Covid-19-ready seating plans

May 29, 2020

Covid-19 isn't over, neither for our societies as a whole, nor for the culture industry. However, in some places there's some light arising in the darkness and many states in Germany will be starting to allow cultural events beginning next month.

In Bavaria, for example, cultural events will be allowed indoors and outdoors starting from June 15th, at least if the follow a long number of strict rules regarding the number of participants and the possible types of performances.

The Bavarian ministry has published a set of clear rules that also touch on ticketing (translation is ours):

  • As long as there's a general rule of a minimum distance, it shall only be possible to book neighbored seats without keeping a minimum distance if the persons booking the seats are allowed to be in contact with each other according to the current rules.

  • Issuance of tickets is only possible with a fixed seat number as well as a documented ticket holder. Name and contact details (with reference to the chosen seat, if applicable) need to be stored as long as neccessary to reconstruct possible infection paths.

  • The maximum number of people must not be exceeded at any time.

  • Ticket sales should happen online if possible to prevent queues at the box office.

Selling tickets contactless online, requesting personal data, and issuing personalized tickets โ€“ these are things we've been good at for years. Most other ticketing systems will likely be able to handle this as well.

However, implementing the minimum distance between seats can be a lot harder. Since the distance does not need to be kept between everyone, e.g. not between people living in the same household, it's not really feasible to just release every other seat in every other row. This wouldn't allow partners or families to sit next to each other and would lead to sub-optimal usage of your available space.

We're therefore proud to announce to be the first ticketing system on the market (to our knowledge) implementing minimum distance seating in our software. As soon as a buyer books a number of seats, not only the booked seats, but also all seats surrounding them in a certain radius are automatically blocked as well. All we need is a seating plan based on a true-to-scale chart of your hall.

This feature is available for all our customers today. If you're not yet using pretix, it's really simple to switch and possible in as little as 1-3 business days.

Update May 31st: Additionally, it is now possible to enforce a certain booking order within a row, e.g. to only allow booking starting in the middle of a row or at the aisle. If the user tries to select different seats, they are presented with an error message as well as with a button to switch seats automatically.

In our simulations, this can improve the number of people fitting into the room by up to 20 % if there's a minimum distance of one seat, and by up to 80 % if there is a minimum distance of four seats.

What else pretix can do? Everything a ticketing system needs to. Have a look around in our features section or give us a call.

Raphael Michel

Raphael is the founder and main developer of pretix. He is passionate about user-friendly, elegant software, and when he's not busy building software for conference organizers, he enjoys co-organizing con­fer­en­ces himself.

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