7 min

Do you know all the guests who enter your venue?

You probably capture the names and contact information for your ticket buyers. But what about all your other audience members? In an ideal world, you’d collect this information for every guest. But even with robust customer relationship management, there still can be gaps in your audience data. 

From the moment a ticket is purchased to the moment it is scanned for entry, the person holding that ticket can easily change. Whether given to a friend or sold to a stranger, tickets move around. Is the person who purchased the ticket the same person who walked in the door?

Many arts and culture organizations estimate they know about a third of their audience. Getting to know this remaining shadow audience can be a challenge.

Enhancing the digital ticketing experience with the right partners can allow arts and culture organizations to mitigate fraud, improve customer service and market to new audiences.

“We really wanted to take control of ticket distribution.”

Get to know your entire audience

Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, and Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, are among the many organizations making the switch to secure digital tickets. Both use Tessitura for their CRM and ticketing needs. They also opted to work with True Tickets, a Tessitura partner, because of the company’s unique approach to digital ticket delivery, which reveals shadow audiences.

Tiffin Feltner headshot

Tiffin Feltner

“We needed the ability to deliver secure digital tickets, help us fight bad actors in the resale market, fight against chargebacks and understand who is in our venue at any time,” said Tiffin Feltner, Director of Ticketing for Walton Arts Center.

Consider the patrons in your venue who don’t currently have an account with you. Why aren’t they in your database? Perhaps they were gifted a physical ticket or forwarded a PDF.

At Walton Arts Center, which operates a 1,200-seat proscenium theater and a black-box theater in Fayetteville, and the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion, an 11,000-capacity amphitheater in Rogers, both scenarios made it difficult to determine who actually attended their events.

“We really wanted to take control of ticket distribution. We realized we had very little control over our PDF and paper tickets once they left our hands,” Tiffin said.

Families enjoy lawn seating at the Walmart AMP in Rogers, Ark.

Families enjoy lawn seating at the Walmart AMP in Rogers, Arkansas.

Transitioning to digital tickets with True Tickets allowed the organization to gather more data. Before a ticket is transferred, new guests must create an account with their name and contact information. That information is then directly fed into Tessitura via True Tickets.

The center can pinpoint the ownership of the ticket at all times. From the time they launched digital ticketing in March 2023, Walton Arts Center has registered more than 36,000 new customer accounts.  

Turn your shadow audience into repeat buyers

Lisa Middleton headshot

Lisa Middleton

Now that you know who’s coming to your venue, how do you ensure these visitors come back?

With digital ticketing unveiling their shadow audience, Segerstrom Center for the Arts now reaches these guests directly. They can market to more individuals who attended their shows and incentivize return visits.

The center includes new digital ticketing contacts in onboarding emails and marketing campaigns. Since ticket transactions are recorded in real time, post-show email automation is also seamless. They can send surveys, thank-yous and offers to more event attendees, instead of just to original ticket buyers.

Between the summers of 2022 and 2023, Segerstrom Center added more than 22,000 new accounts to its database. With direct outreach, thousands have returned. “They have bought 3,300 tickets for over $300,000,” Lisa Middleton, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, reflected. “We are thrilled.”

Audience enjoying live performance of Pretty Woman: The Musical

Audiences enjoy a live performance at Segerstrom Hall. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

Protect your patrons

Modernizing your organization’s ticket delivery can also be a vital tool in reducing ticket fraud and chargebacks.

Digital tickets not only allow you to track the entire transaction history. They also can provide added layers of security.

True Tickets offers dynamic QR codes that refresh every 30 seconds. This means duplicating tickets and taking screenshots aren't options, leaving scammers at a major disadvantage. 

“Our patrons now know what a legitimate ticket looks like.”

With the transition to digital tickets, there was an immediate decrease in fraudulent activity at the Walmart AMP. Of their two most popular concerts in 2023, they reported less than 15 invalid tickets.

“Our patrons now know what a legitimate ticket looks like,” Tiffin said.

Another security feature that Segerstrom Center for the Arts uses is share restrictions. “There are rules you can put in place that limit a ticket’s shareability,” Lisa said. That makes it easier to ensure specific ticket types aren’t distributed beyond their intended audience.

Save time, money and resources

In addition to the audience development and safety features, using digital tickets resulted in considerable time savings for the Walmart AMP’s box office team. 

At recent concerts, they’ve said goodbye to the line of people at their box office on show night who swore they bought real tickets. “We used to have lines out to the street,” Tiffin said. “Now those numbers are much more manageable.” 

This resulted in a smoother front-of-house experience for their 2023 season opener — a sold-out Tyler Childers concert. “We only had two fraudulent tickets show up,” Tiffin said. “We converted everything to digital ticket delivery and did not look back. When the time came, we watched 11,000 people walk through our gates with no fuss, no chaos and no heartache.”

Digital ticketing also saves the center money and resources. Not only are paper and ticket stock expensive, but they can create unnecessary waste. In their 2023 fiscal year, Walton Arts Center budgeted over $100,000 for postage, supplies and stationery related to mailing printed tickets for their venues. With the move to digital tickets, they drastically reduced that spend. Going digital saved the organization over 80% of its original budget.

Digital tickets make concert entry a breeze at the Walmart AMP

Digital tickets make concert entry a breeze at the Walmart AMP.

Transition your delivery seamlessly

While it can be tricky to teach your audience a new way of doing things, it doesn’t need to be harrowing.

When Segerstrom Center introduced electronic ticketing, some guests were wary about the switch. 

“As we started to roll it out, visitors told us they were apprehensive about the change, but that it turned out to be so much better not having a paper ticket,” Lisa said.

Educating your visitors can help assuage initial skepticism. Lisa’s team created a three-step instructional video to show guests how to access their tickets with ease. The center also created a video laying out the ticket-sharing process, a feature that has now been used over 40,000 times since launching in 2022. 

Tiffin also has seen a positive adoption among the Walmart AMP’s audience, with an average ticket share rate of 31% per concert. The value of digitizing ticket delivery far outweighed the effort spent educating their audiences on the new process.

Digital ticketing empowers you to know and grow your audience, protect your patrons and build your business, according to Kirk Mortensen, True Tickets’ Head of Product. “The benefits are clear,” he said.

“For every 1,000 tickets you deliver, you can expect to see 60-150 new names in your database,” Kirk said. “That can easily add up to thousands or tens of thousands of new opportunities to cultivate — a repeat buyer, a donor, a champion for your organization.”

Digital ticketing empowers you to know and grow your audience, protect your patrons and build your business.

Looking to get started with digital ticketing in Tessitura? Check out our documentation. Want to enhance the digital ticketing experience with True Tickets? Visit their website.

Top photo of couple scanning tickets to enter Segerstrom Hall by Todd Rosenberg.


Arts & Culture




Ticketing & Admissions


Audience Development

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