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The organizer for a programming conference is wondering how to release tickets in a way that's fair for people in all timezones.

He's wanting people from all around the world to attend (and there's already speakers from the Americas, Europe and Asia), and is worried that if he releases a batch of tickets at a specific time, then people living in some countries will be able to buy them all while people in other countries are still asleep.

Currently, he's thinking of releasing one batch of tickets at one time, and another batch at a different time.

Will this solve the problem? What other approaches to this problem exist?

closed as off topic by jcmeloni, CincinnatiProgrammer, Rachel, Yamikuronue, Monica Cellio Mar 25 '13 at 14:39

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  • @tohecz I can! ;) – Andrew Grimm Mar 25 '13 at 0:08
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    Hi Andrew, I voted to close your question as off-topic because this question does not appear to be about the Workplace environment, but is instead about something related to a specific job function. If I'm incorrect in this, can you edit your question to clarify how this question applies to the workplace in general? Thanks :) – Rachel Mar 25 '13 at 12:56
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An approach I saw work well once (not a conference but another limited-availability online purchase) was this: the tickets were released in four batches, six hours apart. If any were left from an earlier batch they remained available for sale, but this meant people had a pretty good chance of hitting one of the windows for a new influx of tickets. I think they sold the last ticket a few hours after the final batch was released.

(Dreamwidth permanent memberships, a couple years ago, in case you're wondering.)

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I would have thought the better way to make it fair is to allocate a certain number of tickets to each area/region if you want equal participation/attendance. Of course, you could set a time limit so after an initial period then the remaining unsold tickets are opened up to everyone else that is interested.

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I'm not sure how fast the places on the conference are sold. He/She can think of a reasonable treshold like 30%. If less than 30% of the places are sold on the first day, you can release all tickets at once.

If the tickets get sold too quickly, he/she might consider selling the tickets in different times of day, and maybe in days not consecutive, like Monday+Thursday week 1, and Tuesday+Friday week 2, so that people who travel or so have the chance to get their place, too.

However, if this is the case, maybe he/she should reconsider some parameters of the conference, like capacity, ticket price, scope etc. Having to "fight" for the places may discourage many possible participants who might form a good auditorium, but they (or they employer) are not so accustomed to "the modern fast world", or they simply don't like it.

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