Warning: Is Your New Event Ticketing Solution Really Ready to Launch?

As an event organizer, you know that your event ticketing solution is absolutely critical to your success.  You can have the best event in the world and do all the marketing possible, but if things go awry when you are selling tickets, and there are ticketing errors or difficulties for people buying tickets, you cannot be successful.

If you went through a process to evaluate event ticketing solutions and selected one, you will go through an implementation process to get it ready to launch.  Unfortunately, there are many examples of failed software launches.  Just witness the launch of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) website.  One of the most important websites ever to launch, and it had major problems for several months.

This post examines six key questions one should ask to determine if the event ticketing solution is ready to go live.

Has it been thoroughly tested?

While this may seem completely obvious, news reports about the Affordable Care Act website indicated that final testing began only two weeks prior to launch.  Clearly, sufficient time must be allocated prior to launching your new event ticketing solution.  The testing should include all potential scenarios and all potential errors that could exist when your ticket buyers or your box office staff are using the system.

If you acquired commercially available ticketing software, and you did not have the software vendor create new enhancements for you, then there is less of a need for testing the software itself.  However there are probably several configuration or setup options that you selected, and the software needs to be tested with these settings.

Are there any new features?

As stated above, if after evaluating multiple event ticketing solutions, you selected one that required modifications to meet your requirements, then it is particularly important that those modifications be tested.  A general rule is that software does not completely work. Ever.  There are always bugs, and it takes time to find those bugs and repair them.

Did you do a pilot or soft launch?

Even after testing, it is useful to run a pilot or do a soft launch of the software.  That is, try it out for perhaps a less important or smaller event that can be separated from your other events.  You may determine that the event ticketing solution worked exactly as you had hoped and had expected, or you may find lessons learned that need to be addressed before the larger launch.

Have you thought about what could go wrong and how you can recover?

Even with the best preparation, things will go wrong.  So best to think about that beforehand and determine how those issues will be addressed.

What are the support arrangements?

When you evaluated alternative event ticketing solutions, you probably asked the vendors what their support arrangements are.  Ensure you are clear on the support available and are comfortable that that will be sufficient when you launch.  If not, most ticketing solution vendors are happy to provide an additional level of support at some cost for the first few weeks.

Can you go back, if necessary?

What if you end up with a nightmare scenario, where things are so bad that you cannot effectively sell tickets?  Before going live with the new event ticketing solution, it is best to determine whether or not you have a fallback possibility.  In a worst-case scenario, can the software be turned off and can you revert to your old ticketing solution?

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