Backup Planning Options for Box Office Operations in the event of technology outage
We sometimes get asked about the chance of the system going down, or an internet outage, or a computer failure. Obviously with any technology there is a chance for down time. Our company consistently exceeds industry standards for consistency of operation, rarely having outages or down time. But there is of course a chance. Also the internet connection between you and our servers has the slim chance of connectivity issues. And, of course, your computer might have a problem as well. These are all possibilities and you should consider the stability of your internet connection and the maintenance and replacement of your computer equipment periodically to ensure your best chance of consistent operation. We'll do our part here to make sure the system is running for you when you need it.
With these things in mind, it is a good idea to have Plan B in place just in case. Here are some suggestions for you to consider having at the ready so you can be sure you can get your patrons ticketed the night of each performance and have everything run smoothly:
1) Before you open the house each night, you should run a "Door List" report. This tells you all the patrons who purchased in advance with their ticket and seat information.
2) If selling assigned seats (as opposed to General Admission) you could consider also running and "Unsold Seats" report to have a list of the specific assigned seat numbers that were unsold by that time, in case you need to sell tickets on paper at the door. (see Reports > Ticketing Reports > Inventory Reports > "Unsold Seats" and/or "Unsold seats summarized by pricing section")
3) Have some simple paper tickets on hand... maybe a roll of standard tickets, or small business card size tickets that have your logo on them and space to write a seat number on... These can be used to sell tickets from the report above, for example.
4) You can also do a screen shot print of the seating chart in advance to show you all the seats that were pre-sold. Windows computers use the print screen function, then paste that copy into a doc or image software to print it. Mac computers are Apple - Shift - 3 to do a screenshot to your desktop. Open it and print. It's also always a good idea to have copies of your seating chart that are just blank and easily readable that you can make notes on, mark off sold seats, etc. You can toss the copy after each performance when using them.
5) You can ask your bank from carbonless credit card slips that you can use to copy down credit card info with patron name and address, total price, and have them sign for the transaction. Then you can enter these transactions into the box office screen later if needed. But some organizations just accept cash and checks at the door, temporarily or all the time.
6) Have forms ready for you to fill in ticket counts by person type, etc. So you can easily reconcile things after and input the details into the when you have access.
These are just some suggestions. You can evaluate your own circumstance as to what to prepare. Put together a banker box in your office with instructions clearly written out inside, and familiarize your staff with the backup procedure so everyone is comfortable and ready when needed, in those very rare cases.
See also Recommendation - Internet backup options for further backup options.