Here’s how to make timed entry work at your venue

As government Covid restrictions chop and change, trying to keep up can feel exacerbating at best, and nigh-on traumatic at worst. At Ticket Tailor, we’re seeing a lot of events organisers turn to ticketing and timed entry, for example, which may seem simple enough. But for those who’ve never done this before it can soon start to feel overwhelming. In a nutshell – it’s a whole new territory that needs navigating (cue: hair-tearing and gritted teeth).

But don’t panic! If this sounds like you – read on. In this article, we break down in seven simple steps how to make timed entry at your venue a success (without the stress). They are:

  • Assess and define your venue’s capacity for any one time

  • Plan the length of your time-slots

  • Plan the logistics of people arriving and leaving

  • Think about putting arrival time restrictions in place

  • Save a few spaces for ‘walk-ins’

  • Decide if you want to charge for tickets

  • Choose an online ticketing platform

Timed Entry Museum.jpeg

Assess and define your venue’s capacity for any one time

The first step in this new-fangled way of doing things will be to assess your venue's capacity in light of the latest Covid guidelines. This may involve getting a professional assessor involved, or you might be able to work it out alone based on the knowledge you have of your venue’s capacity pre-Covid. This will probably be the most crucial step in the process as it’ll inform how many tickets you allocate for any one time-slot. 

Plan the length of your time-slots 

Next, you’ll need to plan carefully how long each set of visitors will realistically need at your venue. If you’re a museum or art gallery, for example, you’d want to think about how long it’d take someone to get around the various rooms and exhibitions on offer without feeling too strapped for time. But on the flipside, try to make sure time-slots aren’t so lengthy that you’re left with an empty venue between visitors. 

Top tip: Why not reach out on social media to gauge how long your regular visitors typically spend at your venue?

Plan the logistics of people arriving and leaving

To keep things running safely and smoothly, think ahead about how much time you’ll need between people arriving and leaving. It might be that as soon as one person/group has left, another can enter – say, if someone leaves early, while someone else arrives before their time slot. But you’ll need to keep a record of people’s leaving times in this case. Or you might wait for each time slot to finish, and for everyone with that time slot to leave, before letting anyone in for the next one. 

This will probably depend on the scale of your operation and how comfortable you are with keeping tabs on capacity at any one time.

It’s also worth thinking about what you’ll do if people arrive early and have to wait. It might be as simple as letting them know where a close cafe is for them to head to, or you could prepare an outdoor waiting area with seating and a drinks and refreshments van.

Think about putting arrival time restrictions in place

If you’re only introducing ticketing to help manage capacity at your venue, the likelihood is that you’ll be allocating these tickets for free. This naturally brings with it a risk of ‘no-shows’ – if people haven’t forked out for the cost of visiting your venue, they may be lax about making the proper cancellations if they change their mind about coming. 

For this reason, it might help to introduce timing restrictions to avoid being left with an empty venue while also still having to turn away customers. You could, for example, let visitors know that if they haven’t shown up by ten minutes into their hour-long slot, it’ll be given to someone else. This could be increased accordingly for longer slots. 

Save a few spaces for ‘walk-ins’ 

You might also want to think about setting aside a few spaces for spontaneous walk-ins, which could be another buffer against no-shows. In this case, visitors who ‘just turn up’ would still have to go online to book their slot at the door, but could essentially gain entry without having planned ahead. 

Decide if you want to charge for tickets

If entry to your venue is normally free, you’ll probably want to keep it that way. But there’s nothing stopping you from charging a small admin fee to cover the cost of your booking system. If your event is normally paid for on the door, it’ll be easy enough to translate this across to an online booking system.

Choose an online ticketing platform

To make sure the process of timed entry is as streamlined as possible, choose a ticketing platform that’s well-established, and well-equipped to make things run totally smoothly. With Ticket Tailor, you’ll be able to:

  • Scan tickets at the door – our platform has a handy app for this

  • Embed your ticketing page into your own website, or use a dedicated Ticket Tailor landing page for your event

  • Easily share your ticketing page across social media channels 

  • Get audience insight to learn more about the people visiting your venue

  • Record the necessary details for NHS track and trace 

  • Personalise your ticketing page with your own branding

With these simple steps, it’ll be much easier to keep your event and venue safe, and hopefully ticking over with some semblance of normality in these uncertain times. For more information on NHS track and trace, head here.