Assigned, Reserved And General Seating - What's The Difference?

Assigned seating, reserved tables, open seating, general admission, why are there so many options?! Before deciding on your floor plan, you need to understand the different ways to handle your seating arrangements. Let's get started!


Assigned Seating Purplepass assigned seating

Have you ever purchased a ticket online where it had you pick your seat in advance? A concert maybe? The movie theaters? That was assigned seating. It's as simple as that. With assigned seating, you give your guests the choice to pick their seats on a first come, first served basis.

You can also do tiered pricing depending on the layout of the venue. For example, front row can be VIP priced, the ground floor can be an extra fee, and the back rows can be the lowest priced seats because they are the least desired. 

Benefits of assigned seating events: 

  • Guests can pick their seats before the event 
  • Encourages sales early on, as the best seats sell out quickly
  • Offers different prices depending on the seat selection 
  • Handicap/disabled can see the venue layout before the event, finding a seat that works for their needs
  • Family can coordinate to sit by one another
  • Guests are prepared and knowledgeable about the venue layout beforehand
  • Eliminates people saving seats with jackets or uncomfortable situations
  • Eliminates the chaos and confusion of deciding where to sit



Reserved Tables or Booths
tables and booths seating chart

So what does reserved seating mean? Reserved chairs, tables and booths is just a fancier way of saying assigned seating; think of it like that. Some people say assigned, some people say reserved. 

With reservations for tables and booths, one party member can hold an entire table at the event for their guests all under one name. The tricky part is finding an event registration that supports reservations for tables, booth, etc. Purplepass' seating system allows for huge flexibility regarding this issue.

Whether you are selling seats in rows, seats at a table, whole tables, selling booths for your vendors, or a combination of all of them, they can be supported and easily shown on your customized seating map; this is provided for free, I might add.


Benefits of reservations supporting tables and booths: 

  • Great for social events (networking, dinning, auctions, etc.)
  • Guests can reserve an entire section if they want it to themselves or share other seats at the table
  • Online drink sales can be made and assigned to the tables ahead of time 



General Admission (Open Seating/Unreserved)

large crowd attending a concert

General admission or open seating is the popular choice for most events. It's easy; guests purchase tickets, are admitted and free to choose their seats upon arrival. However, this leads to the hustle and bustle of the first come, first served scenario.  

Benefits of general admission/an open seating plan: 

  • No time wasted on creating a seating chart
  • Guests can sit where they want and change their minds about seating choices
  • Check out for tickets is faster and easier online


  • May have to arrive early to get good seats depending on the demand 
  • Seats can't always be guaranteed if venue over books
  • Less organization for your guests
  • Can be chaotic and awkward if you hold seats for others


If you have more questions about your event's seating options or question about our services, you can request a free site demo below. Our map building services are free and unlimited, so take advantage of them!

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