Serve, Sell & Scan Tickets with Tablet Computers

Tablet computers, like the ASUS Transformer Prime and Google's Nexus 7, are the hottest consumer products available. Tablets are also great tools for ticket sales and improving gate efficiency when they are used with a handheld barcode scanner. In this post, busy venues and tour guides considering a tablet can read of the potential benefits as well as use with a handheld barcode ticket scanner.

As venue owners and event managers strive towards profitability, they use a full arsenal of tools to meet the every day business challenges. New, white hot, tablet computers are now available to add to their list of tools.

There are numerous tablet computers on the market, each with its own merit and price range. Some, like the Apple iPad, are beautiful pieces of industrial design but lack compatibility with common USB peripherals such as handheld barcode scanners. Rather than consider every tablet on the market, the savvy venue owner may want to concentrate on pragmatic things like cost, compatibility and ease of use.


To serve would-be ticket buyers who use tablets, the first thing a venue should consider is how their website works on a tablet's touch screen.

If a website works well in desktop computer browser, it is safe to assume it will be usable on touch screen devices like a tablet. Many in the technology industry insist that websites should now be built with so-called responsive design standards. Responsive design websites give the same user experience to touchscreens as they do for computer mouse point and click interaction. Optimizing a venue website for touchscreens should be considered a long term goal.

In the short term, venues can test their website to see how well it works with tablet's touchscreen, ensuring the ticket purchase process is satisfactory. Once the event website can serve information to a touchscreen tablet reasonably well, move on to the next step - Sell.


Tablets do one thing very well - make websites mobile. Many types of events will immediately see the benefit of having a mobile point of sale, or "walking box office". Walking tour guides can sell tickets to the next tour on-the-go, even as they conduct the current one. Traditional venues may also like the freedom of selling tickets online using a tablet since it can function as an ancillary point of sale for authorized sales agents, be they on site or remote. Also, a traditional venue may have staff walk along the line of people queued up to buy tickets at the box office window. Sales made in this manner can be for will-call pick up or even as a 21st century barker ("Get your tickets! Tickets here!").

Speaking of the long line in front of the box office, that same tablet used to sell tickets can also be used for admissions. Some, but not all, tablets can have a barcode scanner connected to them and used to scan tickets. If an event venues has multiple entrances, tablets may prove to be a big factor in gate efficiency.


The number one reason venues invest in barcode ticket scanning systems is to improve the efficiency of the box office and the admission gate(s). Spending a lot of time waiting in line is never a good thing. Patrons don't like to do it. Venues don't like it either. The time spent waiting in line to get into an event is not only a crowd safety issue, but it costs the venue money. That time spent waiting outside could be the time patrons spend inside buying food and drinks or souvenirs. Plus, the longer an event takes to complete the more money is spent on staffing.

USB Barcode Scanner

Many tablet computers support a USB handheld barcode scanner, but Apple's popular iPad is not one of them, unfortunately. Over in the non-Apple world of tablets, there are lots of choices.

Business Insider reviewed the Microsoft Surface, which has three USB ports, and mentions the device's support for peripherals including handheld barcode scanners.

There is also the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which has received rave reviews for both its ease of use and low price. The Nexus 7 may be the best choice for venues wanting to try out a tablet for ticket sales and improve gate efficiency.

Additionally, the following tablets have been verified to work with a handheld USB barcode scanner:

The ASUS Transformer Prime, the Acer Iconia, the Windows Tablet with Keyboard, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and 10.1, and the Galaxy Tab 3.

Please contact ThunderTix for more information about the tablets that support handheld barcode scanners and required adapters.

With the barcode scanner attached to the tablet, it is just a matter of using the right software to tie it all together in a unified barcode ticket scanning system.

Barcode Ticket Scanning Software

Not all ticketing software programs are created equal when it comes to barcode ticket scanning. The ability to validate tickets at multiple entrances, have the database update in real time and support cost-effective and easy-to-use handheld is critical when adding a new device like a tablet computer.

ThunderTix has years of experience with barcode scanners and we can help you choose the right ones to work with tablets or the desktop computers your venue already has. We offer complete end-to-end solutions for your event with commercial grade barcode ticket scanning, handheld scanner rentals and upgrade purchases, plus the software to connect it all together. If you have questions, please contact us, we’d love to help you.