How to take bookings for your ticketed event

If you plan to run a ticketed event there are several software packages and websites that are available for a nominal fee that can assist you in taking bookings.
However if your event is small, and your budget is tight, you may wish to consider the following guidelines for how to do it yourself.
If you are selling tickets for your event it will fall into one of three categories; Free Seating, Allocated seating and Allocated seating at tables.
It’s important to note that each of these events needs to be handled slightly differently.

Free Seating
This works well when there are no seats, or you have rows of theatre style seating, and it’s a ‘first in best dressed’ style of event.
It’s important to know the total maximum capacity of the venue as well as the comfortable capacity of the venue to decide how many tickets you will be selling.
It’s also important to remember to reserve tickets for speakers, VIPs and event sponsors, as well as to reserve some of the easily accessible seating on the day for people with disabilities. Tickets can then be sold as paid for.

Allocated seating
Start by getting a seating plan for your venue, plus, if you are coordinating your own venue, work out how large your stage will be.
Reserve tickets for speakers, VIPs and sponsors.  You may wish to reserve some seating on the day for your VIPs.  You may wish to reserve some easily accessible seating for people with disabilities.
You will need to decide if you want people to have the flexibility to choose where they want to sit.  If you offer this option it can make things more difficult for the event organiser as you will need to be available at a certain place and time for patrons to select their seating.
To organise this style of event, you will be working off two main documents; one is the Master Seating Plan and the other is the Booking Sheet.
On the Master Copy of the Seating Plan write over each seat with a unique booking reference number.  In the Booking Sheet, write the booking number, the name of the booking, their contact details, how they have paid and the seat number.
Booking Sheet example

Booking Ref Name Contact Payment Seat Number
1 Smith 0455 268 555 Chq 44D
1 Smith 0455 268 555 Chq 44E
2 Chan 0455 268 556 Cash 46A
2 Chan 0455 268 556 Cash 46B

Seating Plan example

44 1 1
45
46 2 2
47
48

Distribute tickets with the date and time on them as well as their seat number. Make sure numbered seats are easy to find or there are ushers to assist people.
Ensure you have your master copy of the Seating Plan and Booking Sheet with you at the event in case of missing tickets or seating mix-ups.

Allocated seating at tables
Start by getting a seating plan from your venue. If you are coordinating your own venue you will need to work out how large your stage will be and if you are having a dance floor.  Then work out how many people can sit comfortably at each table.
Then you will need to reserve tables for speakers, VIPs and sponsors, and you may also wish to reserve some tables on the day for your VIPs.
Decide if you want people to choose where they want to sit.  As noted earlier, if you offer this benefit it can be more difficult for the organiser as you need to be available at a certain place and time for patrons to choose their seating.
You will be working off two main documents, one is the Master Seating Plan and the other is the Booking Sheet.
On the Master Copy of the Seating Plan write over each seat with a unique booking reference number.  In the Booking Sheet, write the booking number, the name of the booking, their contact details, how they have paid, the table number.
Distribute tickets with the date and time on it as well as their table number. Make sure numbered tables are easy to find and or have ushers to assist.
Ensure you have your master copy of the Seating Plan and Booking Sheet with you at the event in case of missing tickets or seating mix-ups.