How to Reschedule Instances

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Sometimes when performances are unexpectedly cancelled, you may be able to offer your patrons a new performance date. 

Spektrix gives you the tools to not just reschedule Instances but also to communicate with your customers about important changes.

This article will walk through how to effectively reschedule Instances and use our DotDigital integration to contact your customers. While we specifically focus on contacting customers who have provided email addresses, contacting patrons over the phone is also a beneficial option. 

REMINDER: With this process, you won’t need to reprint tickets or regenerate Print at Home tickets/E-tickets. Make sure customers know that their existing tickets will be valid for the new date.

We’ll walk you through how to configure your system settings, step by step, before showing you how to reschedule Instances. There are three steps you will need to complete:

REMINDER: This process is different from sending an integrated mailing created in DotDigital through Spektrix.

 

Spektrix setup

The first step is to create two new Instance Attributes in Spektrix. To do this, you’ll need the Settings Administrator role on your user account. You can create new Attributes in the Settings Interface under the Attribute Templates section.

To create the new Instance Attribute:

  • Select Instance from the tab on the left-hand side of the screen:


    instance_attribute_left_menu.png

  • Click on the New Attribute Template button

instance_attribute_new.png

Create two Attributes. The first will be called Original Instance Date: 

  • Description: Enter the date of the original Instance
  • Type: Date and Time
  • Do not select visible in your API integrations or is always required

The second will be called Original Instance Time

  • Description: Enter the time of the original Instance
  • Type: Text field
  • Do not select visible in your API integrations or is always required

TIP: If you are only changing the date of the Instance and not the time, then you will not need this second Instance Attribute.

Dotdigital setup

The next step is to set up new contact data fields in your DotDigital account (to match the new Attributes in Spektrix), and then to create a new DotDigital campaign.

Creating new contact data fields

To pull the information from the Original Instance Date and Original Instance Time Attributes into your mailings, you need to set up two new contact data fields in DotDigital.

You may need to also create new fields to pull through the relevant Instance information from Spektrix if you have not used this feature before.

See our article on Personalisation in DotDigital for full details of how to add new contact data fields, but we’ll walk through the basics.

REMINDER: You will need to be able to set up contact data fields and add new address books in DotDigital to complete the following tasks. If you don’t have the correct access permissions, speak to your Dotdigital administrator.

  • In your DotDigital account go to Contacts > Contact data fields and navigate to the My data fields tab
  • Click on the New Data Field button to open the Create new field box

new_data_field.png

Create a new field using the following options:

  • Name: ORIGINALDATE
  • Data type: Date
  • Default value: [leave blank]
  • Access: Private
  • Folder: Data fields

If you’ve changed the time of your performances as well as the date, create another field using these options:

  • Name: ORIGINALTIME
  • Data type: Text
  • Default value: [leave blank]
  • Access: Private
  • Folder: Data fields

If you don’t already have them set up, create three further fields:

  • EVENTNAME (Text type, other options as above)
  • EVENTDATE (Date type, other options as above)
  • EVENTTIME (Text type, other options as above)

Creating a new campaign

Now you can create a new DotDigital campaign that you’ll use to use to tell your patrons about the changes. You might want to include the following, for example: 

  • Why you’ve rescheduled the performances
  • The details of the new date(s)
  • If the patron’s original tickets are still valid
  • How to contact your box office team

To help personalise this email to each customer, you can use the following contact data fields:

  • @EVENTNAME@: the name of the show
  • @ORIGINALDATE@: the original date of the performance when the customer booked
  • @ORIGINALTIME@: the original show time of the performance
  • @EVENTDATE@: the new show date
  • @EVENTTIME@: the new showtime

If you haven’t used contact data fields before, all you need to do is add them to the main body of your email where you want each piece of information to display. Here’s an example:

“...please note that due to the current uncertain circumstances, we have decided to postpone the performance of @EVENTNAME@ that you have booked for. Your tickets for @ORIGINALDATE@ at @ORIGINALTIME@ are still valid for the new performance on @EVENTDATE@ at @EVENTTIME@...”

You can build this campaign however you like to suit your normal styling.

Request a custom report

To get your customers’ details into DotDigital, including the Original Instance Date and Original Instance Time Attributes, you’ll need to use a custom report provided by Spektrix. You can run this report, upload the output to DotDigital, and use it as the address book.

Please complete this form to request a custom report with the following details:

  • Criteria set: By Instance (so you can choose which Instance to run it on each time)

Output columns should include:

  • Event Name
  • Event Date
  • Event Time
  • Original Instance Date Attribute
  • Original Instance Time Attribute
  • Customer Name
  • Email Address

You’ll need to run this report once for each Instance you’re rescheduling. Make sure to select the Run as Excel option (not Excel unformatted) when you run the report.

Rescheduling Instances in Spektrix

When you rearrange an Instance that was scheduled to occur more than six months ago, all tickets will be automatically regenerated and resent to the attendees. 

For example, if on 24th October 2024, you rearrange an Instance that was due to happen before 24th April 2024, these tickets will automatically regenerate and resend.

TIP: Before you regenerate and resend tickets, you might want to temporarily switch your Print at Home ticket PDF template to one that mentions that the ticket is regenerated or rescheduled. This will make it clear to customers which ticket they should bring. It will also help your front of house team spot any duplicates.

With everything set up, now you can start editing your Instances in Spektrix. You will need the General Administrator user role on your account for this step. 

 

  • In the Admin Interface go to the Events page and choose the Event that you’re rescheduling
  • Select the Instance you want to reschedule
  • From the Event Instance Detail page, click the Edit button in the bottom-right corner:


    reschedule_instance.png

  • Edit the Date and Time fields with the details for the new performance date and/or time:


    edit_instance_time.png

  • Edit the Instance Attributes by entering the Original Instance Date and, if relevant, the Original Instance Time
  • Click Save:


    save.png

 

You need to make these edits individually, rather than using the Bulk Instance Update Tool. This is because you need to update the date, time, and the new Attributes fields with unique values for each Instance. 

REMINDER: Updating an Instance will not trigger a new confirmation email or cause Print @ Home tickets to automatically be resent.

Contacting your Customers

Once you have edited all of your Instances, the final step is to contact the customers who have booked for those Instances. You will need either the Insights & Mailings User or Insights & Mailings Administrator user role on your account to proceed.

  • In the Insights & Mailings Interface > Reports > Report Explorer, find the custom report that you requested from the Spektrix Support team
  • Run this report for one Instance at a time and output it as an Excel file
  • Save the report output, and open it up in Excel to check the data

TIP: When checking your report data, pick a sample customer or two and compare what’s in the report to their customer record to make sure everything looks right.

You can now use this file as an address book in DotDigital. If you haven’t manually uploaded an address book to DotDigital before, follow the instructions in this DotDigital support article. Here’s a quick overview of the process:

  • In the Contacts section of your DotDigital account, click the New address book button
  • Select the Add a list of contacts from an Excel or CSV file option, choose the output file from your report, and upload it to DotDigital

You’ll need to map some/all of the columns in your file to contact data fields in DotDigital:

  • Spektrix Event Name - map to EVENTNAME in DotDigital
  • Spektrix Event Date - map to EVENTDATE in DotDigital
  • Spektrix Event Time - map to EVENTTIME in DotDigital
  • Spektrix Original Instance Date - map to ORIGINALDATE in DotDigital
  • Spektrix Original Instance Time - map to ORIGINALTIME in DotDigital
  • Spektrix Customer Name - map to FULLNAME in DotDigital
  • Spektrix Email Address - map to EMAIL in DotDigital

Suppressed Emails

Once you’ve uploaded the address book, make sure you click the Download unimported addresses button. This way, you can download a list of any customers who weren’t successfully added to the address book.

Suppressed emails.png

When you upload an address book to DotDigital, be aware that DotDigital will run it through a suppression list to identify any customers who have previously been blocked, unsubscribed or bounced. There’s a chance some of the customers that you’ve uploaded to DotDigital won’t be included in the address book and will not receive your email.

We recommend you use the ImportFaults spreadsheet that’s generated when you click Download unimported addresses as a separate list to use for manually contacting these customers who are on the suppression list. As there should only be a few of those per list, keep a note of them and come back to them later.

Testing your Campaign

Before sending your campaign, we recommend running a test to make sure everything in the email looks right. 

To do this, you’ll need to make sure that you have one or more email addresses already recorded in DotDigital as Contacts (the people you want to receive the test send). Each of these Contacts must have some data in the contact data fields you’re using for your campaign. 

  • In DotDigital, go to Contacts > My Contacts and search for an address book called Test
  • If an email address you want to use is not yet present in the address book, click on the New Contacts button to add it in
  • To add information to data fields, select an email address then go to the Data fields option in the menu
  • Find the data field you want to update, then add in the information and click the green tick button to save

You can add whatever information you like for this step. The purpose is to have something to use to check that your data fields are working.

original date and time.png

  • Repeat for any further fields you want to update
  • Repeat for other email addresses you want to send test emails to

Once you’ve done that, the information you added will pull through in your test emails.

You can test your DotDigital campaign in the usual ways, such as from the toolbar in the Easy Editor:

test send.png

Learn how to test your email campaign here. If you find any problems with your test send, please get in touch with the Spektrix Support Team who will be able to help.

Sending your Campaign

Now you are ready to schedule or send your campaign to this address book. Make sure you send directly from DotDigital, as this isn’t an integrated email in Spektrix.

Next, you can send your campaign. Just make sure you select the appropriate address book to send it to.

Remember to check your ImportFaults CSV from DotDigital and contact the customers on that list separately - you’ll need to get in touch with these customers, and any who don’t have email addresses, by phone or post.

Repeat for subsequent Instances

Once you’ve sent your campaign, if you have more Instances to reschedule and contact customers about, repeat the process including the following stages:

  • If you haven’t already, edit the next Instance to change the date/time and update the new Attributes
  • Run the custom report for the next Instance
  • Upload the output of the report to DotDigital
  • Save the ImportFaults file from DotDigital
  • Test your campaign
  • Send your campaign
  • Repeat for the next Instance

To read more about cancelling and rescheduling Events in Spektrix, head to the Setting Up and Editing Events section of the Support Centre.