When Was The Last Time You Trusted An Organization To Pick Your “Best Seats Available”

Anyone who has purchased a choose-your-own seat ticket to a performing arts event has probably seen the obligatory “Best Seats Available” option.

In theory, its purpose is to assist ticket buyers who aren’t familiar with the venue to select good seats, but the reality is it’s a way to push seats an organization wants to unload or to keep people from being spread out too much in an undersold hall.

From that perspective, it’s fair to call them “best seats” but they’re probably best for the organization and not necessarily the ticket buyer.

And while we all want to see record levels of new ticket buyers in the hall, one of the very real barriers preventing them from converting are the unknowns about the venue and how overwhelming it can feel when there are hundreds of seat choices with a half dozen or more price points.

What I’m curious to know is if you’ve ever encountered an online ticket buying experience that provided a way to find seats based on criteria you found important, without the assistance of a chatbot or human customer service rep. If so, weigh in with a comment here or on social media.

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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