We know that, as venues look to reopen with social distancing still in place, both customers and team members will be looking to reduce the points of contact that would happen in normal circumstances around your front of house areas.
Through a combination of using new tools in Spektrix and adopting some existing features, it's possible to remove much of this contact between customers and staff.
In this article, we'll outline the steps you can take to remove contact points in the customer booking journey, as well as on the day of the event. We'll cover:
- Contactless Card Payments (UK/IE Only)
- Scanning and access control
- At-seat drinks orders
You might also want to have a read of our article on Social Distancing and Spektrix Seating Plans.
You've always been able to allow customers to print their own tickets at home and many venues accept tickets being displayed on a mobile phone or other device. To make it clearer to customers that they don't need to print their tickets, you have the ability to change the option displayed online from Print at Home to e-tickets.
This will make it clear in your online booking path that customers don't need to print their own tickets and can instead display them on a device. Not only will this encourage more customers to select this delivery option over COBO/Will Call, it's also better for the environment and opens this option up to customers without printers.
If you switch on the e-tickets option, customers will see this online when they're selecting their delivery method:
This will also be reflected in the My Account page online where they can access their purchased e-tickets:
To change the option displayed online from Print at Home to e-tickets, go to Settings > Configuration > System Setup > Website. Here you can select your preferred wording:
NOTE: in both the Admin Interface and the Sales Interface, this delivery method will still be referred to as Print at Home. You'll also need to edit the emails that are sent to customers to make it clear that customers won't need to print their tickets – you can do this in the Admin Interface under Document designs > Print at Home.
If you want to change the wording used in your Order Confirmation email to reflect this change, please get in touch with our Support Team.
If you switch to using e-tickets, there are a few things you can do to make things as easy as possible for your customers.
E-tickets are built in exactly the same way as Print at Home tickets, being made up of an A4-size page per ticket and an image of a ticket design at set coordinates on the page. As you don't have to use the same ticket design that you use for printed tickets in the box office as part of your e-tickets, this gives you the flexibility to do things a little differently.
- Consider using a larger ticket design for your e-ticket; you can leave as large an area as you need for this on your PDF design, including having it take up the entirety of the A4 page:
- Your ticket design can include both a barcode and a QR code – all scanners that can read 2D barcodes will also be able to read QR codes successfully. Consider making your QR code larger so that it is easier to display full screen on a mobile device
- You may want to include instructions on your PDF template to prepare customers for the entry process. It's also a good place to remind ticket holders that they don't need to print their tickets off, but that they may need to zoom in on the ticket design on their device
- Don't forget to include the Barcode Label/QR Code Label as part of your ticket design so that your front of house team can manually enter any barcodes via a keyboard should there be any issues with scanning the barcode itself. You can add this by ticking the Show Label check box in your ticket design, as well as being able to increase the size and font of this label using the +/- buttons:
- Once you've finished your ticket design, don't forget to test it with your scanner to make sure everything is working as expected
To avoid having to manage a large, socially distanced queue of people looking to collect tickets on the night of an event, you can suppress delivery methods for customers booking online to remove the option of COBO/Will Call where other options (e.g. e-tickets and postal delivery) are available.
This can be done on a delivery method basis for all Web Ticket Types; in the Admin Interface, go to Pricing > Ticket Types and, under Web Availability, hit the Edit button, tick the Suppress if possible check box beneath the COBO column, then hit Save:
It's worth noting that you don't need to change the Always available option here; once Suppress if possible is selected, customers will only be offered COBO delivery if no other option is available to them. If you're offering e-tickets with no limit to their availability and have a PDF template and Ticket Design against every Instance, customers online will never be offered the option of COBO/Will Call delivery.
However, please be aware that this change is global: any Instances that are on sale that have a delivery method other than COBO/Will Call available will not offer COBO/Will Call as a delivery method.
As this option only refers to web availability, all delivery options will remain available in the Sales Interface, meaning COBO/Will Call remains an option for customers who aren't able to book online.
Contactless card payments are a good way of reducing contact at the Box Office when customers are making payment. The limit for these payments is now up to £100 in the UK and €50 in the Republic of Ireland, meaning that more ticket purchases will now be eligible for contactless payments.
ApplePay and Google Pay, which can also be used for contactless payments in the box office, are not subject to these limits, so should be able to be used for all purchases, regardless of value.
For security reasons, it is now only possible for major software updates to be applied to your pin pad if TMS calls are scheduled regularly on your device.
To do this, you will need to set up a Scheduled Windows Task to automate the running of TMS calls.
This is a very simple thing to set up, as the video below demonstrates. Admin rights on your PC may be required to complete this task:
This video shows the file path for VX820 pin pads. The program for P400 pin pads is "C:\sagepay\guardian\config\tmscall.vbs".
You will need to ensure your PC is switched on when the task is scheduled. It's possible to schedule the task on PC start or on user log in as well as a specific time of the day.
With social distancing in place, it may not be feasible to have a member of staff stationed as close as usual to customers when they arrive. Despite this, you may still need tickets to be scanned, as well having someone on hand to advise customers – from a distance – how to reach their seats.
Using scanners and the Spektrix Scanning Interface, you can continue to provide important information to your staff whilst they remain at a distance from the customer. There are a couple of options to consider:
If you're currently using (or planning to use) Saveo scanners, these come in two parts; the scanning unit itself and a mobile phone which acts as the screen. Using the scanner's Bluetooth connection, it's possible to separate these two parts, allowing staff members to hold the mobile phone whilst the scanner is held in a fixed stand.
Furthermore, all Saveo scanners come with two additional modes which make it straightforward for customers to scan their own tickets, without touching the scanner itself:
- Automatic Scanning Mode: detects when a barcode is placed into the unit's scanning field, then scans it
- Continuous Scanning Mode: sets the scanner to always be active, making it easy for customers to scan their own tickets
To put your scanner into these modes use the barcodes attached at the end of this article, scanning them in the following order:
- Enter Configuration
- Automatic Scanning Mode or Continuous Scanning Mode
- Exit Configuration
Once you have put your scanner into the desired mode, it will be ready to scan tickets.
If you're not currently using scanners, Saveo have introduced a new product called the Saveo Pocket Scan. This is a small handheld device that can scan and send data back to a mobile via Bluetooth. Saveo also offer a flexible arm and pouch as an accessory to the scanner to make it freestanding and allow for a completely contact-free scanning environment:
Whilst freestanding, the Pocket Scan will work using motion detection mode to read barcodes and feed the information back to a connected mobile for verification.
If you're interested in these items, please reach out to the Support team for more info.
The Spektrix Scanning Interface can also work on a laptop or desktop computer, connected to a 2D wired scanner plugged via USB. Provided you have a long enough USB cable, customers would be able to scan their own tickets with a motion-detected scanner, with a member of staff able to remain at a safe distance and read the results on a computer.
Lots of scanners with the ability to detect a barcode are available and these often come with a built-in stand to make it easy to set up. For example, the Honeywell Youjie scanner will read all 2D barcodes:
Check with the Spektrix Support Team if you're not sure whether a specific barcode reader would work.
One of the areas that can be very hard to allow social distancing is the bar – and selling drinks and snacks is a key revenue stream for many venues.
crowdEngage is a partner technology provider that provides SMS tickets to venues as another alternative to e-tickets.
As well as their existing feature for pre-ordering interval drinks, they've recently launched a new feature for real time ordering, allowing customers to place an order from your menu while they're in your venue, paying via Apple Pay (or card).
As crowdEngage integrates with the Spektrix API, this feature would have access to the customer's name and seat information; this means that, when a customer places an order on their phone, their name and location in your auditorium can be automatically sent to your bar, allowing your team to easily deliver their order to their seat. Alternatively, you could arrange to leave orders in a non-crowded area of your venue for customers to collect themselves.
You could also use crowdEngage for ice cream or programme sales on the night. Contact crowdEngage for more information or for a demo of their product.
For more information on any of the above, or if you've any other questions about contact-free ticketing and social distancing in venue, don't hesitate to contact the Spektrix Support team.