecting. When ordering your tickets via phone you talk to a bank of four ticket sellers that know about all of our attractions and can answer your questions. We are calling this High Tech with High Touch. What a concept, fast and easy with live customer service! This also gives us an opportunity to up sell our other daytime attractions, The Maize Adventure, Gem and Fossil DIG, and Pumpkin Patch.

With this new database system we can see at the ticket booth and in our call center how many tickets are available for General Admission and Reservation time slots in real time. When a customer asks at the ticket booth how long is the wait we can now up sell the reservation time slots with real time data.

We will tailor marketing of our radio ad to "Order via the phone now and your tickets will be waiting on you when you arrive". The concept is simple, call our call center and order your tickets and the tickets will print from our call center direct to the bar code printer at the two Will Call windows in the ticket booth. You walk up and show your ID and go to the Reservation Queue line directly into the haunt. A nice touch we built into the ticketing system is we can print a custom line on the ticket for example, "Happy Birthday from Mom and Dad" or a company message on group purchased tickets.

For the newer haunts using an online vendor may make better sense with no upfront costs, but for the well established attractions processing thousands of advance tickets the revenue being lost is worth the investment in the technology to bring it in house.

Jim Warfield
08-30-2007, 09:49 PM
It all sounds interesting, Tony.
Everybody always wants to be here between 7 and 9:30pm.
We do reservations via them sending me a check a week in advance or a money order anytime. The problem is our reservation people always seem to be 15 minutes late!!? (I guess being in the middle of nowhere has some disadvantages?)
Many years ago a famous haunt builder told everyone (after he had been here) "That you can't get here from anywhere!?"
Maybe it's called "Building Mystique?"
Yes Frodo, it's a true challenge to get here, are you up for it? Are you "Man" enough to make the journey through the rabies-infected corn fields full of biting raccoons and others?
Say "Goodbye" to those bright big-city street lights, you won't have them to protect and guide you for the next several hours of the trip.
It is DARK out here in country, many fears thrive in the DARK now don't they?
Will you even be able to get out of your car when you finally arrive?
Some can't. (I'm not kidding.)
Of course my solution to reservations and ticketing is to be open every night of the year!
"Hey! If you don't like crowds and waiting, come here in January, or April, or ....."

Greg Chrise
08-30-2007, 10:21 PM
I don't know what any of the buttons on my cell phone do.

All of this might become second nature in years to come but right now there aren't a bunch of big companies that have trained people to do all of this.

I'm seeing a new training niche market here, cell phoning from the womb. Mommy? It's for you.