Large dinners and balls are essential fundraisers for many Australian charities. So the ticketing and seating arrangements, two time-consuming jobs, must be managed carefully to ensure an exceptional experience for all guests.
In 2009, Tuxedo Junction found a much easier way to ticket their "Get Happy!" ball for 365 people and still maintain the high quality, personal approach that is so valued by their guests.
A hugely successful charity ball, Tuxedo Junction has been raising funds for Cancer Council Victoria since 2007. In addition to being a major fundraiser, the annual event encourages people to stay committed to cancer research and the support of people affected by cancer.
As the event's producer, Kate Bonser is ultimately responsible for marketing, sponsorship, ticketing, entertainment and auctions for this 1940's style grand ball.
For the first two years, Kate spent a lot of time on ticketing. Manually ticketing the ball involved multiple steps, cross checks and trips to the bank. "Doing it manually wasn't overly complicated but it was incredibly labour intensive." explained Kate.
Coming from a theatre background, Kate was aware that online ticketing could make her job much easier.
"I looked at several ticketing options, but the problem was that most of them were complicated and expensive. I needed a simple structure with scalable functionality that would deliver a high level of quality."
"Someone at The Cancer Council recommended TryBooking and when I looked into it, I quickly found it was the right fit. It had all the flexibility at the right price."
Kate also looked for an organisation that wanted to work with her. "I got the impression that some ticketing companies felt that because we are a charity that they were doing us a favour if they took our business. I really felt like TryBooking were our partners in this event and they wanted to work with us."
"I love the fact that they answer the phone, they are always happy, friendly and no question is stupid. It's very comforting when you're running a big event."
Kate and her team reduced their workload in several ways. About 60% of sales went through TryBooking in 2009 and any phone sales were simply entered into TryBooking by The Cancer Council so tickets could be automatically emailed to guests.
"Without a doubt TryBooking saved a lot of time. It really streamlined the process. When I look back on the old way of ticketing I think I must have been crazy!"
TryBooking Reports saved Kate even more time. Not only could she track sales, she eliminated hours previously spent on financial statements for her board.
"I couldn't stay off the reports. It was very exciting to watch the sales graph go up and up. I remember one morning checking sales and thinking ‘I sold tickets last night while I was asleep and didn't have to do anything!'"
"My board really loves the reports! We have to be very transparent about all funds and I am absolutely accountable for every cent. My board needs to be very clear about where money is coming from and where it is going out. I virtually eliminated all that bookkeeping labour. Now with the press of a button I get a report that makes my board members smile."
Kate immediately recognised another valuable aspect of collecting customer data online.
"It was brilliant to dump csv into Excel and quickly pass our customer data onto my Sales Manager. She's got all the details for her follow up calls; including food preferences, how many tickets they bought and where they sat. Now she can talk to guests in a knowledgeable way that makes them feel ‘known' and important to us. People feel special and it makes next year's ticket sales that much easier."
In conclusion Kate summarised: "As an event organiser it is important to me that every contact people have with our event is exceptional. If, from the moment people buy their tickets, they have a feeling about the quality of our event; it's off to a better start. TryBooking helped us get that right start. It is a simple, secure and incredibly helpful way of making the event much more manageable."