April 2018–Tim Lowke was searching for a solution.
The Assistant Director of Visual and Performing Arts at Round Rock (TX) Independent School District was charged with finding a better ticketing solution to manage the district’s burgeoning fine arts programs.
“Our needs were several,” Lowke said. “First was to streamline the ticketing process so we could take the handling of money out of the hands of the teachers. That way they could spend more time with the students actually preparing the productions. It was one more thing off their load.”
The second reason was to connect with the community.
“We are trying to engage the larger community that is not normally involved in our schools,” he said. “By putting ticketing online, we can both increase accessibility and streamline the process.”
After researching the marketplace, they partnered with eReserve Ticketing. Once the decision was made, the next challenge was rolling it out to the district’s five high schools and eight performing venues. They decided to pilot it at three theaters in the spring.
Lowke set up initial training sessions with Ian Blackie of eReserve Ticketing. Together they presented the system to 37 theater teachers, and also conducted training with parent booster volunteers who help run the box offices.
Finally, on the nights of each school’s performance, Lowke and Blackie were on hand to provide guidance. Lowke assigned box office staff admin privileges to allow them to handle cash, check, and credit card sales at the door.
The goal is to gradually hand off the responsibility to staff and volunteers.
“I am teaching parents to act as administrators of the box office at each school, so I can step out of that role,” Lowke said. “I’ll work with them, but I won’t need to be there every single night.”
The plan is to have every fine arts event ticketed starting next year. The district hosts more than 300 events every year, with close to 80 of them ticketed. The intent is to have all of those set up so the public can purchase tickets online and at the door. And they are already seeing other ways to utilize the system.
“As we look at how budgets are being squeezed, as teachers need to do more fundraising, we will be able to ticket even more events.”
Rollout has been “pretty easy,” and they’ve already seen positive results. After adding eReserve Ticketing this spring, both attendance and sales went up.
“We work hard to have our programs be the best they can be for both students and teachers,” Lowke said. “We want to do what we can to support them. That’s our role.”
Another advantage is helping staff more efficiently utilize theater spaces. For the first time, they have all the seating mapped in all the performing places.
“For years, teachers have had to tell us how many they expect will come, so we can place them in the correct venue,” Lowke said. “Now, with eReserve Ticketing, we will be able to look at hard numbers. We can say this particular type of event typically has X amount of people, so it needs to be on this stage. This will help us use facilities and resources in a smarter manner.”
Footnote: Located just outside of Austin, Texas, Round Rock ISD is one of the fastest growing schools in Texas, with a top projected growth of more than 10% a year over the next 15 years. They currently have five high schools and eight performing arts facilities, including a 1200-seat Performing Arts Center, two 750-seat auditoriums, plus several “black box” theaters that seat 350.
Ready to manage your fine arts events? Large district or small, or in between, eReserve Ticketing can work with you. Contact us today at email@example.com.