Having trouble? Let us help.

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, Digital

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 >

You might also like:

An image of Ariel trapped in the cloven pine in the RSC's augmented-reality production of Shakespeare's Tempest
bell-iconThought Leadership

Crossing Barriers to Innovate Experiences in Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality

Arts & Culture / Museums / Orchestras / Technology / Theatre 62 min

Sarah Ellis, Royal Shakespeare Company; Luke Ritchie, Philharmonia Orchestra; and Matthew Tarr, American Museum of Natural History, speak about VR, AR, and MR at the 2018 Tessitura Learning & Community Conference

Torrie Allen on stage at TLCC2018
light bulb iconInnovator Series

Arts Administration as Transformative Creativity

Arts & Culture / Fundraising / Theatre 14 min

In this galvanizing talk, Torrie Allen proposes that by adopting a creative mindset, administrative professionals can find fresh approaches to their work.

Andrew Recinos on stage at TLCC
bell-iconThought Leadership

Connecting the Dots

Arts & Culture 25 min

Andrew Recinos shares some inspiration from Tessitura Network member organizations — and encourages us to share our own