Holiday Trains

It was just Halloween, but it’s that time of year. Time to start gearing up for Holiday Trains. Whether you are running your own event or an event like The Polar Express ™ , it’s a lot of work, planning, and stress during the holiday season.

So, how do you work smart and not hard this holiday season? Well, there are some options available for you.

  • Stop selling tickets manually- Some railroads still sell tickets by keeping manual logs. Taking up a lot of staff’s energy and leaving opportunities for mistakes and overbooking. It’s a control thing. We’ve all been there, not trusting computers, keeping paper or excel logs, even when the software is doing its job. However, electronic booking has been around long enough that it’s pretty reliable, no matter who you go with as a vendor. And, you can still do souvenir tickets with online booking. There is no downside to electronic ticketing, as long as you have reliable internet. Your staff will thank you!
  • Assigned Seating- Again, with the electronic system…. but it makes seat assignments so much easier. And you have choices as to how you assign your cars. Move away from having to go through open seating cars, policing families who spread out, or use seats for blankets and jackets. When your trips are busy, assigned seating helps control the masses, making it a better experience for the guest and the staff.
  • Staff/Volunteer Assignments- Another considerable element of holiday trains is managing staff and volunteers. Anyone’s blood pressure rising just reading this? There are solutions to this, as well. Specifically with Dynamic Ticket Solutions. We offer a Crew Caller module with our software. This solution allows management to enter staff and volunteers into the system according to their skill levels, and the staff needs for any excursion. Then either a manager schedules staff and send out a scheduled email to everyone, or…. a request to fill email is sent out for staff and volunteers pick when they can work. Either way, you know what your needs are and what roles need to be filled. For more information or a quick 15-minute demo of crew caller module, email us at sales@dynamicticketsolutions.com
  • Bad Weather / Train Cancellations- So, bad weather happens. Most of the time, it’s not a big deal, and trains run regardless. However, sometimes weather or other factors do cause an excursion to be canceled. That can be a big headache calling and canceling all of the tickets for that train. here is a solution (with DTS!) that allows you to automatically cancel a train and refund all tickets with one button.
  • Reindeer- For those with Reindeer….. if you offer a petting zoo experience, that can be a ticketed event too!
  • Reports and Marketing- Who came to your event? Where were they from? How much do you owe to a licensing company? How much did you make on the event? Cookie-cutter reports don’t always provide the data you need or if they do it’s time-consuming to piece together the information to give a big-picture look at your event. Make sure your ticketing company can provide you what you need to be successful both this season and preparing for next year.

Dynamic Ticket Solutions strives to provide a system that not only handles your ticketing needs, but your management, marketing, and customer experience needs as well. Please give us a call 1-856-779-0230 or email sales@dynamicticketsolutions to discuss what we can do to help your organization grow.

When technology isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Technology is supposed to make our lives better, easier, and less stressful. In a lot of ways it does. In other ways, the increased demand for technology leaves us frustrated, causing more stress when things don’t work and lower levels of customer service. Like when you need internet, but there is no feasible way to connect internet to a moving train. What’s a railroad supposed to do for retail on the train?

Sure, doing it old school with a register and cash only is an acceptable solutions. Or is it? Do you have a POS system in your retail store and would using a register cause more work on the back end? How are you tracking inventory with your register? Could you increase sales if you start taking credit cards on the train?

Fortunately, necessity is the mother of invention. DTS continuously strives to find solutions to problems railroads face. In this situation, DTS has already created a dependable solution that works well in unifying sales, inventory, and reporting across the whole railroads retail and concessions system. The POS solutions allows for credit card sales on the train, even without internet. As well as the availability to create tabs and collect credit card tips.

To learn more about the remote POS solution or other products DTS offers, email us at sales@dynamicticketsolutions.com or call us a 1-856-779-0230.

Do you have challenges that you don’t have a solution to just yet? Why not send us your issue to see if we have a solution or can create a solution for you? We always love a challenge! sales@dynamicticketsolutions.com

To Assign, or not to Assign

Customer satisfaction is at the top of the list for any company looking to promote customer loyalty, word of mouth, and increased revenue, for railroads, that includes how the passenger is seated. There are many different methods used by different railroads for different types of excursions. And there are many different customer preferences as well.Customer satisfaction is at the top of the list for any company looking to promote customer loyalty, word of mouth, and increased revenue, for railroads, that includes how the passenger is seated. There are many different methods used by different railroads for different types of excursions. And there are many different customer preferences as well.

Open Seating – This allows a first-come, first-serve option. Customers know they need to arrive early to get the seats they want. However, the wrangling of the customers is often the outcome, as the instinct is to spread out, reducing the number of seats together for larger families.

Seating by Car – This is similar to open seating, but is the first step to controlling the masses.

Assigned Seating by the Railroad – Assigned seating by the railroad allows complete control over where the passenger sits. This includes seating groups, families with children, allowing courtesy seating on light trains, or assigning all seats on busy days. Customers don’t have to fight for their seats, yet they also have very little control over where they sit, such as the known “good” side of the train.

Assigned Seating by the Guest – This assigned seating method allows the guest to pick their seats at the time of booking. If they aren’t happy with the seats available that day, they can choose a different day to find their perfect seats. Putting the choice in the guest’s hands allows for the optimum customer experience except when there is equipment changes or unforeseen seating issues.

There is no right or wrong way to handle seating, as every railroad is different and every excursion has its own needs. What is essential is to have a reservations system that can handle your seating needs, one that is adaptable to your current and future needs.

If you feel like you are missing the tools needed to offer the best customer service for seating at your railroad, contact us, and we can help! sales@dynamicticketsolutions.com

Get ‘em while they’re HOT!

Many tourist railroads rely on Volunteers to keep the wheels turning.  We know from our experience working with railroads that many Volunteers were Guests first.  It may have been a Santa Train, or a Charter (a bridal shower or bachelor party) or maybe, Father’s Day.  Somehow, they rode the train, had fun, and decided to get involved.  

So how do you engage your Guests and invite them to Volunteer?   

Broadcast the invitation to volunteer on all channels.   

Post clear and easy to find information on your website.  Detail the types of skills needed and tasks to be done.  Photos of current Volunteers “at work” doing fun stuff will go a long way.

Post photos and video of Volunteers at work or enjoying the annual banquet or awards ceremony on your social media.  With permission, tag the Volunteers pictured so their friends can see what they are up to – they may want to join in too.

Depending on your business rules, eg. you may require volunteers to join as members first, or take a course for certification, you can invite Volunteers to register online either during the ticket purchase process or through a link on your website.  An automatically generated “post-excursion email” may include information on volunteering. The Guest can provide their contact information on a sign up form and indicate areas of skill or interest.  That’s a “hot lead”.  Follow up is key to successful recruitment. An email notification automatically sent to your Volunteer Coordinator when a prospective volunteer submits the interest form prompts them to follow up and take the next step with the prospect. That may be a phone call, another email inviting them to a workday, or registering them for a required training.

Day-old donuts?  No thanks!  Better to get ‘em while they’re HOT!