Our Priority Booking feature allows you to specify a group of customers who can book online for Events before their Start Selling Date. Whether you're setting up Priority Booking periods to reward your most loyal customers, or to incentivise becoming a member, Priority Booking allows you to choose how far in advance eligible customers are able to book, for which Events, and what criteria they must meet (based on Tags, Customer Attributes, Memberships, Promotion Codes, Criteria Groups, Fixed Series Subscriptions, and/or Contact Preferences).
Before we get started, here's a few things worth noting:
- You can set up as many Priority Booking periods as you want, each with their own eligibility criteria
- Priority Booking only applies to online sales – it will not affect sales in the Sales Interface
- Priority Booking doesn't apply to Fixed Series sales, either in the Sales Interface or online
In this article, we'll cover:
- Setting up Priority Booking
- Testing your Priority Booking period
- How Priority Booking appears online
- Further reading
Priority Booking is defined by two things: the Instance's Start Selling Date and the Priority Booking period relative to that.
Priority Booking periods are calculated based on the general on-sale date for an Instance, allowing customers to purchase tickets a set number of days before the Start Selling Date for online sales. Your first port of call is making sure this is set up correctly, so that your Priority Booking period will work as expected.
All your Start Selling Dates are set at the Instance level; you'll generally fill this information in as you create your Instances, but they can also be edited at a later date.
In the Admin Interface > Events, select the Instance in question. In the Basic Details tab, you'll see this table:
Here you can set when tickets go on sale in the Sales Interface, online, for agents, and in the Opportunities Interface (if you use it). To set the Start Selling time and date for the Web, you'll need to complete the following:
- Visible/On Sale:
- If only Visible is ticked, the Instance will be visible online effective immediately, with the message No online booking
- If both Visible and On Sale are ticked, the Instance will be visible online effective immediately, with the message Online booking opens on DD/MM/YYYY
- If only On Sale is ticked, you'll receive an error saying Must be visible in an interface to be on sale in that interface and will not be able to proceed
- Start selling: set the date and time that you want this Instance to go on general sale
- Sell until (relative to start): how long before/after the Instance's start time tickets can still be purchased through the related interface
NOTE: the Sell until time for the Sales Interface will default to 1 hour after; for Web, it will default to 1 hour before.
Remember that the Start selling date and time here reflects the time these tickets will go on general sale, not when they'll be available to your priority bookers. In the above example, if a Priority Booking period had been set up to offer booking two days ahead of the general on sale date, any customer who meets the Priority Booking criteria would be able to book online from 9am on the 29th July 2020.
Priority Booking periods are created and edited in Admin > Other > Priority Booking:
To create a new Priority Booking period, click the Add button.
This first section is where you define the essential information for the Priority Booking period:
- Name: give your Priority Booking a clear, memorable name
- Description: though this field is optional, we'd recommend completing it to make it clear at a glance which customers and Events are eligible for this Priority Booking period
- Days before: set the number of days before the Start Selling Date/Time of an Instance that eligible customers are allowed to book online
If you're happy for all customers to be able to take advantage of a Priority Booking period, you don’t need to fill anything in to this section; however if you want to restrict a Priority Booking period to certain customers you can do so using various criteria:
Each section will include all available criteria, based on what you currently have set up on your system:
- Tags: contains all active Tags that you have set up on your system, organised by Tag Group
- Attributes: contains all active Customer Attributes that you have set up on your system.
- Memberships: contains all Memberships currently available on your system
- Promotion Codes: contains all active Promotion Codes that have been built on your system
- If you haven’t yet created a Promotion Code for your Offer, you can click on the New button to create one
- Criteria Groups: contains all available Criteria Groups currently active on your system
- Contact preferences: contains all available Contact Preferences currently active on your system
To select your criteria, click on the appropriate section; this will expand to show a list of all available criteria:
From there, you can drag one of the criterion down to the Drop criteria here area:
When setting multiple Eligibility criteria, it's important to be aware of the AND, OR and NOT rules. After you've selected one criterion, you have the option of adding further criteria next to the first one – using AND logic, making the rule stricter and meaning fewer people will meet the eligibility criteria – or in the Drop criteria here area – using OR logic, making the rule less strict and meaning more people will meet the eligibility criteria:
Once you've added your customer criteria, click Next.
Here you can choose whether a Priority Booking period applies to all of your Events, or just specific ones. If you want a Priority Booking period to apply across all Events you can leave this section as it is, as the default setting is for all Events to be included:
If, however, you want to specify which Events are included in this Priority Booking period, this works in the same way as any other criteria picker does in Spektrix: by giving you a range of options to choose from and drag down into the Drop criteria here… section. You can choose one or more of these options and, if what you’re looking for isn’t immediately visible, untick the Only show commonly used criteria check box to see the full range of options.
A few examples of criteria you might use are:
- Events: choose which Events to include from a complete list of your live Events
- Instances: choose specific Instances of an Event
- Date: select all Event Instances taking place within a certain period of time
- Event Attributes: use Attributes to determine whether certain Events should be included; for example, you could create an Event or Event Instance Attribute called Priority Booking, which you can apply to eligible Events/Instances and set as Event Criteria here – see this article for more information on using Event Attributes as smart criteria
Once you've added your Event criteria, hit Save.
We know some organisations offer exclusive experiences to customers tied to the use of a specific payment card type. As well as giving you the ability to use payment eligibility to make certain locked seats available to eligible card holders, you can also use this as eligibility criteria for Priority Booking; essentially this means that any tickets purchased within a particular Priority Booking period must be paid for using the eligible card type, otherwise the customer will not be able to complete the transaction.
NOTE: this option isn't available by default, but if it's something you're interested in setting up, get in touch with the Support team who'll be happy to discuss this with you, and enable the feature.
Once the feature is enabled, you can switch it on for Priority Booking periods by visiting Settings > System Setup > Payment Eligibility and hitting the switch marked Enable Payment Eligibility for Priority Periods:
The option to set payment eligibility will appear after the Event criteria tab, and will show all card types you've approved for use:
NOTE: if you need to include a new card type to this list, speak to the Spektrix Support team who can add these for you as required.
Tick the check box next to the card type(s) you want to make eligible, then click Save.
On your website, customers will be able to freely access anything with a Priority Booking period (unless there is also specific customer eligibility criteria configured against the Priority Booking period) and add associated tickets to their basket. When they reach the checkout with these tickets in their basket, they'll be prevented from:
- Redeeming Gift Vouchers
- Applying Credit
- Using a stored card that isn't one of the eligible card payment types
- Selecting a card type that is not one of the eligible card payment types
This ensures that they use an eligible card type to make their purchase. T hese rules will still apply in a mixed basket scenario, e.g. if the customer is buying tickets for an Instance that is covered by this Priority Booking period, but also has other items in the basket (tickets to other Instances, Merchandise, Memberships, donations), they will only be able to complete their purchase in its entirety using an eligible card type.
Once you've created a Priority Booking period, you should always test it to make sure it's working as you expect it to.
If you're worried about a Priority Booking period being active online while you're testing it, consider making a Tag called, for example, Priority Booking Testing, applying it to your customer record, then setting this as another customer eligibility criterion, using the AND rule. That way, even if customers meet all the other criteria, they'll still not be able to book early using this Priority Booking period until you've removed your Priority Booking Testing Tag from the eligibility criteria.
When Priority Booking is available for an Event, anyone clicking through online will see this message:
If you wish to add any further text beneath this message, just head to Settings > Client Setup > Custom Website Messages and add the text you want to include to the field marked Custom message about priority booking. This appears on chooseseats.aspx when the Instance is only available via priority booking.
To add formatting to this text, you'll need to use Wikitext markup; this is a way to easily format content that works with the styling (CSS) made by your web designers. More information on how you can use this can be found in our article on Website Content.
NOTE: please be aware that this change will be global; you can only have one Priority Booking message to work with all your Priority Booking periods. If you're offering Priority Booking as a benefit for members, we'd recommend adding that information to your messaging here, along with a link to where customers can purchase a Membership.
As soon as someone who is eligible logs into their account, they will be able to book as usual. Additionally, if a customer has an eligible Membership in their basket, they'll be able to take advantage of any Priority Booking periods associated with it; if they try to remove the Membership from their basket, they'll see the following message:
The following problem(s) occurred:
Some of the tickets in your basket depend on this membership subscription. You cannot remove it without removing them first.
This means that, until they remove the tickets from their basket, they'll be unable to remove the Membership.
Hopefully this article has given you everything you need in order to set up Priority Booking periods. We'd recommend you also have a read of the following articles:
- Customer Eligibility Chooser: a guide to using the Customer Eligibility Chooser; this is used to define customer eligibility for Priority Booking periods
- Setting Up Memberships: a guide to setting up Memberships in Spektrix; you might use these as customer eligibility criteria for a Priority Booking period to reward your members
- Promotion Codes: a guide to creating Promotion Codes, which can be used as eligibility criteria for a Priority Booking period
If you have any questions about setting up Priority Booking, or would like to discuss anything from this article in more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Spektrix Support team.