For the second installment of Tech for Theater Makers we chatted with Christopher Ashworth founder of Tixato, an online ticketing system built with theater makers in mind. (He also gave us a sneak peek at new features and enhancements coming soon. Screen shots below!)
What is Tixato?
Tixato is a fast, friendly way to run your box office and sell tickets.
For patrons, Tixato is the easiest and most pleasant way to buy a ticket to see a show. There are no surprise fees, and the checkout process is quick and painless. Tixato doesn't make people sign up for an account just to buy a ticket. It doesn't make them click through ten pages of ugly and confusing forms. It's just simple and fast.
For theaters, Tixato is the best way to manage your box office. It pulls everything into a single, elegant tool which doesn't take weeks of training to use. We've included online ticket sales, season subscriptions and memberships, coupon codes, a sophisticated box office interface, ticket collection, patron CRM, and reporting tools. We've left out all the nasty stuff like long-term contracts, high fees, or a difficult signup process. You can literally sign up and start selling tickets in a few minutes, and there is no cost to use it until or unless you are processing credit cards.
How did you come up with the idea for Tixato?
We got the idea simply from going to shows and talking to our friends. There are several dozen products out there for selling tickets online, and they're almost all terrible. I'd sit there wanting to buy a single ticket to my friend's show, and it would take me 15 minutes to do it. It's just a horrible experience to force people to go through every time they want to see your show.
When I started talking to my friends who manage theaters, they told me that the management side of these products is even worse than the patron side. Getting basic information about your patrons, running basic reports, is often difficult or impossible. Or the ticket sales database is not integrated with the patron database, which is just insane. Beyond the software, theaters are often forced to sign up for multi-year contracts, and often receive very poor support.
We know we can do better. This stuff should not be something you dread using. Frankly, I think it should be fun. People have learned to fear it because the tools are so bad. We're changing that.
Any success stories from theater makers using Tixato?
Tixato is a young product, but we've been really encouraged by the reports we've heard back so far. Last week one of our venues told us, "We had a guest last night say that the online purchase interface was the easiest way I have bought tickets to ANY theater show all year."
That made us feel great, and that we're on the right track.
Any plans for enhancements or new features?
Many plans! As I said, Tixato is still a young product. Every day we're pushing it forward, taking feedback from our venues about what needs to be improved, and working very hard to improve it.
We'll often release several enhancements in a week, because we deploy small updates quickly and regularly.
In the long term, we've had many requests to support seating charts. Right now we only support general admission style venues, but many venues have said they're ready to use it as soon as we add assigned seating. So that's definitely on the radar.
And for fun, have you ever been in or involved with a production?
Not yet, but most of the theaters in Baltimore are either using it now or moving to use it soon, so there's a chance.
It took me about five years to get involved with a production using QLab, so I'm in no rush.
SNEAK PEEK below! (These enhancements will be coming to Tixato soon.)