Years ago, I tried to convince a beer festival client to use online ticketing. At the time, the client was manually processing thousands of ticket orders through PayPal.
Each year, it took between 30-40 hours to manually fulfill all the ticket orders. All the ticket fulfillment work was relegated to one staff member. Not exactly time efficient and that person was less than thrilled! Have you ever addressed by hand and stuffed thousands of postal envelopes? Not fun!
At the same time, other clients had begun to migrate and embrace online ticket sales. So, I tried yet again to convince my beer festival client to sell tickets online. After numerous conversations, they begrudgingly conceded.
Also, the client put a huge stipulation on me, "Eugene, I want you to guarantee me that there isn't going to be any problems with online ticket sales." It was undoubtedly an unusual request. Nobody can guarantee that which they don't have absolute control over.
If someone gave you the stipulation above, how would you respond?
My response, "FIRSTNAME, I can guarantee you that something will go wrong with online ticketing. I also guarantee that I will be there to support you when something goes wrong."
Sure enough, there was a major online ticketing issue at the beer festival. We didn't discover the problem until customers started to be scanned into the event.
What was the issue?
There were hundreds of tickets with duplicate barcodes. After the first valid ticket was scanned, subsequent ticket holders were flagged with a big red "X" and the message: "INVALID TICKET – Already Scanned!"
(After the first few ticket scanning errors, the ticketing company insisted ... "that's impossible, the system is specifically designed not duplicate customer barcodes!" Until the error happened with dozens of additional tickets. Yet another reason why I don't trust ticketing companies.)
Fortunately, the client and I quickly ... and calmly ... created an on-site solution. Few, if any, customers were even aware of the problem. That's precisely how it should be!
That said, the one thing guaranteed at your event - something is going to go wrong!
It could be inconsequential or something significant. Having been through the full spectrum of issues, including watching a friend die at an event, it's essential to ask ... "Are you prepared when the $hit hits the fan at your event?"
Regardless of what happens, how you and your team handle a situation is paramount.
Obviously, you should have a well thought out contingency plan for major issues. Unfortunately, you can't plan a contingency for every possible scenario. It's not practical, and there aren't enough hours in the day.
What can you do?
You and your team can plan to stay calm regardless of circumstance. Don't let adrenaline induced emotions get in the way of making logical decisions. For most, staying calm despite the chaos is a learned skill. The best event organizers I know stay unusually calm, regardless of circumstance. You can do the same!
Here are some additional event promotion resources: