Film Festival Ticketing Software
Ferve Ticketing software for film festivals comprises a comprehensive set of applications for film festivals. The power of film continues to enthral audiences in much the same way since moving pictures were first sold by the Lumière brothers in Paris in 1895. Thankfully though, the technology to sell these pictures has substantially improved! This article helps lay out some of the things you should consider when planning a film festival ticketing experience to help expand the sale of cinema arts & culture in festival environments.
With features tailored to meet the unique needs of film festival organizers, Ferve Tickets offers an efficient ticketing experience for film festival organizations and their attendees. We’ve worked for a long time on helping organizers maximize their audience growth and retention year on year, which is evident in both our long term client base, and their sales performances over many years.
With Ferve Ticketing Software, film festivals can offer an accessible and enjoyable experience for attendees while efficiently managing ticketing operations. Keep reading to learn more about how we approach film festivals with our system.
Features every Film Festival needs
(But you didn’t know you did to run successful events at scale)
Your current film festival software might not be up to scratch, and it might seem daunting to contemplate a switch – but you’ll be glad you did 🙂 Highly profitable events need simple, seamless and highly scalable film festival software to help leverage modern buyer behaviour and save you labor costs, no matter if you’re a film festival, a niche seller of asian cinema, a film maker or even an open air/drive-in cinema.
Ferve Tickets has literally spent 20+ years working on a system that provides the opportunity for festivals to grow and scale, without a lot of the pains of doing so. This combination
Sydney Film Festival (Australia) started working with Ferve Tickets in 2010. Over the next 10 years our system helped grow the audience 184%. This was due to a variety of factors, including:
- A shopping cart. Yes, let me say that again. A shopping cart – where you can purchase more than one event at a time. It’s not rocket science, but unfortunately many ticketing companies don’t actually have one. Our data indicates people on average go through the checkout about 2.3 times before they’ve had enough and don’t want to purchase any more. Having a shopping cart when you have multiple items on sale can boost sales by about 30% in your first year – we’ve seen this happen dozens of times with new clients that had a single event at a time previously.
- Flexible passes being available where you could book 10, 20 or 30 films with up to 4 tickets per session.
- Subscriptions allowing customers to be allocated a suite of films (around 30) in a large theatre with the same seat for all the sessions.
- Rock solid scanning of tickets easy enough to use for large volunteer workforce (around 200).
- Point of Sale software technology installed by Ferve in around 10 venues for the festival, simplifying operational processes.
- Use of uploads to simplify data loading, comp ticket distribution, and promotional activity across feature film sessions.
- Use of Google Analytics to refine and hone social media spend.
- Use of email marketing and data ownership within the festival to cheaply and effectively grow sales amongst a committed fan base.
Your online sales have to be super efficient. Gone are the days where you could expect people to stand in line to purchase at the counter. Some key considerations in online sales are:
- Allowing Allocated and General Admission seating (or combinations thereof) across sessions.
- Mobile devices can be used as easily as desktops – many clients see mobile purchase rates as high as 75% of the total sales during the time the festival is running.
- 1 step checkout – no one wants to spend more time checking out, and every additional page in checkout only decreases conversion rate.
- Customer guest account to allow minimal data to be collected from customers choosing to do that.
- Unlimited pricing options on events, to allow as many or as few prices as you need, and without having to manage inventories of each price.
- Wishlist to allow customers to quickly refine their film selections.
- Widgets can be used to build event pricing into your own custom websites (see below).
- A super fast system that can leverage modern caching technologies to deliver pages quickly and efficiently.
Admin & Reporting
If there’s one thing that Event Managers hate, it’s an inability to easily manage inventory of upcoming events for sale.
We’ve worked hard on that to make things easy, including features for:
- Uploading large event programs so your ready to go on sale with upcoming events in as little as a few minutes
- Real time access to your own data, that you can track with a variety of dashboards and reports
- Specific reporting for specialist needs, including management, front of house and box office.
- Send scheduled reports to your or other cultural organizations to relieve the need for manual reporting work
- Completely flexible pricing for normal and special events that allows easy purchasing by customers
- Multiple language support – although our admin and management systems are in English, the content can be language specific to the cultural events being sold as required – any language an be stored in the content attached to films.
- A single admin user account can give access to the admin system, point of sale, or scanning subsystems as required.
- Customer data can be imported from other systems
- Barcodes of event tickets sold on other systems can also be imported and scanned by our scanning apps if needed.
- Upcoming events can be sold on a split allocation or even by an external third party – we made the distinction a long time ago we were about facilitating sales for a client, and if that happened to be on a different ticketing system, then make it easy for the customer to find what to do.
- Attributes that you decide are important for example the country of production, primary language, director can all be created and systematically imported for a rich level of detail and use by the system.
You can collect a wide range of data in the customer relationship system, including adding custom fields.
- Customer profiles can show you exactly what a customer has done, including number of website visits, sessions bought, memberships, passes, wishlist items and stored cards.
- You can create customer categories defined on certain criteria, and automatically applied if the customer purchases e.g. a passholder customer tag can be
- Data can be exported to other Customer Relationship Management systems via APIs, however we also offer a Salesforce app which can automatically download customer data.
User accounts are easy to create and log in to within the film festival software. For those users who might want minimal data stored about them, a guest account can be used to allow purchase, while still retaining some mandatory information you choose, such as zip or post code.
- Wishlist and Share Lists – easy to track film selections and decide to purchase at a later point in time.
- Self exchange – where customers can return tickets they no longer want, and purchase new tickets, without having to contact the box office.
- Easy access to streaming events that have been purchased, just click and watch.
- Easy access to present barcodes on a mobile device.
Marketing & Promotion
Email is a key way of selling to customers, in fact our data suggests that it converts at least twice as well as the best social marketing campaigns. Ferve supports both Campaign Monitor and Mail Chimp email marketing systems, and is busy adding support for Salesforce marketing with Pardot.
You can use Ferve Tickets to send enhanced ecommerce data to GA4 properties in Google Analytics using either GA4 or GTM tags. Doing so really allows you to see where your customer spend is coming from (hint: check your email stats, a properly conducted email campaign will outperform social advertising spend by as much as 2-4 times.)
Promotional Codes, Passes and Comps
You can build a variety of special Ticket Packages:
- Complimentary tickets to Guest Lists. Upload and send complimentary tickets to special guests, film makers and
- Passes valid for X number of tickets to events. These can also be split into standard and bonus events (for when the bonus events are at less popular times, like during the week day). Passes can also allow Y number of tickets per session for example a 10 pass could be designed to allow up to 2 tickets per session for 5 sessions making 10 tickets total. Complimentary passes can be used for film makers or VIP guests to allow them to book their own sessions at no charge, reducing the labour required for managing these ticket types.
- Promotional passes. Book an event at the cinema door, right off the QR code on the artist or film maker digital pass.
- Promotional Codes. Variation to Promotion codes includes the ability to have Set price, Percentage off the item price (including a percentage just off the most expensive price
- Digital Promotions can be featured in app, or on at home ticket printing.
- Use of all these discounts by customers makes its way into the Customer Relationship Management system so you can see your promotional activity impact.
Other products you can upsell
It’s possible to also sell other items on the system to compliment your sales:
- Collect Donations (Non-Profit Organizations/Charitable Organizations) – Easily allow a range of amounts to be collected, including a user settable other amount. If you’re feeling cheeky, you can add a small donation to the customer cart by default, which the customer can remove if desired. This alone can raise anywhere from $5,000 -50,000 in donations for your organization per year!
- Upsell Merchandise – We have many clients that sell food, drink, popcorn, pizzas and profit considerably by doing so. Crucially, you can sell merchandise specifically for a film for example you have 100 bean bags for an outdoor cinema that you sell per session.
- Membership – Our member program allows purchase of a member card that can be used to obtain discounted tickets and access to member only monthly events.
Virtual Cinemas / Virtual Film Festivals
Things were going swimmingly for cinemas right up until COVID-19 restrictions … This upheaval swung the pendulum right off the chart towards streamed film and events, but has now settled back to generally be a mixture of in person and virtually delivered sessions. Ferve works with the 2 world best DRM (Digital Rights Management) systems for film, securely delivering film to protect distributor and artist copyrights, while maximizing revenues.
Shift72 – based in New Zealand, Shift72 boast major international film festivals such as Festival de Cannes, South by South West, TIFF and major United States studios such as Paramount Pictures. Ferve supports leveraging the Shift72 system with single login coming from ticketing system, direct mapping of event in Ferve to film in shift, sending Film content (including attributes) into Shift to setup the program, and the selling of Shift72 packages.
Cinesend – based in Toronto, CA, Cinesend offer a streaming platform which has been seamlessly integrated into the Ferve film festival software – all of the power of Cinesend, without but having to manage film and setup in two separate systems.
Media URLs – This hand feature allows us to provide a URL which is valid for a certain number of watches of a film (via Cinesend), at which point it ceases to work. Very handy for film makers or festival where you may want to offer some films for free or paid for by a corporate sponsor, without charging customers.
Accessible experiences are mandated in many countries. Ferve supports easy designation of events with the correct classifications for accessibility including wheelchair access, rear window captioning, relaxed screenings, audio assisted hearing loop or audio descriptive for normal or special events.
Custom designed website with ticket integration
It’s no problem to either use the built in ticketing web interfaces that we provide, or you can use our pricing widgets to easily build your own custom event website using our white label capabilities.
Using our REST API, you can pull data automatically into your website as often as you like, and there is no need to build the events within ticketing and then again within the website. If you happen to use WordPress, this can be achieved with a couple of plugins and a single API endpoint, making this automated custom event website reach of even smaller clients.
Tickets for events can have custom branding on print at home tickets, or just for special events.
Box Office Ticket Sales
Although ticket sales at box offices in festivals have declined to less than 10% of the total as online sales have increased, there is still a need for box offices to help process last minute tickets, manage stand by queues and customer exchanges (where they can’t do it themselves). (Still selling more than 10% of tickets at the box office? You might need better online sales 🙂 )
Ferve provide a web based Point of Sale software that integrates with multiple printers and payment processing hardware. Such software and hardware support makes it easy to sell tickets for events.
- Use a variety of hardware for point of sale including Mac or PC, laptops, desktops, iPads or Android tablet or Microsoft Surface devices.
- Ticket printing can be done via Boca or certain Star Micronics ticket printers. QR codes on Boca receipt printouts can even direct the customer to the actual web based full receipt.
- Tickets can be SMS/Texted to customers within a few seconds if you don’t want to use a ticket printer.
- Printing to Gate Control is super easy with QR codes produced right on the ticket printing.
- All of the data collected at point of sale automatically makes it’s way into the customer relationship management system so you have a full activity history and view of the customer.
You’ve probably been there. You’ve got a massive queue of people at the cinema door, and then the ticket scanner goes down – a slightly horrifying experience for your front of house staff.
We solved that by having a scanner application that continues to work on it’s internal copy of the data offline, and when normal Wifi resumes, the scanner effortlessly updates the cloud with the most up to date data in the background. Sometimes with long queues of hundreds of people we see the ticket scanners down the street and round the corner diligently scanning tickets so that patrons can be walked straight in when the cinema has been cleared for doors open.
The scanning app is simple to operate, just load a session from the list of film selections and then sight a barcode. Different visual and audio clues allow inspection of valid or invalid tickets for events, even in low light or if your volunteers have visual difficulty. The scanner is able to have it’s own user account and automatic login to the system so for volunteers or staff sharing a physical device it’s ready to use at a moments notice.
For even faster scanning of larger cinemas you can pair the scanning app with laser based scanners produced by Zebra or Saveo. We can easily turn around 2000 pax sessions with 6 laser scanners in a 30 minute window, often any delay is getting patrons to arrive and walk quickly enough to go faster.
If you’re a reasonable sized operation (even a non-profit organization), iOS and Android apps can really help put your film festival in someone’s pocket. Plus it’s your app, branded in your colors and visual design. App functions include:
- See what’s on, view trailers, search and browse films, tag films on your wishlist – it’s all right there for the customer.
- Better yet, you can purchase right in the app and instantly receive tickets. (We’ve even seen people already standing in line for the session buying tickets in the app).
- And if you present tickets in the app for ticket scanning, we automatically center the barcode, bring up the screen brightness, and allow flipping to the next ticket in case the customer has multiple tickets.
These features alone make our apps a very helpful addition for customers.
Massive Customer Load?
Selling 150,00 or more tickets in a short period can be a tall order. Thankfully we designed the ticketing system to be super high performance, based on C# .Net code and Microsoft SQL Server, while running in virtual cloud appliances powered by VMWare. We also leverage Cloudflare to provide further scalability and security such as Content Delivery Network (CDN) caching, Web Application Firewalls, and Load balancing. And if that even becomes too much, we have a lightweight built-in queueing system that can protect both your ticketing and main website – smoothing out a million -visitors -in-10-minute load to something a little more manageable.
How do you get your Ticket Sales Money? This depends largely on the country as to what payment methods and currencies are available:
- Australia: ArtsPay, Stripe, Square, eWay, FatZebra, BackPocket for AUD.
- Worldwide: Anywhere Stripe or Square are supported in the currencies of those platforms (United States-USD, United Kingdom-GBP, Europe-EUR, New Zealand-NZD, Canada-CAD etc)
Depending on the film festival ticketing system model you choose to work with, we might pay you ticket proceeds after collection and delivery of events, or you might collect funds and we invoice you for the fees.
Distribution Income Tracking
Of course with a variety of hundreds of events, and hundreds of prices the complex problem of tracking sales for distributors could become an issue – except our solution for that allows setting a distributor nominated price on every ticket in addition to the “face” value the customer might pay. For example a 10 pass for 10 sessions might sell for $100, but then each ticket redeemed by the customer is done for free ($0). By using a $10 distributor price, every sale can be tracked and reported on for the value of the cust
Customer Service is easy when the system is easy. Most of the time customers can purchase and even exchange their own tickets, meaning the enquiry rate from customers is usually less than 5% of the total number of bookings. That corresponds to higher customer satisfaction, and reduced staffing workload – a plus for everyone! Because our clients own their own data, most of them prefer to handle their own customer service as well. That said we’re always on hand just in case there is something that needs a little extra to solve.
Exporting Data to other systems
You can export data easily to Salesforce (using our Ferve Tickets Salesforce App)
Example Events and Film Festivals
See some of our clients using our film festival software:
- Melbourne International Film Festival – annual film festival in Australia
- Sydney Film Festival – annual film festival in Australia
- Adelaide Film Festival – annual film festival in Australia
- Brisbane International Film Festival – annual film festival in Australia
- Aegean Film Fest – Destination Film Festival in Greece
- DocEdge Film Fest – Documentary Film Festival in New Zealand
- Veonline Vietnamese Asian Cinema and Film Fest (cultural organization)
- Community Cinemas / Sunset Cinemas – Open air cinemas in Australia with over 12 cinema locations.
Other film specific clients include:
- Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival
- CinefestOz Film Fest
- Queerscreen & Geelong and Melbourne Queer Film Festivals (non-profit organization)
- Various film makers in the United States
- More than 50 other small film festivals.
- Other festivals we don’t do currently, but are really cool, include: Milwaukee Film Fest, Jackson Hole International Film Festival, or Heartland Film Fest. There’s plenty of others, just ask filmfreeway.com 🙂
Contact us if you’d like to speak with client users on the system… don’t take our word for it. We have an extensive client list and can find someone who will likely be similar to your organization that you can chat to.
You might ask what does this all cost? It’s generally less than other ticketing suppliers, with a large additional range of features that help you increase audience sales and maximize your revenue.
If you have volume, then the rates become even cheaper 🙂
Find out more
To book a demo of our current film festival ticketing system, please contact us here.
Enquire now – we’ll generally be back in touch in 12 hours or less.
To see a current film festival ticketing client list (including charitable organizations), please check our website.
Not sure what some of the technical ticketing terms are? No problem, check our Event Ticketing Glossary for terms relating to Film Festival Software.