How to make your on-sale a success

February 14, 2024

Have you noticed how ticket sales for some anticipated events have become events in their own right? Consider on-sales like Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour, and Glastonbury’s annual ticket release, where the online chatter from fans sharing their journey - from build-up, to frenzied release to the laments and celebrations that follow, depending on the success of the mission. Now, it’s all a part of the experience.  

So, whether you're having an on-sale for your new season, or for a one-off performance, having a robust and smooth online purchase path is key to maximising your organisation's ticket sales. No one wants an exciting release to be marred by poor customer experience, with the risk of disgruntled would-be patrons as a result. 

 This is a guide to help you prepare for your next on-sale, with some practical tips and things to keep in mind.

Preparation is key

Spend some time working on a checklist for your on-sale management, considering the following factors:

  • What kind of ticket sale will it be? A single ticket on-sale, multiple performances, or a season on-sale? Or is it focused around fixed or flex packages, or both? 
  • Is it a general on-sale, or specific to your members? Will you be using promo codes? 
  • Think about the user journey. How will users be notified of the on-sale? Email blasts and social posts, or via a landing page on your site? Run through the steps to make sure your communication is clear for users. 
  • When will the on-sale take place; During the day, evening or weekend?
  • Are you introducing new features to your site ahead of the on-sale? Consider implementing a code freeze and refrain from making major changes in the lead-up to the on-sale. 
  • Are you expecting a high demand for the on-sale? Review the amount of traffic you expect to see on the day. If you’re not sure, look at previous on-sales of similar scale, to help you calculate what the volume might be. If you’re expecting high demand, consider doing a load test to see how your site can cope. 
  • If you’re anticipating heavy traffic, get in touch with your web provider. You might need to scale up your environment, to prevent any CPU issues on the day. 
  • If you’re using a CRM provider to capture your visitors data and the ticket sales, review the setup. For Tessitura users specifically, consider the following when setting up your new production/s:
    • Make sure to test any changes in your website’s dev environment with data from your test CRM and ensure that they’re working as expected. 
    • Is the on sale date correct for the mode/s of sale you’re planning to use for the on sale?
    • Are all modes of sale and price types set up correctly?
    • If custom features are used, are they set up properly?
    • If using a promo code, is it working, and showing correct prices?
  • Think about adding active monitoring support during the on-sale. Speak to your web provider to see what support they can provide.

    Based on your responses, put together a plan for your on-sale and work with your web provider to ensure it’s in place, well ahead of time.

Use a virtual waiting room

If you’re expecting high demand for your on-sale, consider using a virtual waiting room to control the flow of traffic to the site for a smooth and successful customer journey. This can keep your site from crashing due to traffic overload, while also making sure that pages load quickly - giving your customers a better experience, free from frustration and abandoned purchasing journeys. 

As part of our BlocksOffice subscription, Made’s clients have access to CrowdHandler, a virtual waiting room to protect their site.

Here are some practical tips when using CrowdHandler: 

  • Spend some time familiarising yourself with the admin area of CrowdHandler to see how it works. 
  • Test your waiting room in advance ( )
  • Review the waiting room template within CrowdHandler and see if any changes need to be made. 
  • Pre-scheduling your on-sale to avoid lags: setting your waiting room to engage an hour or 30 mins before your on-sale and setting your ticketing system to go live shortly afterward, with the queue activating at the official on-sale time. 
  • Use the autotune feature (available on the standard package) which will automatically adjust the flow of traffic during the on-sale by sampling live traffic. )
  • Once an on-sale is online, test the purchase path through the waiting room. You can use the Crowdhandler admin panel (by going to Domains and finding the shield button that is labelled “manage IP addresses”) to bypass your IP address to the front of the queue. 
  • If a customer has lost their position in the queue, your customer care team can ask them for their session token and promote their session so they can get back in the queue. They can do this by clicking on the waiting room line on the graph on the dashboard. It will take you to a session screen which shows you all the people in the queue. You then add the token in the search box to find the user. Click on the user and hit the button to promote them. 

When your visitors are redirected to the CrowdHandler waiting room, they’ll want to understand what has happened and where they are. You can provide some more context by editing the Waiting Room messaging via the dashboard.

If you’re interested in learning more about using Crowdhandler’s waiting room on your site, you can schedule a free demo at to speak to one of the team’s experts. This is the case both for Made clients and non-clients.

We hope this guide has been helpful in directing your on-sale strategy. If you are considering a redesign or upgrade to your site to address past issues with big on-sales, get in touch to discuss your specific needs. 

If you already are a Made client and have specific questions about your upcoming on-sale, reach out to your digital producer or log a support ticket for assistance.