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Thought Leadership

Planning for High-Volume On-Sales (The Donut Problem)

Kristin Darrow offers her advice for providing a great customer experience during high-volume ticket on-sales

Kristin Darrow

Kristin DarrowSenior Vice President, Product

TitlePlanning for High-Volume On-Sales (The Donut Problem)


Read/View Time2 min

Let’s say you have twelve delicious donuts in a box.

You bring them into a classroom of first-grade kids, frothing with glee after recess. You put the donuts on a table. Cake donuts. Glazed donuts. Different flavors. They smell good. They’re even still a bit warm.

You say, “Who wants a donut?”

What happens? All thirty kids come rushing to the table and start grabbing donuts in a fierce dustup of flying sugar, elbow jabs and colorful uses of the word “booger.’ 

The lucky kids nearest the box get one but then get crushed by the throngs pushing in. The less lucky kids on the periphery are sad they didn’t get a donut and by the time they even got a glimpse of the box, it was empty. Crumbs. Not fair! There weren’t enough! Disappointment sets in.

And truthfully? It wasn’t a great experience for anyone. Even the kids who got a donut had to scarf it down in a half-chewed Darwinist gulp before they could properly savor it.

Now imagine those donuts are a limited availability run of Kusama or Hamilton tickets and that is you in the dustup. As a patron, is that really the customer experience you want to have? A wild, bloodlusty landrace for… museum tickets? As a venue, is that the customer experience you want your patrons to have?  Sure, the hype is good but wouldn’t it be better to get tickets into the hands of your patrons with as little drama and inconvenience as possible?

Managing large ticketing on-sales is the very face of the tired old man, Supply And Demand (whose initials are, not coincidentally, S.A.D).  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Venues have the ability to tip the balance in favor of the patron in how they design for digital customer experience.


In this article for Capacity Interactive’s Ideas blog, Kristin Darrow, Senior Vice President, Digital, offers some advice for managing a large ticket on-sale where demand outstrips supply, while advocating for good customer experience throughout.

Read the full article >

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Kristin Darrow

Kristin Darrow

Senior Vice President, Product

Kristin Darrow is Senior Vice President for Digital at Tessitura Network.

She heads Tessitura’s Digital division and strategic product development for Tessitura’s digital platforms, TN Express Web and TN Mobile Plus. Kristin leads the full lifecycle of Tessitura’s digital products which includes strategic product direction, software development, support and implementation operations. Evolving closely with Tessitura’s broader technology and strategic directions, TN Express Web has gone from a small startup product in 2008 to what is now the Network’s primary web integration platform used by nearly 400 organizations worldwide. During this evolution, the Digital team has grown to reflect this growth in product direction and usage and now includes nearly 30 digitally-focused professionals that span expertise areas from software engineering, quality assurance, UX/UI design, customer service and product implementation.  

Prior to working at Tessitura, Kristin was Director of E-Commerce for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (including overseeing one of the earliest launches of a Tessitura-integrated website in 2002). Her career has been spent at the intersection digital and art/culture.  She’s an avid believer in the power of art and culture to shape (and perhaps most accurately depict) the human experience. She holds a degree in viola performance from the University of Texas at Austin and splits her time between Seattle and her farm in Eastern Washington state where she likes to play fiddle in her barn.     

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