Online Ticketing A Great Success

PatronBaseAt St Andrew’s College there are a lot of ticketed events showcasing student talent and performances, from the annual Preparatory Ballet Show through to the Senior Production. On top of these, there are fundraisers, guest speakers and the upcoming Centenary celebrations in 2017, all of which require ticket design, printing and selling.

Historically, these tickets were designed in-house by our Communications team, bulk printed and then sold via the reception desk in the Secondary School. Whilst this worked, it tended to be inflexible if people wanted to change the night they were attending and it was also time consuming for reception staff showing students and parents what seats were still available and then processing the purchase of tickets.

In 2014 the College re-examined online ticket sales as an option and partnered with PatronBase, a Christchurch based company with customers throughout Australasia, the United Kingdom and Spain. We had some clear goals in mind to improve our sales of tickets to events, including:

  • The ability for students, parents and wider community members to see what events were happening at St Andrew’s, choose their preferred seats (where allocated seating was being used) and to purchase tickets online.
  • The ability to pay for tickets online using Visa or MasterCard.
  • Customers to be able to print their tickets at home and for reception staff to be able to print tickets on a “as needed” basis.
  • Event organisers to be able to see very accurately how many tickets were sold/remaining
  • Accurate reporting at the conclusion of an event for reconciliation of payments and disbursement of funds.

The team at PatronBase worked hard to help create a custom skin that accurately matched our College branding and also supported the technical requirements for connecting with BNZ’s BuyLine product for processing online credit card payments.

The PatronBase hosted solution for online ticketing accurately reflects the St Andrew's College branding.

The PatronBase hosted solution for online ticketing accurately reflects the St Andrew’s College branding.

guys and dollsA decision was made to trial the PatronBase system with the 2014 Senior Production of Guys and Dolls with tickets being available for sale online for the first time ever, as well as via the “Box Office” in the College reception. The ability to sell tickets both online and via the reception was a real advantage over the previous ticket system used and reception staff were confident that tickets were never going to be accidentally sold twice.

Furthermore, because tickets could be re-printed as needed, it did not matter if a customer changed their mind about the night they wished to attend a performance, because the tickets could easily be transferred with new tickets being printed and the original seats being released for other customers to purchase.

The “Box Office” view on the left used by Reception staff to see status of available seats and the corresponding web view to parents at home allowing them to choose their preferred seats.

As can be seen from the above images, the seating layout from the College Theatre could be recreated in PatronBase allowing allocated seating to be selected by students and parents. However, after the initial success of online sales for Guys and Dolls other events in different venues were also sold via the new ticketing system, including:

Parent response to the new system has been incredibly positive, such as this unsolicited feedback we received:

The new ticketing system is really great. It is great to be able to purchase with a credit card and to have a choice of whether to print or collect tickets.

When booking shows in the theatrette it was fantastic to be able to choose your own seats and it was very easy to use. It really was great to be able to see exactly where you would be sitting.

Keeping the self print tickets simple is good. I have had to print out tickets from other places before and they have wasted so much ink printing fancy pictures. 

Your ticketing system is excellent.

A selection of shows through PatronBase with the online sales clearly proving popular

A selection of shows through PatronBase with the online sales clearly proving popular

The ease and convenience of purchasing tickets online is evident from the table on the right, and this encouraged the College to explore other possibilities with PatronBase such as sales of the fundraising recipe book “Recipes From The Tartan Kitchen“. This book, sold to raise funds for the new College Chapel, was launched in late 2014 with the accompanying promotional video:

Since then, 150 copies of the book have been sold through the PatronBase system, often by Old Collegians overseas who wish to have the book couriered directly to them.

A more recent form of fundraising online came after the devastating Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu. A full blog was written about this that you can read here, and at the time of writing donations during the sale of tickets to UrineTown and Style at StAC are approaching $1000 for Onesua Presbyterian College in north-east Efate,Vanuatu.

Finally, the Old Collegians Association of St Andrew’s College, having seen the value of online ticket sales, will soon be using PatronBase as well for all their ticketed events and reunions. A custom theme is being developed to match the branding of the Old Collegians and then tickets will be available for all events.

With an eye to the future, having run over 15 ticketed events through PatronBase over the last 12 months, the system will definitely be used for managing ticket sales for the 2017 St Andrew’s College Centenary. It is pleasing to be able to deliver an improved service to students and parents that makes the purchase and attendance of ticketed events at the College so much simpler and easier.

Exploring St Andrew’s College Through Virtual Tours

The desire to showcase the beautiful St Andrew’s College campus and facilities was behind the initiative by Francesca Eathorne (Head of Communications / Strategic Analyst) to engage with Google Photographers to create a number of virtual tours.

With a strong tradition of boarding at St Andrew’s, along with growing numbers of international students, not all parents or prospective students could come for a tour on site with the College Registrar. These tours helped bridge that gap in ways traditional printed media could not. By clicking on the images below, you can navigate through the new Boarding Houses opened by John Key in 2013:

Thompson & Rutherford Boarding Houses:

Additionally, the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010-11 impacted significantly on many schools, with various rebuilding projects underway.  The new Preparatory School buildings had actually been completed just before the earthquakes, and were officially opened by the Governor General Sir Jerry Mataparae in early 2012. This building had survived the quakes very well and can be virtually “walked through” here:

The Preparatory School:

Whilst St Andrew’s College has students from Years 1-13, the Preparatory School and Pre-School are quite self-contained, separate from the older students whilst still being part of the same campus. Choosing to have a Google walkthrough for the Pre-School helped highlight the special environments these students enjoy:

The Pre-School:

Some of the factors that influenced the decision to go with Google included:

  • Their standard of work was very high, and the initial tours they had done in the Boarding Houses were excellent.
  • We could embed the tours directly into our online platforms (as I have done in this blog post) so they were very accessible to our community.
  • They are dynamic – the user can choose where they wish to navigate to and are not restrained by a rotating 360 degree view only – this encourages them to interact with the tour, as if they were actually walking around the campus and exploring the buildings.
  • The ability to split the tours into different sections, rather than have one long tour you had to navigate around. This way you can easily go straight to the area or building of interest.

Strowan House & The Quad:

One of the decisions Ms Eathorne had to make was whether to include students in the tours. Case studies had suggested that virtual tours should include members of the school population to make it more realistic, but in the end she decided not to as it was more in keeping with the College policy of managing student image consent.

These tours are a great example of using technology to promote the College to a wider audience. Perhaps less formal ways to explore the campus have been created by our Prefects over the last two years, including the Giant Thistle:

This was inspired by the hugely successful “This is Us” lipdup video that toured the majority of the campus and involved hundreds of students performing in various ways: