Attendance Tracking/Ticket Scanning

Theatre Manager handles tracking of tickets that were used at an event which can be accomplished in one of three ways:

Each option was built for a different purpose and have some pro's and con's associated with them. These are outlined in the table below. All methods:

  • Allow you to enter ticket numbers for a specific event to record attendance. It can be done by scanning the bar codes on a printed or web ticket -or- if the bar code fails, typing it in manually.
  • Have a range of messages that tell you if the ticket was used already to gain admittance, if it is for the wrong night, etc.
  • Can be used in conjunction with each other - meaning, you can use all 3 methods simultaneously if you wish.
Events & Dates

This method of verifying attendance requires you to open the Events and Dates window (or access it from the Accounting->Confirm Attendance Menu).
Pros
  • Can also track attendance by patron number. If you enter the patron #, then all tickets purchased by that patron for that night will be considered used.
  • The simplest method of attendance tracking and probably the cheapest, especially if used after stubs have been collected.
Cons
  • Requires a full copy of Theater Manager (and licence) for each of the workstations that you are using for attendance tracking. This means that attendance tracking 'at the door' requires a computer and scanner attached.
  • Does not facilitate the process of a patron entering and leaving a venue multiple times by multiple exits.
Web Site Interface

This method uses computers equipped with a web browser to communicate to the web listener to track attendance.
Pros
  • Can use inexpensive 'older' computers and a connected bar code scanner to perform attendance tracking at the door. Discarded laptops with a USB interface might be ideal.
  • Bar code scanners connected to machines are cheaper than stand-alone wireless solutions - so this is probably a mid-range price solution.
  • It does not require a user licence to be in use to scan tickets. All tickets are scanned and sent to the web listener via a special interface to the listener.
  • It can be used to check patrons into the venue -and- allow them to leave for later re-entry.
  • It could be used for attendance tracking of stubs after the fact.
  • Can have one or more separate web listener(s) assigned to the attendance function, if desired.
Cons
  • This approach requires a computer at each of the venue's access/egress points capable of being networked and running a browser.
  • The bar code scanner must be tethered ("wired") to the computer at each door.
  • You must have the web listener module to use this option (however, multiple devices can communicate to the same web listener).
Wireless Scanners

This option uses iPhone/iPod wireless scanners and a custom ArtsMan application to scan tickets and send the information to a web listener that checks the person in and out of a venue based on ticket number for that performance.
Pros
  • This uses a battery operated stand alone wireless device specially designed for this purpose. Staff can wander un-tethered to scan tickets which makes it very flexible and the scanner can be deployed to any venue access/egress point depending on demand.
  • It does not require a user licence to be in use to scan tickets. All tickets are scanned and sent to the web listener via a special interface to the listener.
  • It is designed for the leanest communication with a web listener and is quite fast.
  • It has great visual and audio feedback to help determine the permissions of the user to check in and/or out.
  • Can have a one or more separate web listener(s) assigned to the attendance function, if desired, to speed processing.
Cons
  • It requires the web listener module to operate (however, multiple wireless devices can communicate to the same web listener).
  • It is a more expensive technology.
  • It requires a wireless LAN connection to be operating continuously otherwise you cannot scan people into the venue.

Scanning Tickets using Wireless Scanners

Wireless scanners are a convenient way of checking people into (or out of) a venue and tracking exactly who is on the premises. They are battery operated, portable and can be deployed from one entrance to another, depending on traffic or load. They are easy to operate, however they do require a few steps to get them working the first time. The general setup steps are:

  1. Install the ticket scanning software and mate with the network (usually a one time task).
  2. Set up the preferences to scan a particular event (once before the show)
  3. Scan the tickets as people enter and exit the venue.
Similar to the Web Scan method, you need to:

You use the scanner to check patrons in (step 3) or check them out of (step 4) the venue.

Ensure you fully charge the devices before a performance so they have a full battery level. There is nothing worse than having the battery run out in the middle of admitting patrons. If necessasry, test the device while it is in the charger cradle and to make sure that it will still scan.
New Linea Pro scanners may arrive at your location not fully charged and occasionally drain completely during shipping or if they have not been used in a long time. In such instances, the scanner will appear non-responsive and probably won’t power up in a charging station. The solution is to remove it from any accessories (pistol grip) and plug it in directly with the provided mini-USB cable. It should start to charge normally within 1-2 hours at most.

If the scanner is still unresponsive after leaving it plugged in for a couple of hours, only then would something more serious be likely.
Print at home is wonderful and when enabled for a performance, it becomes the default ticket handling method online. Tickets are marked printed and the customer is prompted to download or print their tickets.

Print at home may be new behaviour for patrons at your venue. If so, we suggest doing an initial educational eblast to your current online purchasers that might mention things like:

  • Your Venue Name now offers print at home tickets which will be the the default way to get tickets for online purchases -and/or-
  • Patrons who purchased prior to this offering can log into their online account if they wish and print their tickets for upcoming shows and avoid waiting in line at the box office -and/or-
  • patrons can reprint tickets at any time after logging in to the online web sales portal

Step 1 - Installing Scanner Software

Follow the steps in this section to install the software on the scanner you are using. If you encounter any issues, check the frequently asked questions for troubleshooting

For installation instructions, click on the picture of the scanner.

IOS

TM Scanner App
iOS - iPhone/iPod Based

TM Scanner - with Linea Pro Bar Code Scanner

TM Scanner - Arts Management Systems Ltd. TM Scanner - Arts Management Systems Ltd. You can download the TM Scanner application by visiting the Apple App Store using the link above or typing tm scanner in the app store search

The TM Scanner bar code scanner application can be used on iOS with an iPhone or an iPod in conjunction with a hardware scanner from Linea Pro.

IOS To use this application, you will need to:

  • Make sure your ticket face has a bar code that goes all across the ticket so that it can be scanned more easily. Refer to adding a field to the ticket.
  • Provide your own iPod or iPhone
    • iOS 10 is currently the earliest compatible OS
    • It is always recommended to keep the devices updated to the latest version of iOS, in order to maintain security compatibility
  • Download the app from Apple's App Store. The app is free and may be installed on any number of devices that you wish.
  • Contact our sales department to:
    • Purchase the Linea Pro to match your iOS device for rapid scanning.
    • Add scanner licensing to your second generation listener (happens automatically when you purchase the above scanner hardware)
    • You can also type the ticket number on the screen as an option if you don't want to have a scanner. This approach is far less efficient than having scanner hardware as the ticket number is manually typed rather than scanned.
  • Make some settings in the TM Scanner app to talk to your web server
  • Set the print at home barcode to QR Code format.

Step 2 - Setting Base Options in the Scanner

The scanner options is generally the same no matter which scanner you are using. Generally, they tell the scanner where the web services are located and the user id/password to use to allow the scan to be processed.

Most often, the settings can be made once and left alone if the intent is to scan tickets on the day of the show.

Scanner User Id in TM

Scanning tickets using a scanner requires a user id set up in theatre manager. We suggest dedicating a specific user id to this purpose.

The setup steps for a user id for scanning are:

  • Create a patron in Theatre Manager with a suitable name, like 'Ticket Scanner'. You could even make them a household member of your other special TM id's like the 'Master User' or 'Web Listener'
  • Turn the user into an employee
  • The only settings and permissions that the ticket scanner id really needs is:
    • a unique set of initials to log in with. These are created automatically when the employee login is created and can be found on the employee window
    • The Employee initials are placed in the scanner setup field on the device you are using to do the scanning.
    • This active user must is allowed to log in
    • the permission to Confirm Attendance at a Performance as per the image below.

Scanner Prefs - Linea Pro TM Scanner application

You may protect access to this entire screen (or parts of it) using an iPhones built in Accessibility Feature
Some configuration settings need to be made on the iPhone or iPod prior to using the Linea Pro scanner to scan tickets. These are very simple, and are all contained on one screen on the iPhone/iPod.

When using the TM Scan application, click on the settings icon at the bottom right of the screen to make changes to the settings. When done, click on the scan button at the lower left.

The values of the fields are in the table below.

Theatre Manager Server Address This is the URL address of the web listener that will be responding to checkin and checkout requests. Enter the address of either:
  • your web ticketing server address such as tickets.yourvenue.org. This will elevate the scanning to use https and can occur from anywhere in the world. It must be used for AMS cloud customers.
  • -or under VERY RARE CIRCUMSTANCES

    enter http:// xxx . xxx . xxx . xxx where this is the internal ip address of your NGINX TM Server. This avoids needing to go out side the network and forces the scanner to use http. This option is NOT recommended unless you have very very special situation.

    Using an IP address by itself requires some special changes to the NGINX TM SERVER httpd-balance.conf file to prevent elevating all requests to https:
Outlet This is the company number (normally 1). In multi-outlet venues, this number will be different for each outlet.
Performance (optional) You can enter the performance number that you are scanning for or leave it empty. Both options affect which tickets will be accepted by the scanner.

Please refer to the scanner rules for more detail.

Area (optional) This is an optional number that you may assign to scans. It is intended to identify entrance to a specific venue in the case where one ticket allows a patron access to one or more places and you need to monitor how many people are in each area. The venue number must exist in Theatre Manager and does not need to be the same as the venue for the ticket. Example: the ticket could be for a game or circus in an arena. However, there may be a 'bar tent' or 'children's play area' that only ticket holders can go to -- so you can scan them into those auxiliary areas for capacity tracking.

Normally, this field is not entered.

User Initials This is the uppercase initials for the user ID in Theatre Manager doing the scanning. This person does not need to be able to log on to TM for any other reason. You might wish to create a generic ID for this purpose.

The user initials for the scanner must be unique within each outlet.

Password The password used for these User Initials to log on to Theatre Manager.

Note: Passwords are case sensitive per PCI compliance. Please ensure you get the case correct.

Beep on go This function can be turned on if you want a beep to sound when a valid scan is entered. If this is off, the scanner will only vibrate - which may be nice if you are scanning in an area where silence is better. A higher pitched longer beep occurs if an invalid scan is attempted.

Linea Pro Scanner Check Battery Health & RFID Laser

Infinite Peripherals offers an app via the Apple Store to download and install on iPod or iPhone devices used with the Linea Pro Scanner sleds.

The app is called IPCSupport and can only be downloaded from the apple store on your iOS device.

 

This app will provide:

  • the battery health of the scanner device
  • the ability to test the infrared laser.
  • Note: There are other features in this app that are NOT applicable because the Linea Pro is using Theatre Manager's TM Scanner ticket scanning software.

Only use the Device for battery health and RFID to test infrared laser.

Protecting Scanner Preferences Using Accessibility

If you wish to manage access to parts of you scanners so that volunteer ushers or unauthorized person cannot click on check out or the settings buttons on your scanner, Apple provides a great solution through the accessibility feature on the iPhone or iPod touch.

Guided Access limits your iOS device to a single app and lets you control which features are available. You can turn on Guided Access when you let a volunteer use your device, or when accidental gestures might distract you..

 

To Enable Guided Access

  1. open the Settings application and navigate through
    • General
    • Accessibility
    • Guided Access (as per the screen to the right)
  2. Turn on Guided Access.
  3. Tap Passcode Settings, then
    • tap Set Guided Access Passcode.
    • Enter a passcode, then reenter it.

 

To set up Guided Access for a Specific Application

Open the app that you want to manage (eg TM Scan - for purposes of this example) and decide if you want to control access to the entire settings tab or only parts of it.

 

Option 1: Control Access to Multiple Specific Parts of Settings Tab

This can be used to limit access to some parts of the settings. You might use this approach if you want to allow staff to only change of the performance

  1. Click on Settings
  2. Triple-click the Home button.
  3. If you want to manager parts of your screen to stop responding to touch, use one finger to circle those areas. You can move or resize the circle, or tap the X to remove it. In our example to the right we have selected the:
    • URL to the ticketing web site,
    • Outlet (if you are scanning for multiple organizations in an outlet version, you may not want to select this
    • ID and Password
    • Refer to scanner settings for meaning of the fields to decide what you want to protect. You could, if you want, protect the entire screen
  4. Tap Start.
  5. Stay on the main screen

 

Option 2: Control Access to an entire screen

This can be used to limit access to some parts of the settings. You might use this approach if you want to allow staff to only change of the performance

  1. Click on Settings
  2. Triple-click the Home button.
  3. Select all the fields on the screen
  4. Adjust the corners of the rectangle as need be by dragging them
  5. Tap Start.
  6. Stay on the main screen

Step 3 - Checking a Patron INTO the venue

This page describes how to scan a ticket and check a patron INTO the venue. The process is very similar for both scanners.

TM Scanner (iPhone/iPod)
  • Make sure the 'white words' in the centre of the screen say 'Scan In'. If they do not, click the 'blue' words that say 'scan in'.
  • Aim the front of the scanner at a ticket
  • Press the 'black' button at the right side of the scanner so that the red laser scans the ticket
  • When you hear the beep (or the phone vibrates), the scan was successful and the words will say 'go'
  • If you hear a longer beep, the screen will say stop and the scan failed -- read the error message to find out why
If you have trouble doing a scan, you can enter the ticket number manually. To do so:
  • Click on the green word 'Start' (or on the blue 'Manual' at the upper left)
  • Type in the ticket number
  • Click the 'Go' Button
A successful scan looks similar to the image on the right.

it will include:

  • The patrons name
  • The ticket number
  • And if its a reserved seating event:
    • the door
    • section
    • row
    • and seat data
    If such data is available for the venue

Step 4 - Checking a Patron OUT of the venue

This page describes how to check a patron OUT OF the venue so that they can come back in another entrance. A checkout assumes that the patron has been checked in to the venue in the first place. If you receive an error checking the patron out, it would be an odd situation.

The process is very similar for both scanners.

TM Scanner (iPhone/iPod)
  • Make sure the 'white words' in the centre of the screen say 'Scan Out'. If they do not, click the 'blue' words that say 'Scan Out'.
  • Aim the front of the scanner at a ticket
  • Press the 'black' button at the right side of the scanner so that the red laser scans the ticket
  • When you hear the beep (or the phone vibrates), the scan was successful and the words will say 'go'
  • If you hear a longer beep, the screen will say stop and the scan failed -- read the error message to find out why
If you have trouble doing a scan, you can enter the ticket number manually. To do so:
  • Click on the green word 'Start' (or on the blue 'Manual' at the upper left)
  • Type in the ticket number
  • Click the 'Go' Button

Ticket Scanner Acceptance Rules

Entering a performance number or leaving it blank the scanner setup preferences directly affects which tickets the scanners will accept or reject.

These apply to checkin or checkout of the venue.

If you enter a Specific Performance Number into the scanner

While providing a performance number is generally the best option, it is especially important If you have multiple venues or multiple events on the same day.

  • Tickets for any other performance will be rejected.
  • The scanner will accepts tickets if the performance date is midnight or earlier. It means you:
    • can scan tickets for an event that goes on today because it has todays date on it
    • can scan ticket stubs you put aside from a prior days performance if you wish, up to any number of days in the past
    • cannot scan tickets for any event with tomorrows date on it
  • Provide this parameters if you want absolute certainty that patrons are entering the correct venue.
  • Find the performance number from the list within the event window

 

If you leave the Performance Number zero or blank

If you generally have one event per day, it may work best leaving the performance number blank as there is no configuration changes required for each day. You just need to pick up the scanners and use them.

  • Tickets for any event/play that day will be accepted.
  • Ticket for any other day will be rejected. (Provide specific performance number to scan prior days events)
  • Use this if you have
    • a festival situation occurring and patrons could have purchased tickets to any one of a number of events / plays to obtain entry to the area you are scanning for.
    • a multi venue situation where you quickly move scanners from one venue to another and don't want operators to enter performance numbers
  • Note: If you enter a zero in this field, tickets for events occurring on any other day will return the message that the ticket is for a future event, and is not valid on this date.

 

Tricking the scanning process for future performances

If you want to scan for tomorrow's performance for some reason, then:
  • Just before attempting to scan tickets, set the date/time on the performance to be just before midnight today.
  • Add a comment to the specific performance notes to clarify for online sales (eg 'this performance is friday all day and not at the time indicated').
  • When you have finished scanning advance tickets, then change the date/time back to the proper performance time.

Print-at-Home and coupon requirements

If a sales promotions is explicitly marked with the requirement for a coupon when sold online, then the following happens:

  • if the patron prints at home - all tickets in the order will be printed - this is so that a patron has the same number of tickets as their online order
  • The tickets that require an online coupon will have an invalid bar code. This means that the ticket cannot be scanned into the venue in anyway.
  • There will be instructions on the ticket to take the print-at-home copy to the box office or will call to have it exchanged for a hard ticket stock ticket - which of course can be scanned.
  • This way the box office can verify price eligibility for the promotion, such as AAA discount, 2 for 1 coupon, Active Military - any reason at all.

Scanning Tickets using Tethered Scanner

With a tethered unit, you follow a similar process as outlined below:

  1. From the main menu bar, choose Accounting >> Confirm Attendance.

    The Patron Attendance list window opens.

  2. Enter Search Criteria.

    The search criteria is entered in the From and To fields and is based on the field listed in the drop down list.

  3. Click the Search button.

    A list of performances opens.

  4. Double click on a performance to select it. Once selected, the performance will open.

  5. Enter the patron number, ticket number or click in the ticket number field and scan the ticket.

    If you enter the patron number, all of the tickets the patron purchased will appear in the window. If you enter the ticket number or scanning the ticket, only that ticket will appear.

  6. Click the Accept button.

    To speed up the process, press the <RETURN> key to accept the ticket # / Patron #. If you are using a bar code scanner, set the default to include an automatic <RETURN> after each scan. If the tickets have a bar code on them, then either the patron number or the ticket number can be scanned in. It depends on what information has been encoded in the bar code.

    If too many tickets have been selected, and not all should be marked as attended, highlight those to remove and click the Clear Attend button. The tickets are removed from the list.

  7. Click the Finished button when all data has been entered .

    This marks all tickets entered in the list as Attended.

Scanning Tickets using Web Interface

While this kind of scanning will still work, we recommend a linea pro bar code scanner

The web scanning interface is really quite easy to set up. You will need:

  • A computer
  • A USB bar code scanner (CCD is best)
  • A bar code on your hard tickets and your web tickets printed at the time of sale, and
  • A permanent net connection to the web listener

To start, you need to know the following:

Performance Number

You need to know the performance number of the event that is occurring. You can find this by opening up the Events & Dates window, and clicking on the Performance tab. The first column of the performance list is the performance number.

In the example below, you can see the performance number as #323 for the Apr 2, 2011 performance.

Performance Number

Web IP Address

You need to know the listener IP address (internal). You find this by looking at the web listener on the title bar. In the example below, it is https://192.168.3.50:5111 (note - 192.168.3.50 is the IP address and 5111 is the port number to use if you are using the wireless scanners)

Listener IP

Once you have the setup information, then you can begin the process of tracking attendance.

  1. On any computer, start the web browser of your choice (Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.)
  2. Enter the IP address of the listener (along with the attendance page) in the following manner. This is the IP address you found above, along with the actual attendance page called 'TMattendance.html'.

Attendance

If you want to track attendance at a remote venue using this method, you can use the web listener and the path name will resemble https://tickets.yourvenue.com/TheatreManager/1/TMattendance.html

Once the browser page is started, you should see something like the following page. On it, you must fill in:

  • The performance number from above (in this example -- 323)
  • Your user initials (in this example -- RDE), and
  • Your password (Password are case sensitive. For most sites, you will enter it in all upper case).

Put the performance number into both the upper area and the lower area. The upper area checks people into the venue who have not entered the venue. The lower area tracks people leaving the venue so that they may re-enter later.

checkin


Entering the Venue

Once the web page is on the screen

  1. Place the cursor in the Ticket Number cell.
  2. Aim the scanner at the bar code on the ticket
  3. Pull the scanner's trigger
  4. Click the "Check Patron In" button on the web page (see NOTE below)
  5. Scan tickets until all patrons are in the venue.

When you click the "Check Patron In" button, a message is sent to the web listener and it responds with a message. For possible messages, see below.

If your scanner is programmed to automatically enter a "carriage return" after the click (see the scanner's User Manual to program), then you do not need to click the "Check Patron In" button. Alternatively, after scanning, you can click the ENTER key on your keyboard.

The next steps are repeated as required.
Action Possible messages
Ticket Not Used Yet

For a ticket that is valid for admission, the message will display "OK to Enter." In this case, the ticket number is '8569' and the user is informed to allow access.

OK

Ticket Already Used

If the ticket has already been marked as used then you will see a message similar to the one below.

Used

Not Sold If you try to scan a ticket Theatre Manager thinks has not been sold, you will get a message similar to that below. This may happen if the ticket was sold and then exchanged but the original ticket was never destroyed (as part of the box office procedures).

NotSold

Wrong Performance If the ticket that is entered is sold, but it is for the wrong performance, then you will receive a message like the one below.

Wrong Performance

Leaving the Venue

Sometimes people need to leave the venue. If you have scanned them in, then they cannot enter again because the ticket was already used. The only way to allow them to leave, and then return is to check them out of the venue. That will mark their ticket as un-used. They can then enter again at any access point that supports ticket scanning (or manual entry of tickets).

You are not required to use this approach for re-entry. You can ignore this process and use the traditional 'hand stamp' method (or similar protocol).

Action Possible messages
Patron is Leaving the Venue

In the lower area, scan the bar code (or type the ticket number) to indicate that the patron is leaving the venue. The input screen will look like the following.

Web Checkout

if the patron was properly scanned into the venue, you will get a message like the following in the standard message area.

Leave

Ticket Not Used

If the ticket was used and the patron has been scanned out of the venue -or- if the patron was never in the venue in the first place, you will get a message similar to the one below. This is useful to let you know when "Elvis has left the building."

Not In Venue

Not Sold

If you attempt to scan a ticket that Theatre Manager thinks is currently not sold, then you will get a message to that effect (similar to the "Check In" message)

Wrong Performance If the ticket that is entered is sold, yet it is for the wrong performance, then you will receive a message to that effect (similar to the "Check In" message).

Determining Used/Unused tickets

There are a number of ways to determine how many tickets were used (scanned). Some are reports and others show quick stats for a performance.

Note: It doesn't matter how the tickets were scanned (wireless, typed in manually, or tethered scanner), each of these methods will give the same result.

In reports, the criteria you want to use is Ticket Scan Flag-Patron Came to the Event is equal to No (they didn't get scanned) Yes (they were scanned)

Things you can do..

  1. The Ticket Scanning Monitor can be used in real time on the night of the event to see the flow of people into the venue. It can be useful for house management to know when to close the doors, or to hold them open should there be a weather related event occurring. This has the number of tickets scanned in (and out), the performance If multiple are happening that day) and the percentage of people in the house.
  2. The manual ticket scanning window will show the number of tickets told to the performance, the scanned count and the unused count on the window. It is a quick way of seeing one performance at a glance.
  3. On the play window in the attendance tab, there is a tab that indicates the ticket use (scanned/not scanned) status. This has 3 values:
    • Future Event - indicates that the performance is for the future so we cannot tell if it was used or not.
    • Attended - indicates the people who have been scanned into the venue.
    • Not Used - refers to any ticket that was sold, but not scanned into the venue
    If you highlight all the tickets in the attendance list, the window will tell you 'xx tickets selected: Attended: yy Not Used: zz' where xx is the number of tickets sold, yy is the count of those attended and zz is the count not used/not scanned.
  4. Using any Ticket Inventory Report, you can search for only tickets that were scanned (used) or those that were not scanned (not used). This can be used in conjunction with other criteria to do things like find:
    • the number of subscribers who did not attend
    • which board members came
    • the number of people given a comp that did not show up
    • etc
  5. The criteria to use in reports is Ticket Scan Flag-Patron Came to the Event is equal to No (they didn't get scanned) Yes (they were scanned)