Today, the eTicketing entertainment industry has developed algorithms that translate venue maps into uniformly spaced seating charts, often referred to as checkerboard seating. However, social distancing in venue maps is not a panacea; if it were, live events would be back already.
Organising live events in a post-pandemic world can be hindered as much as it can be helped by its impact on ticket inventory. Many other aspects must be considered in addition to capacity and sales. Given below are a few points that you may have to consider while adopting social distancing with eTicketing:
How Venue Mapping Tools Can Facilitate Social Distancing
Whilst restricting seating is necessary for safety reasons, it also has an impact on other areas. Similarly, incorporating social distancing requires both technology and extensive operations work. The ticketing platforms and the vendors of venue mapping/seat selection have already launched ways to generate venue maps that show seating spaced out in a variety of configurations.
Some services use algorithms to calculate how many rows are required between patrons to maintain six feet of distance based on the rise between rows. The steeper the rise, the more space can be available between patrons, since additional physical distance can be built into the existing row configuration.
Aside from that, venue mapping tools (VMTs) have been modified to create social distanced seating in a variety of ways. Here are a few:
- Capacity Percentage: It is also beneficial to the venue because they can start planning other event logistics earlier. In the event they are concerned about patrons moving, they know what seats they can physically block. Moreover, the venue knows what 25% capacity represents in reality. Having a full set-up venue however means that, for instance, patrons from the same household attending an event in a pair may be required to purchase a group of seats. Guidelines for social distancing would require venues to sell the seats as a group instead of just the two desired.
- Best Fit: Another social distance method incorporates algorithms based on best fit at the time of seat selection. All the adjacent seats are blocked once a patron has chosen their seat to maintain social distance between them and others. Seats around purchased seats may be arranged in rows or arranged around the seats based on the layout or type of venue. Due to the system’s tracking of all seats being in carts and blocking of seats in real-time, those seats become unavailable to the next patron.
- Historical Data: Using historical data is yet another method for generating social distanced seating. Organisers can estimate how many seating groups might be required based on data collected from previously held events with similar features but without social distancing. When the venue map is generated, the VMT takes these data into account. Similarly, if the venue can only sell 25% of the seats to maintain a safe socially distanced event, then the new map would reflect the number of tickets sold previously.
The organization should consider different aspects of event planning within the context of social distance from both the employee as well as the customer perspective. Here are a few questions, which, however, may vary according to the event, venue and audience:
- Parking: If a venue has a garage or parking area, must vehicles be parked in every other space to meet social distancing guidelines? Even more popular than the game itself, tailgating can sometimes be a part of sporting events. How do you deal with social distancing in this circumstance?
- Security: Organizers often mention their need for more staff at events. Often, that staff consists of volunteers. What degree of risk are you willing to expose them to? When dealing with unruly customers, how should you direct them? When staffing costs increase, how does this impact event profitability?
- Entry: What is the plan regarding access control, from both the standpoint of patrons and employees? It has proven beneficial for many venues to provide timed entry for controlled entry during spaces of time. Whether or not timed entry is implemented depends on the location and staffing.
- Payment: A growing number of businesses are adopting contactless transactions. Event organizers and eTicketing platforms can offer patrons options that include accepting mobile phone transactions onsite or using physical kiosks. However, in some locations, accepting cash is required by law.
- Social distancing enforcement: The question is how to apply the concept of social distancing not just to venues, but also to concessions, restrooms, and other areas? Many retail stores have stickers or tape to show patrons how far apart to stand. As a result, fewer people can queue. Nonetheless, the situation may balance out.
- Seating levels: With different seating levels, how are venues able to account for social distancing? Where, for instance, balconies extend over orchestra seats, how can you ensure their safety?
- Cleanliness: Is there a way to enforce and maintain cleanliness standards? Venues may have to change their internal infrastructure to maintain stricter standards. As a result, this may reduce the number of events that can be held at a venue, as the time slots for shows would need to be further spaced out to accommodate deep cleaning between them.
O-City is a future-proof platform, which enables users to modify the number of seats or eTickets, price, and track historical information on bookings through designated applications. Meanwhile, the O-City open architecture also allows users to integrate with third-party services, enabling a single payment experience, with clearing, settlement and complete transparency for all parties.