The Benefits of Setting Up A Lottery for Ticket Buyers

Hill Farmstead Brewery Logo
Hill Farmstead Brewery Logo

One key challenge of event organization is managing ticket sales when quantity is limited – tickets often sell out instantly and hopeful attendees are left feeling disappointed. One of our clients, Hill Farmstead Brewery, found a way to make buying tickets for their annual Festival of Ales as “fair” as possible.

Hill Farmstead Brewery is a craft beer brewer in Greensboro, VT. According to their website “The brewery is the revival and continuation of 220 years of Hill heritage and hand-crafted history in North Greensboro, Vermont.”

We’ve worked with Bob and Shawn on several of their events and the problem is that their events are a) very small and b) very popular!

In the past, some of their events have literally sold out in seconds. If your clock or watch is 5 seconds behind the next person’s when the tickets go on sale, you could be shut out. Plus, they have visitors from all over the country so while a 10 a.m. on sale might work for their East coast fans, it sucks for a West coast one.

Add in all the other factors of a busy on sale and it’s impossible to make everyone happy.

Making The On-sale Fair

For their annual Festival of Ales, there are only 200 tickets available and they wanted to make the buying process as “fair” as possible. We suggested an online lottery that allowed a window of time to “register” your intent to buy a ticket. 50 random winners would be drawn from the pool of entries who would then be given a window of time to buy their tickets. After that, additional “winners” were chosen until all the tickets were gone.

“We’ve struggled for some time with the challenges of selling our event tickets in the fairest, sanest manner. We collaborated with Ticket Alternative on a lottery system that served two purposes: providing ample opportunity for the most interested people and reducing everyone’s stress levels. Ticket Alternative implemented and executed an excellent, personalized and customized system that made this happen. The result: less stress, far fewer problems and overwhelmingly positive feedback from our patrons.”
Bob M. Montgomery
Hill Farmstead Brewery

The online lottery opened early one morning.  Prospective buyers entered their contact information via an online form hosted on ticketalternative.com. The registration period ended the following evening. It was great because there was no rush and it didn’t matter when you registered,  everyone stood an equal chance of being selected. The rules were simple: one entry per person, one entry per I.P. address. Over 1000 people registered for the chance to buy tickets.

We drew the names of the #Lucky50  – each person was emailed a unique code that allowed them to purchase a maximum of 2 (two) tickets. Again, there was no rush. Once they received their unique code, they had plenty of time to complete their purchase.

The purchase process was simple – click on a link in the email that takes you to a page to enter your code, then complete the purchase.

In addition to contacting everyone by email, we contacted the stragglers by phone, just in case the email wasn’t delivered. The event sold out, lottery winners were thrilled, and all patrons felt they were given a fair shot at the coveted tickets. It was a win for everyone!

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