it has put a smile on my face, and that's really saying something
Saratoga Springs, New York, is home to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (www.spac.org), who were very excited to become part of the Theatre Manager family in February 2010. They joined after seeing how much more customer service they would be able to provide to their patrons compared to many years of using their Software as a Service provider. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) opened in 1966, and is an amphitheater set in a 2,400 acre park preserve surrounded by hiking trails, geysers and natural mineral springs. This amphitheatre seats 5,400 in sheltered seats, and can accommodate another 20,000 outside on the sloping lawn. They also operate a closed theatre which seats 500.
Rick Geary, the Chief Financial Officer at SPAC, said that they evaluated a number of different systems and found that Theatre Manager was a unique product that really suited their needs. He is extremely happy that they made the switch, and has found that Theatre Manager more than exceeded their expectations. They love the amount of information that can be captured and how easy the system is to use. The decision was made to implement the use of Theatre Manager in two stages. They opted to implement the ticketing capabilities first, and once that was up and running smoothly, the membership and donor data was integrated.
The people at SPAC have found that comparing their old system to Theatre Manager is a night and day difference. Before, it was like pulling teeth to get any patron data from their old provider, whereas now they can just run a report and have any and all the information they want right at their fingertips. Their ticket fees have been reduced by 40% and they feel that they are still being competitive.
SPAC has put their entire season available for purchase online and they haven't had any complaints from their customers. In fact, Rick told us about an instance where they even had a customer call to say that he thought he had done something wrong with his online purchase because it was just too easy! They checked the client's file for him, and everything was exactly as it should be.
Rick loves having all the information available at a moment's notice. He can immediately see any activity, and monitor web sales. The information is always easy to get. When someone calls with a question, "it' so simple to pull up the client file and make any changes." He also is very impressed with the reporting features. "In accounting, we have to be able to account for everything, and this system allows us to do just that. It's first class!"
Rick made the decision early in the process to be heavily involved in all aspects of the transition, including the training. He wanted to know everything the system could do. During the installation and training process, they were able to prioritize everything, so that once the trainer left, they were able to get up and roll. They are learning more every day and are "learning how we can adapt the system to what we want it to do based on how we operate. It has forced us to look at how we sell our tickets and how we want to continue do so going forward." Rick said that it has been quite a learning curve for them, but they haven't come across anything that the system can't do. By knowing how it works, they haven't been stumped yet.
Previously, SPAC only sold 6% of their tickets online, which is quite low. They found that the customers resented the fees that they had to pay, and now that SPAC has reduced the fees, they have noticed a steady increase in the number of tickets sold online.