Ticketing is an important aspect of your attendees’ experience and is usually the main source of an event’s revenue.
There are many factors to ticketing that affect the perceived value of your event. Convenience is hugely important to attendees’ overall event experience, while hidden fees can add a sour taste in their mouth before your event has even started. Likewise, pricing structures must convey a sense of value to your potential customers, otherwise they will not feel incentivised to purchase tickets and attend your event.
Ticketing Service Providers
Before signing up with a ticketing service provider, research the options available and determine the best fit for your event ticketing requirements. Important things to consider include:
- Online user experience – the ticket buying process for attendees should be easy and streamlined.
- Set-up process – the ticketing system needs to be user friendly in setting up your event ticketing requirements and to be able to make any updates as they are required.
- Customer support – for attendees and for you as the event organiser, you need to be able to ask questions or discuss any ticketing issues with a knowledgeable person.
- Customisation – do you get custom design options for your ticket sales page? How is this ticketing provider going to support the branding of your event?
- Ticket price options – does the ticketing system accommodate different ticket types or tiered pricing options?
- Seat allocation – if attendees can select their seats at your event, the ticketing service provider will need to offer an interactive seating plan.
- Fee structure – what fees will be added to your ticket prices and are they charged to attendees or you as the organiser or both?
- Payment – when and how will you be paid for ticket sales? Does the ticketing service provider offer its own secure payment system or integrated with an external payment gateway?
- Ticket format – will attendees require a physical printed ticket, mobile ticket or a scannable E-ticket? How will you validate these tickets at the gate?
- Social media integration – the ability for attendees to share your event across social media channels can help market your event and drive ticket sales.
- Mobile-friendly – many attendees will want to buy tickets as soon as they hear about your event, and if they encounter difficulties they may not follow through.
- Reporting tools – the ability to export and obtain sales breakdowns and activity reports are great tools for understanding how your promotions affect sales.
- Data capture – it can be useful to collect data from your attendees such as demographics (age, gender etc) or location. Does the ticketing service provider offer custom fields on your ticketing page to collect this information?
- Communication – the ability to send ticketing information and updates to attendees via your ticketing provider can streamline communications.
- Refunds and event cancellation – ensure the refund policy is clearly defined and the process can be communicated to attendees at the time they are purchasing their tickets. If your event is cancelled, will you be able to cover the cost of refunding tickets?
Ticketing fee structures can be complicated therefore ensure you have a good understanding of what to expect from your ticketing service provider before you proceed.
- “Inside” fees charged by a ticketing service provider should be accounted for in your budget. For example, a $20 ticket costs $2 in processing fees, therefore you may choose to increase the advertised ticket price to $22 to account for this.
- “Outside” fees such as booking, delivery or payment-processing fees may be applicable therefore factor in these costs to understand how much attendees will need to pay on top of your ticket price.
Ticket Pricing & Sales Strategies
- Ticket pricing is an important consideration of the perceived value of your event. Before you set your ticket prices, undertake some market research and create a ticket sale projection that works within your budget.
- Tiered pricing systems can be a great way to increase your revenue and allows attendees to choose an option that best accommodates their needs. The tiers can be defined by many different metrics – for example, ‘Earlybird’ tickets can be sold at a discount in return for early ticket sales, while ‘VIP’ tickets have extra value added to the experience to account for their higher price.
- Record the ticket income calculation in your budget with GST excluded if you are GST registered. For example, a $20 advertised ticket price will be $17.39 if you are required to pay GST from the income.
- Tickets must be available for purchase at the same time you launch the promotion of your event as the strongest period of engagement is typically when people first hear about the event.
- Social media is a powerful marketing tool for increasing ticket sales. Incentivise the sharing of your event’s ticketing page to take advantage of networks outside of your own reach.
- Creating perceived scarcity can encourage attendees to take the plunge and buy their tickets now. For example, a social media post that points out that there are only 20 VIP tickets left could have them sold in a matter of minutes.
- Competitions can add to the ‘buzz’ around your event and drive ticket sales – remember to account for the prizes in your budget.
Ticket Sale Projections
A useful exercise is to create a ticket sale projection (yield) based on 100%, 75% and 50% scenarios. This will help determine the “contingency” needed in the budget to account for any ticket sale deficiencies.
- If ticket sales are projecting below 50%, this could be an indication to reconsider the viability of the event.
- It is recommended that at least 5% of the budget be kept for contingencies such as poor ticket sales or budget blow-outs.
- Remember to account for complimentary ticket costs—these “freebies” not only use up valuable seats that you could sell, but they may also incur ticketing fees.
- If any sponsorship agreements include complimentary tickets, ensure you have budgeted revenue to cover the cost of these tickets.
Some Ticketing Service Provider options:
Ticketing for Events: What You Need to Know (20bedfordway.com)
Have you Considered?
- Seating allocations – can attendees choose their seats or is it ‘General Admission’?
- Do your event staff, security and volunteers understand the ticketing structure and process enough to explain it to attendees if required?
- What is your policy on ticket reselling? Does your ticket service provider support this option?