Damn You Alex Ross!

For years now, I’ve been enjoying the benefits of seatguru.com, which until it was picked up by TripAdvisor.com in 2007, was a fairly well kept secret. After that, the associated spike in traffic meant more travelers with inside info but for whatever reason, the handful of business colleagues I tipped off to seatguru had never heard of it before. Well, that’s all gone now since cultural uber-blogger Alex Ross posted a little something in praise of the service a few days ago at The Rest Is Noise

exclamation markIn all seriousness though, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have a similar service for performing arts venues throughout the country. The more I think about it, the more it comes across as a win-win-win scenario.

For one, it would be a great sales and research tool for venue managers. Second, it would help concert-going newbies get a sense of where they might want to sit (especially when combined with a good hall preview seating chart feature). Next, regular concertgoers who already have a good idea about what they do and don’t like in a seat will have an easier time finding something they prefer when visiting unknown venues.

A quick spin around Google didn’t turn up much along the lines of concert hall seat reviews but it likely wouldn’t take a great deal of effort to put something like this together. Are there any programming majors out there looking for a weekend project?

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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2 thoughts on “Damn You Alex Ross!”

  1. Love this idea, Drew.
    On Tuesday I saw Inherit the Wind with Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic in London. Their online ticket reservation page (powered by Ambassador Tickets) has a kind of built-in seat guru–full disclosure on column locations, potential of need to lean toward the balcony rail to see the action, etc. It keeps their ticket holders’ expectations managed effectively, I’m sure.

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