“Etix’s ticketing system and subscription package offerings are very clear and very user-friendly for both patrons and for us on the back end.”
Marty Elliott, General Manager at the Miller Theater
Augusta, Georgia’s Miller Theater is a 1300-capacity venue that began as a movie theatre and vaudeville house in 1940. Forced to close in the mid-80s because of an economic downturn, the theater remained dormant until 2005, when a concerted effort began to revive the Art Deco classic. After many years of fundraising and countless renovation initiatives, the Miller Theater successfully re-opened in January 2018. General Manager Marty Elliott and Box Office Manager Katherine Garcia are part of the dedicated team who helped bring the Miller back to life and are charged with ensuring the theater’s ongoing success.
The Miller Theater team faced multiple challenges as they planned for their long-awaited re-launch and subsequent 2018 concert season. The theater is home to the Augusta Symphony, so Marty, Katherine, and team needed to ensure a smooth inaugural event that provided VIP attendees (and renovation project donors) a spectacular experience.
They were also faced with a daunting renewal process: The Augusta Symphony offers three different subscription series and multiple smaller packages that are scaled differently based on the performances. Prior to using Etix, the renewal process took months and a lot of manual entry, and they hoped to simplify this system.
Marty and Katherine also needed a flexible and versatile ticketing system capable of supporting multiple live events and varied promoters’ needs, since the Miller Theater would be used for a variety of events year-round in addition to symphony performances.
Marty and her team chose Etix based on three factors: people, marketing support, and versatility of the system. She commented, “Etix has a great reputation, and their willingness to invest in our marketing platform was a big part of our decision.”
Tickets went on sale in July 2017 for the January 2018 launch event. Etix worked closely with Marty and Katherine to ensure seat maps created within the Etix system perfectly matched the architectural renderings. The Etix team also ensured seamless ticket printing and creation of Founder’s Room membership cards, as well as provided marketing support by Rockhouse Partners, Etix’s in-house digital marketing agency. The Etix sales team, client success manager, and marketing team were there to lend their support, every step of the way.
The Augusta Symphony launch event at the Miller Theater sold out within the first two weeks of on-sale and resulted in 1300 happy patrons. As Marty recalled, “[The inaugural event] was a dream come true for so many people who had put blood, sweat, and years into this effort … it resulted in beautiful, orchestrated perfection at the gala event.”
With Etix’s subscription renewal system, the Miller Theater team was able to cut down their member renewal process time by over 50%. Katherine Garcia added, “We had an incredible renewal process; everything was in the system that we needed to run our programs, and patrons could renew online. It’s been truly groundbreaking for us.”
By implementing a streamlined renewal system, Katherine and her team were able to focus more on patron experiences instead of processing orders and grow their renewals in the process.
Etix has also been key in supporting the Miller Theater with non-symphony events. They have 25 events currently on sale with 10 more in the works, and a goal of 100 events for 2018. Katherine praised the Etix reporting system for efficiently ensuring all performances are accurate: “I can check and double check and run a variety of reports to ensure smooth on-sales.”
The Miller Theater team also appreciated the versatility of the Etix platform, as they continue work with multiple promoters who have different reporting needs and interests. “Etix is a good partner to ensure everyone gets information the way they want it, and are able to have conversations with us anytime we need them,” said Katherine.
The Miller Theater team also relies on the Etix Customer Support Center to manage heavy volume situations. A recent pre-sale sold 500 tickets (nearly 50% of their venue capacity), which the team asserted that they would not have been able to handle as easily without Etix.
Client Hints and Tips
Both Marty and Katherine advise that any Etix client should leverage the depth of Etix resources (both human and online) at the first opportunity. They also recommend that clients utilize the nearly 200 reports that Etix offers to give the full picture of an event before, during and after an on-sale. “Every time you make a change, something could affect your event,” Katherine recommended. “Use reports to verify that you have everything set up right on the front end.”
Both Marty and Katherine agree that the Etix University online knowledge base has been incredibly helpful in enabling them to become self-sufficient and praise it for the extensive amount of information available at their fingertips. Katherine commented, “I’ve used knowledge base videos to teach myself. It’s helpful to be able to watch and work at the same time.”
By combining a robust ticketing system capable of handling a variety of events with hands-on personal service, Etix and the Miller Theater’s ongoing partnership will ensure the venue’s success for years to come. As Marty Elliott stated, “[Etix Sales Director] Dennis [Scanlon] and his team come with experience from other venues, so they consistently jump right in and help steer us in the right direction.”