After spending months preparing for your festival by securing entertainment and vendors, optimizing your marketing campaigns, and navigating through ticket sales, the last thing you want is an admissions strategy that leaves your attendees waiting too long to enter your event. With a streamlined admissions process, you’ll ensure your attendees get through the gate quickly and safely, and that your festival is a hit from start to finish!
Read on for our event operations experts’ take on five key factors to consider when planning a successful festival admissions strategy.
Utilize your historical ticketing and admissions data to help gauge what resources you need for your next festival. Look at last year’s attendance, staffing, average queue wait times, and even attendee reviews to see what aspects could be adjusted. Then, use projected sales data to determine if your festival is on track to have more or fewer attendees than previous years. If you’re expecting larger crowds, for example, you should consider opening multiple gates from various entry points, then breaking them down later in the event as you see fit.
Ensuring your entire team has the most accurate, updated information during your event will not only cut down on any potential confusion amongst your staff, but will also ensure your attendees are getting the information they need as quickly as possible, keeping wait times to a minimum. Implement a single communication channel to be used by all staff members day-of, like walkie-talkies or a mobile communication app such as Slack. You may also benefit from establishing a clear staff hierarchy, so if any team member has questions, they know exactly who to go to for support.
Whether your festival is expecting several hundred attendees, or tens of thousands, there’s essential admissions equipment you’re guaranteed to need on-site, like ticket scanners, computers, printers, credit card swipes, power strips, and even backup generators. Check if your venue has existing on-site internet infrastructure as well. If not, you should invest in multiple hotspots from various carriers to ensure a strong, consistent WiFi connection. You’ll also need to decide if you want to print physical tickets and receipts or send everything digitally to walk-up customers, if you’ll validate pre-purchased tickets through handheld scanners or computer stations, and more.
Proper line management is essential to keeping the admissions process quick and seamless. Be sure to clearly separate your lines with stanchions or bike racks to maintain crowd control, and designate specific line types, like VIP, walk-up sales, and will call. If you anticipate utilizing multiple entrances, share the festival layout on your website and social media in advance, and be sure to designate staff members to direct attendees to the proper entrances on event day.
It’s important to make sure each wristband, badge, or ticket is a noticeably different color for each ticket type, so staff can easily differentiate various price levels, VIP packages, or single-day passes at a glance. Using wristbands as opposed to badges or tickets can also help prevent unpaid entry and ensures that attendees don’t pass off their premium packages to others who didn’t pay for it, since they can’t easily be taken off.