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As many states and municipalities are taking a phased approach to re-opening, now is the time to think about ways in which you can make your venue and events entertaining and safe. We’ve put together several ideas and compiled resources we hope you find helpful.


Encourage Touchless Ticketing

Leverage the technology at your disposal to minimize points of contact, while still getting your fans in the doors. There are several ways to use self-scanning options and maintain a contact-free box office:

  • Use handheld scanners to validate tickets? Most scanners have an “Always – On” or an “Auto-Activate” mode so that your patrons can scan tickets themselves.
  • Promote mobile ticketing purchase, where patrons can buy tickets efficiently in a few simple steps, and scan their phones instead of paper tickets.
  • Use a mobile scanning app secured to a flat surface and have it in always-on mode.
  • Create a QR Code for ticket purchases and print directly from Etix, using signage to create your touchless box office.
  • Set up a “purchase and validate” in your point-of-sale system to eliminate the need for a scanner for walk-up sales.
  • Kiosks are also a great option for walk-ups: Fans can purchase and redeem tickets on the spot (just make sure to have sanitizing materials nearby for quick cleaning).
Image shows four iPhone screens that depict the purchase process of tickets on a mobile device, using the Etix system.

Rethink Your Seating (or Standing), Venue Entrances and Exits

Consider setting up sections to provide social distancing guidelines, whether it’s blocking off rows or sections, using folding chairs or boxes to create divisions, or even taping areas on the floor. You can then set up discrete ticketing for each of these spaces, and use blocks and holds to ensure that you don’t go over capacity. Even general admission audience spaces can be set up to allow patrons to safely congregate by ticketing separate sections of your venue.

Image shows a venue seating arrangement and box office set-up where available seats are alternating, to promote social distancing.

Note: Make sure to show these “safe spaces” on your seating charts to reassure your guests that they’re not entering a packed house.

Timed entry isn’t just for museums and special exhibitions anymore, and Etix has been a leader in refining and perfecting timed entry solutions. Think about using it for both entry and exit, especially if you’ve set up specific sections within your venue for patrons to sit or stand. One option we’ve heard about is to employ airplane-style entry and exit, with one row or section of guests moving at a time.

Image presents an iPad showing an event for a venue that has staggered timed entry availability for ticket puchasing.

Send A Clear Message

When it comes to your health and safety practices, be sure you’re communicating clearly to your guests in as much detail and across as many mediums as possible. Make sure you include not only safety policies, but also your sanitation procedures, and—last but certainly not least—refund, rescheduling, and cancellation details. Transparency is key to ensuring happy guests.

  • Consider social distancing messaging in pre-show emails, day-of-show information, and even in post-show follow-ups for future events. (Etix’s built-in guest email feature makes this step quick and easy.)
  • If you use social media to promote your events, consider targeted posts for your ticket purchasers, and make sure your home pages and event pages include links to your practices.
  • Don’t forget your website! Having an FAQ or a section outlining your safety policies goes a long way toward reassuring your guests, making sure it’s clear, concise, and easy to find.
  • Signage in and around your venue is also a good way to reinforce what you’ve already communicated. Don’t have enough room to include all the details? Use a QR code that your guests can scan that links to your website or social media pages.
Image shows a generic laptop and browser with an example of a live-streamed video playing in the browser.

Consider Alternate Performances

Not ready to have people in your venue yet? Think about some of these innovative ideas our clients have tried:

  • Sell tickets to live-streamed events in your (crowd-free) venue.
  • Host drive-in theater-style performances in your parking area and scan tickets through the car window.
  • Offer live-streamed behind-the-scenes tours or access to the parts of venues most guests don’t see.
  • Sell memberships, vouchers, or special packages for future events. You can even offer these in exchange for canceled performances.
  • Set up an online donation box in your checkout process or on your website (or both!).

Looking for More Resources? 

Our team has compiled information from industry resources across the country. 

  • INTIX (International Ticketing Association) Ticket Life with COVID-19 is a forum for open conversation within the ticketing profession.
  • IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers) Coronavirus Updates – Their site includes town hall discussions by vertical, online learning courses, happy hour opportunities by vertical and additional articles for reference.
  • FutureTix Updates and Best Practices is a discussion board where you can find or post updates, ask best practices questions, and more surrounding COVID-19 as it relates to live entertainment.
  • IAFE (International Association of Fairs & Expositions) Communicable Disease Resources offers reopening guides, CDC fact sheets, World Health Organization documents, and more.
  • APAP (Association of Performing Arts Professionals) Resources for COVID-19 includes congressional action updates, webinars, and emergency funding information.
  • Fest Forums is hosting weekly COVID-19 livestreams on its Facebook page.
  • ESA (Event Safety Alliance) Reopening Guide for event professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) industry news covering the current state of independent venues as well as ways in which to navigate aid and relief funding sources.

Special thanks to Etix Director of Sales Todd Pryor and our amazing Etix University Training Team for providing information and resources used in this article.