Priority Booking

Rachael Norris
Rachael Norris
  • Updated

Priority Booking allows you to specify a group of customers who can book online Events before their Start Selling Date, or general on-sale. You might refer to this as a pre-sale period or advance booking. 

When to use Priority Booking: 

  • Priority Booking only applies to online sales – it will not affect sales in the Sales Interface
  • Priority Booking does not apply to Fixed Series or Ticket Subscriptions


Setting up Priority Booking

When setting up Priority Booking, you can choose how far in advance certain customers are able to book, for which Events, and what criteria they must meet to be eligible. 

You can set up as many Priority Booking periods as you want, each with its own eligibility criteria. These criteria can include Tags, Customer Attributes, Memberships, Promotion Codes, Criteria Groups, Fixed Series Subscriptions, and/or Contact Preferences. 


Setting an Instance's Start Selling Date 

To create a Priority Booking period, you will first need to set a date for the general on-sale of the Instance. The Priority Booking period will be the number of days before the online Start Selling Date

The Start Selling Date is set at the Instance level; you can fill this information in as you create your Instances, but you can also edit this information at a later date.

In the Admin Interface > Events, from the Instances tab, select the Instance you would like to create a Start Selling Date for. In the Basic Details tab, you'll see a table at the bottom of the screen.

Here you can set when tickets go on sale in the Sales Interface, online, for agents, and in the Opportunities Interface. To set the Start Selling time and date for the Web, you'll need to complete the following:

  • Visible/On Sale
  • 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 or after the Instance's start time tickets can still be purchased

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.

REMINDER: The Sell Until time in the Sales Interface will default to one hour after; for the Web, it will default to one hour before.

Creating a Priority Booking Period 

Priority Booking periods are created and edited in Admin > Other > Priority Booking. To create a new Priority Booking period, click the Add button.


Basic Details


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 for internal purposes
  • Days before: Set the number of days before the Start Selling Date/Time of an Instance that eligible customers are allowed to book online

Click Next when you're ready to proceed.


Customer Criteria


This section allows you to restrict a Priority Booking period to certain customers by using various criteria. 

WARNING: Leaving this section completely blank will result in a red error message. You must select at least one of the criteria.

Each green banner 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, organized 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, with the option to create a new one with the New button
  • Criteria Groups: Contains all available Criteria Groups currently active on your system
  • Fixed Series Subscriptions: Contains all available Fixed Series Subscriptions currently active on your system
  • Contact preferences: Contains all available Contact Preferences currently active on your system

To select your criteria, click on the section banner; this will expand to show a list of all available criteria. From there, you can drag one of the criteria 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. You can read about these and more in the Customer List Builder article.

Once you've added your customer criteria, click Next.


Event Criteria

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 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.

Under Event Instances, you are given 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.

Some 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. 

TIP: If what you’re looking for isn’t immediately visible then, untick the Only show commonly used criteria check box to see the full range of options.

Once you've added your Event criteria, click Next.


Payment eligibility

This is an optional feature that allows you to use specific payment card types as eligibility criteria for Priority Booking. 

Some organizations offer exclusive experiences to customers who use a specific card. Payment eligibility requires customers to buy tickets within a particular Priority Booking period to use an eligible card type. Other payment methods, including gift vouchers and customer credit, will not be accepted.


You'll need to enable it for Priority Booking. Visit Settings > System Setup > Payment Eligibility. Then select the switch marked Enable Payment Eligibility for Priority Periods so it turns green: 


You have now enabled Payment Eligibility for your Priority Booking setup. You will see this option beneath the Event criteria tab. Tick the check box next to the card type(s) you want to make eligible, then click Save.


TIP: If you need to include a new card type to this list, speak to the Spektrix Support team.

If the customer is purchasing tickets for this Event and has other items in their cart (tickets for other Instances, Merchandise, Memberships, donations), they will only be able to complete their purchase in its entirety using an eligible card type.

TIP: You can also use payment eligibility to make certain locked seats available to eligible cardholders. You can read about how to do this in the Setting Up Lock Types article.

Testing your Priority Booking period 

Once you've created a Priority Booking period, you should always test it to make sure it's working as you expect it to. 

To prevent customers from booking tickets online while you’re testing your Priority Booking period, consider making a Tag called Priority Booking Testing. Then apply it to your customer record and set it as another customer eligibility criterion using the AND rule. That way, customers cannot book early using this Priority Booking period until you've removed your Priority Booking Testing Tag from the eligibility criteria.


How Priority Booking appears online

When Priority Booking is available for an Event, anyone clicking through online will see this message:

image (9).png

If you wish to add further text beneath this message, head to Settings > Client Setup > Custom Website Messages.

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.

WARNING: This change is global, you can only have one Priority Booking message for all Priority Booking periods.


Priority Booking and Memberships

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 them without removing them first."

Until they remove the tickets from their basket, they'll be unable to remove the Membership.


Further reading 

To learn more, we’d recommend 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

For more information about Event Set Up, see the Set up Events, Offers and Merchandise section of the Support Centre.