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Using Event Ticketing Software for Class Registration? Why You May Want to Reconsider

Greg Shula

November 21, 2023

We are still seeing the impact of just how hard the pandemic hit the arts. Many regional theaters shuttered, and those that survived are staging fewer productions. The good news is that arts education is still going strong. Arts organizations that offer classes, workshops, and summer camps have been able to sustain and even grow their revenue in many cases.

Event ticketing software, which many arts organizations use to sell tickets to performances, is not a great fit for registering people for classes.

The bad news is that event ticketing software, which many arts organizations use to sell tickets to performances, is not a great fit for registering people for classes. That’s because theatre ticketing software, sometimes called performing arts ticketing software or box office software, serves a different purpose than course registration software. 

In this article, we’ll compare event ticketing software vs. course registration software, showing the features, benefits, and differences of each. We’ll also show you how many organizations integrate the two types of software to best serve their audiences for both performances and educational classes.

Common Features of Event Ticketing Software

There are many different brands of event ticketing software, some specifically for performing arts organizations and some not. Eventbrite, Arts People, ThunderTix, PatronManager, Tessitura, and Spektrix are just a few examples. Pricing can range from free to various monthly subscriptions based on ticket volume. 

What these types of ticketing software have in common is that they are all designed to sell tickets to one-time events to maximize attendance. While the specifics of each event ticketing software vary, common features include:

  • Mobile, online, and onsite ticketing
  • Barcode/ticket scanning
  • Customer data management
  • Promotions management
  • Seat management

Performing arts organizations will want to pay particular attention to certain features. For instance, ThunderTix and Spektrix offer a reserved seating option, while others do not. All of the event ticketing software platforms listed above include the option to sell season tickets, except for Eventbrite. Be sure to find out whether the ticketing software you’re considering has the features your organization needs. 

Specific Features of Course Registration Software

Event ticketing software is built to sell tickets to different types of events and performances. That could be festivals and conferences, or concerts and plays. Class registration software, on the other hand, is designed to meet the unique needs of education programs. This means it has some helpful features that box office ticketing software lacks. 

Features of course registration software that ticketing software lacks include an online course catalog, customized registration forms to collect the info you need, and automated waitlists that notify students when a spot opens up.

Some features of course registration software include: 

  • Online course catalog. You can create an interactive course catalog with search and filtering tools, so students can browse by topic, date and time, instructor, or other criteria.
  • Waitlists for popular classes. Don’t miss out on potential revenue by keeping track of interested students even when a class is full. CourseStorm has a new feature that allows programs to send customized emails to students on your waitlist when a spot opens up. The registration invitation expires after a set time so you can move on to the next person on the list.    
  • Class rosters. Giving instructors access to class rosters lets them monitor enrollment. You can also notify all the students in each class at one time if there’s a cancellation or message you need to share.
  • Customized registration forms. Tailor forms to collect the specific information you need for each class. You can also include policies and release forms for students to sign.
  • Student portal. Give students access to their class history, payment methods, and upcoming classes. They can also update their contact information and add themselves to classes or waitlists.
  • Attendance tracking. Instructors and admins can track attendance for their classes on desktop or mobile devices to see who attended which classes and who logged attendance.  

The best registration software for classes offers all of these features and more to help you manage courses and support students. Events and performances don’t require most of these features, so event ticketing software is unlikely to have them built in.

Event Ticketing Software vs Course Registration Software: Features chart

Event Ticketing Software vs. Course Registration Software 

Are you thinking that having two different software platforms—one for ticketing and one for classes—sounds unnecessary or too complicated? It’s not when you consider that each of these tools serves a different purpose. 

You might already be using ticketing software and donor management software. If so, you know that they have different features related to each function and you need both. It’s the same with course registration software. Neither ticketing software nor donor management software has the specific features that benefit both education programs and their students, such as customizable registration forms, class rosters, waitlist management features, and more. 

As far as being too complicated, that’s not at all the case with CourseStorm. Designed to be simple and streamlined, it takes very little time to set up your course site and start taking registrations. Our customers appreciate how easy it is to use, and the time it saves them from taking registrations manually or with another tool not designed for that purpose. 

Additionally, it is possible to integrate your various software platforms if you wish. That way, you can use each tool for what it’s intended AND streamline the flow of information back and forth and simplify tasks. 

PatronManager + CourseStorm = PatronStorm

PatronManager is one popular ticketing, fundraising, and customer relationship management platform that built an integration with CourseStorm. Their customers were asking for a solution that would allow them to provide a better class registration experience to students and would also allow administrators to manage things like waitlists, refunds and exchanges, and other class management tasks. That’s how PatronStorm was born.

“We love CourseStorm’s interface. We think it’s so great for our clients to have a truly tailor-made interface that’s designed for class registration.” – Shasti Walsh, PatronManager

“From the PatronManager perspective, we love CourseStorm’s interface. We think it’s so great for our clients to have a truly tailor-made interface that’s designed for class registration rather than trying to shoehorn it into another system,” said Shasti Walsh, PatronManager product manager.  

If you have event ticketing software with all your ticket buyer data, and that integrates with your class registration software that has all your student data, you can do targeted outreach specific to certain audiences. 

Here’s an example: A community theatre is running a Shakespeare class for teens. They want to email all the parents and let them know there’s a weekend performance of Hamlet coming up, weeding out the people who’ve already bought tickets. PatronStorm allows programs to pull the reports necessary to do this.

Other Ways to Integrate CourseStorm With Your Ticketing System

CourseStorm is developing integrations with other performing arts ticketing software platforms as well, such as Spektrix. If you’re interested in being a beta tester for our Spektrix integration, get in touch with us

If you use another event ticketing solution, you may still be able to integrate it with class registration software. Check out Zapier to see if your software can connect to CourseStorm.

Zapier is an online automation tool that connects your apps and services with no coding required. “Zaps” are connections you can build between two or more apps to automate repetitive tasks without relying on developers to build the integration.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for events, classes, and donors that meets the needs of every organization. But there are tools available that offer the features you need for each of your offerings. CourseStorm is a great way to streamline and even grow your class registrations, with helpful integrations to boot. Try CourseStorm for free and learn how it can work for your program!

Greg Shula

Greg has spent a decade analyzing business and marketing performance metrics of the companies he has worked with. He uses his analytical mind and investigative skills to find trends and simple answers from complicated data sets. Greg is also an amateur photographer who loves to capture nature from new perspectives.

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