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Why gift certificates only need to be given to the purchaser (not the recipient)

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How does one approach the problem of selling gift certificates to a patron that will eventually end up in the hands of another patron (after deing given as a gift by the purchaser to the recipient)?

There is a common misconception that a gift certificate must some how be moved:

  • FROM the patron account who purchased it
  • TO the patron account of the person who the patron wants to gift it to - in order to be valid
In Theatre Manager, this is not true.

Simply sell the Gift Certificate to the purchaser and give them a printed gift certificate with two specific fields on it. There is nothing further that you need to do. One person can buy many gift certificates and give them away to whom they choose. The venue does not need to know who got them in order to allow redemption.

Separation of Purposes

Theatre Manager conveniently separates the dual functions of selling and redemption. In the end:

  • The venue will know who likes buying them (to market to them again) and
  • who likes using them (so you can see if they want to buy some in the future).

It is not the venue's responsibility to transfer gift certificates from one patron to the recipient; since the purchaser of the gift certificate might change their mind as to who they want to give them to long after they have purchased them.


A common analogy for buying gift cards

Most of us have seen banks of gift cards in grocery stores for many companies like Apple, The Keg, Lowes, any supermarket card, Chapters, etc.. The process is that:

  • The Purchaser
    • Buys a dozen apple gift cards at the grocery store checkout, which activates them
    • Gives them to friends (the grocery store never is part of who they go to)
  • The Friend/Recipient
    • Rubs something off the back of the card to get the secret redemption code
    • Redeems the gift card at the store or online as if it was cash.

The grocery store is never responsible for the distribution of the cards to the friends of the purchaser.

Similarly, the box office is never responsible for assigning gift certificates to recipients, only the production of the actual gift certificate.


Setting this up in Theatre Manager

You need to make a gift certificate that can be used by anybody. Refer to the image below and the two areas highlighted

  • Redeemable by - which is who can redeem it. For gift certificates that can be used by others, the last option is generally the best.
  • Internet Redemption Options - make the settings as below if you want to allow the recipient to use them online


Printing/Emailing the gift certificate (as a form letter)

The next step is to email (or print) the gift certificates to the patron using a form letter merge. It is easy to make the gift certificate as fancy as you want. You must include include both of the following fields:

  • the control number
  • the secret redemption password


The Redemption Process

After the patron gives the gift certificates to whom they want, the gift certificates can be redeemed by the recipient:

  • At the box office - the box office staff just need to ask the patron for the control number
  • Online - refer to the help page that shows the entire online process.
A image of the key screen for online redemption explained in the above process relies on one of two conditions:
  • Patrons will either have a list of passes they own and just need to Apply it -OR-
  • They will need to indicate that they have been give one and click the Use a Pass or Gift Certificate I've been Given. To use some from somebody else, the receipient will need both of:
    • the control number
    • the secret redemption password
    • and once they enter that, it will remain associated to them till they have used the entire amount on the gift certificate.