How TidyHQ Saved Christmas

The problem.

The problem

To collect the details and in some cases, money, from around 1000 people who were to attend our Children’s Christmas party.

The tricky bit

Only allow the (substantially) subsidised Ticket prices to Club Members andget the details of all the kids for Santa.


Our Club has been in existence for nearly 90 years.

In the pre-computer age, bookings for our mega Christmas Event were done on paper, with cash, cheque or later, credit card details (also on paper) and then the names of the people were checked against the member ledger (the size of a ping pong table). If they weren’t members, they had to be chased up and notified (no email in those days).

This made the elves very unhappy.

Some small progress was made when the ping pong table ledgers were replaced with a hand crafted database, but that fell into a heap when the IT guru left our organisation and no one knew how to update it.

In the last ten years, or so, we’ve used an online form and more recently online payment, which was basically just the paper system…on a screen. We had all the details, but still had to check that people were members (using the increasingly wonky database system).

We desperately needed a system that could:

  • check for membership,
  • get all the information and
  • not make the volunteer/elve’s heads explode.

And we also had issues every year with the form (or, really, the members filling out the form). Apparently, for a lot of people, remembering to list the actual attending children’s details for a Children’s Christmas Party was too difficult.​​

Enter TidyHQ

​​Utilising TidyHQ Events fully for the first time, meant we could not only control certain tickets to Members only but we could set maximum numbers of tickets to be purchased AND for the tickets for Santa’s elves, record the kid’s information.

​​The real killer feature for us was the ability to collect information only on the ticket types that required it (i.e. the children) and also collect information for the whole order (i.e. the mobile number of the member).

​​The Tickets

  1. ​​Members (adults) needed to pay for their tickets.
  2. ​​Member’s children 0–15 years, were free.
  3. ​​Member’s children 0–12 years get a gift from Santa
  4. ​​Member’s could also bring extra children (who get a gift if 12 years or under) but they needed to pay a heavily subsidised fee per extra child.
  5. ​​Non-Members could attend and their children get a gift, but they must pay a less subsidised amount. For non-member’s children, different age groups cost different amounts.

​​All very complicated. Thankfully, TidyHQ handled it with ease.

​​Nuts & bolts

​​For the children’s tickets, we created Custom Fields to record the required information for Santa:

  • ​​Member’s Child Age — drop down with values (0 (Baby) — 12 years).
  • ​​Child’s Gender — radio buttons (radio buttons are an either/or case)
  • ​​Child’s Name — single line text
  • ​​For Member’s Children who were 13–15, we just needed to know how many children would be attending for catering purposes.

Figure 1 : The tickets were smart enough to know which required mandatory information and which didn’t. No more blank details! (Some ticket types have been removed from this example to make it easier to read).

​​For the particular Ticket type that required information for Santa’s Elves, for the number of tickets requested, that number of mandatory fields were presented to the user to fill in. No more blanks.

​​Where it all came together was the booking form.

Figure 2: If someone nominated, for example, two children, the system then prompted for the mandatory information for two children. No more blank details! Happy Elf Dance!


  1. ​​The CSV allowed for easy calculations of totals for ages/genders of kids for Santa’s Elves.
  2. ​​Easy payment system for the members (unlike the slightly flaky previous year’s attempts).
  3. ​​Only Members got the discount. This. Is. Huge. This reduced the Elves workload by an enormous amount.
  4. ​​For the less confident users, we were able to take their details and Invoice them and they just had to pay the invoice but all the details were still recorded in the system. Bliss.
  5. ​​Making the right number of fields mandatory for the nominated children. Not one blank child’s name, age or gender in all the orders.
  6. ​​Being able to stipulate a closing date/time for bookings and not having to remember to turn off the form.


  1. ​​A very small number of members took out extra membership (because they didn’t login with the correct email address).
  2. ​​A (very, very) small number of members used an ancient version of Internet Explorer (versions 7 or 8) — all on the same day — and chaos ensued.
  3. ​​A few people used multiple orders to bypass some of the restrictions. It was unfortunate, but compared to last year’s issues, not worth the time chasing the people up for more money.
  4. ​​The system generated PDF tickets caused a few headaches at the venue (who have their own ticketing system to be issued on the day).


​​Overall, the process was a enormous success.

The Event’s downloadable Transaction CSV file was a huge, largely unanticipated bonus. Although a separate custom spreadsheet had to be prepared for Santa’s Toy Shop supplier, for the first time in memory, it was a trivial task. And this alone saved literally days of work.

If you’re thinking about running your Event through TidyHQ — do it!

Sue Brown
Dec 4, 2017 • 4 min read
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