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An Update on Our Seating Model Test

We got a lot of feedback from the "boarding pass" test and we listened to/read it all. We have a new plan going into effect on Friday, April 13th.

An Update on Our Seating Model Test

As many of you know we’ve been working on some seating experiments over the last several months at the Ritz, Lamar and Slaughter Lane Alamo locations. First of all, thanks to everyone for all the input! You are a vocal crowd of fans and we’ve spent a fair amount of time going through facebook comments, email comments, our email surveys and our blog looking at everything you’ve told us.

We set out on this path to try and rethink the pre-movie experience and eliminate what we thought was kind of lame in the Alamo experience – waiting in long lines for long periods of time.

It’s clear from all the comments that the priority seating system needs some work and so we’re pulling back from that test and moving forward with some changes based on what you’ve told us. So, we wanted to let everyone know that the test of priority seating is ending and let everyone know what seating will be like beginning on 4/13 at the LAMAR, RITZ and SLAUGHTER locations. We also want to let everyone know what we’re working towards for the future. So first up…here’s what’s going to happen for shows starting on Friday 4/13.

Lamar, Ritz and Slaughter Lane will have two ticketing options: reserved seating and traditional general admission. A few notes on each:

  • Reserved Seating: Each auditorium will have a limited number of reserved seats available in a specific section at a $2 upcharge. Typically the number of reserved seats will be 20 or less. This will be a ‘pick your seat’ model within a certain section and the seats will be held for you up until show time. It seems a great many comments regarding priority seating revolved around the idea that you still had to be at the theater 30 – 35 minutes before show time to get the seat you want. Well, with reserved seating, you can show up whenever you like. The seat you bought is yours and there’s no reason to get in line or show up early.
  • General Admission: These tickets are no different than what we’ve always done in the past. You buy your ticket, show up when you like and line up just as we’ve always done. There’s no seating pass number and no lobby calls for seating in groups.

We think this system responds to the clear demand for a reserved option and also addresses the groups of ‘line lovers.’ It also eliminates the problem of boarding pass numbers being issued at time of pick up, which seems to have put some people in a position of feeling like they have to come to the theater really early to get an early seating pass number.

Once we’ve got this system in place at the Lamar, Ritz and Slaughter Lane locations, we plan on rolling this throughout the Austin market.

Again, we really appreciate all the feedback. We know a fair amount of you guys were not into the idea, but at the same time, we learned a lot about what everyone wants. As we continue to look at the comments, we will continue to provide updates on where we are.

A note on the future: We’re working towards what we think will be the last change in seating process for the Alamo and based on everything you’ve told us, this will be the best of both worlds.

It’s clear to us that some sort of limited reserved seating is in high demand, so we feel like that’s here to stay. However, it also seems clear that many of you like the idea of not having to line up more than 30 – 35 minutes before show time. While our ticketing software does not currently allow this, it seems many of you wanted a general admission ticket with a seating pass number issued at time of purchase. This would essentially allow for two kinds of tickets: reserved (as described above) and general admission tickets with a seating pass number issued at time of purchase.

This would mean the reserved folks can come whenever they like, but general admission people would have a number issued at time of purchase, meaning there would be no need to come an hour early. Your seating pass number would be your place in line. You’d know this number at the time of purchase and then there would be no need to come more than 30 minutes before show time when we seat. We’re looking in to the development of something like this and will keep everyone posted on this option should it become available.

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