Best Practices for Assigned Seating with Social Distancing

Assigned seating with social distancing can quickly become complicated. We recommend that you keep your setup as simple as possible and provide clear instructions for ticket buyers in order to minimize confusion. Here are a few different ways you can handle socially distanced assigned seating at your event.

The Easiest Way: First Come First Served 

The simplest way to ensure socially distanced seating is to assign seats on a first-come-first-served basis at the venue. As attendees arrive, direct them to the next available group of seats while maintaining an adequate distance between groups. This method works best for venues with fixed seating, like theaters. 

Make sure to specify on your event page that seating will be first-come-first-served.

For Venues With Tiered Price Sections

If your venue has multiple sections with tiered prices (for example: Orchestra, Mezzanine, and Balcony), create a separate price for each section. When attendees arrive, direct them to the next available seats in their purchased section.

  • Don't forget to adjust the max sales for each price to match the capacity of each section. 
  • Feel free to embed an image of your venue in your event's full description so buyers can see where each section is located.

A Little More Work: Plan Out Pods Ahead of Time

If first-come-first-served seating isn't feasible, another option is to plan out pod seating ahead of time, based on the tickets sold. This way, when attendees arrive you can direct them to a group of seats that fits their party size. This method works best for venues with chairs you can easily move around.

Use the Price Description or Date/Time Notes fields to direct ticket buyers to purchase all tickets for their group in a single order. Then use your Attendee List to arrange your venue's seating into pods based on the number of tickets per buyer.

Alternately, add a questionnaire to your event asking buyers to specify how many people are in their party. You may also want to ask for the names of any other buyers they would like to be seated with.

Use Pod Group Pricing to Let Ticket Buyers Reserve Their Own Seats

If you want to allow ticket buyers to choose their own seats from a seating chart, you'll need to know how your venue will be set up before you create your event. We recommend creating socially distanced pods by blocking seats in your theater or grouping chairs together in your event space. Pods can range from one person to groups of six or more. 

When creating your event, set up pod group pricing and indicate that your event requires a seating chart on the Settings tab.

Our Technical Event Support team can then create a seating chart based on your venue setup. This will ensure that ticket buyers will be only able to select a group of seats that matches their group size.

Note: Seating charts cannot be changed once tickets have been sold. If you need to reconfigure your seating arrangements mid-sales, it will not be reflected in your seating chart.

How to Set Up Pod Group Pricing

  1. Log in to your Brown Paper Tickets account
  2. From the Account menu, select Manage Your Events
  3. Click Go! next to the event title
  4. Select the Dates & Prices tab from the dark gray bar
  5. In the Add a Price box, enter the price name and value of a single ticket
    1. The price name should reflect the pod size, i.e. Single Ticket, 2 Seat Pod, 3 Seat Pod, etc.
  6. Click Show Advanced Price Options
  7. Under the Price Limitations section:
    1. Edit the MIN PER ORDER to reflect the number of seats in the pod
    2. Change the INTERVAL to reflect the number of seats in the pod
  8. Click Add This Price
  9. Repeat for all pod sizes

Communication is Key

Socially distanced assigned seating is a new concept for everyone, so your ticket buyers will likely have questions. Regardless of which method you choose for assigning seats, make sure to communicate with your buyers to help your day-of run smoothly.

Before Purchase

Include information on the ticketing page to let potential buyers know how assigned seating will work. 

After Purchase

In the days leading up to the event, send a notification to your ticket buyers to remind them of any important information. If seating is first-come-first-served, let them know when doors open and advise them to arrive early for the best seats.