Ticketing Options

One of my (probably way too many!) volunteer positions is that I organize a thrice-yearly meeting of all of the arts marketing folks in the lower mainland. This happens via The Alliance for Arts and Culture.

A couple weeks back, we had our final meeting of 2011, and the focus was on Ticketing Options.

If you are a business that runs any kind of event, you will likely be in need of some kind of ticketing. Ticketmaster, while it might be the industry leader, is probably not a great option for most businesses, especially if they are small. The service charges are hefty, adding quite a large chunk (often around $7) to you ticket price. If you are selling tickets for a nominal fee, in the $10-20 range, here are some other options.

  • Tickets Tonight: if you live in Vancouver, Tickets Tonight is the only ticketing service in town that offers half-price tickets. All of the major cultural centres have a half-price ticket booth (when I was in London, it was the first stop of my day!), and this is ours. They offer full ticketing services, as well, and the fees are: $125 admin setup fee, plus a $3.75 service fee on a $20 ticket (online), PLUS $5 per order if purchasing by phone. One exciting thing that Tickets Tonight is going to introduce in the next few months, is being able to purchase tickets via Facebook. You can see that application in action here.
  • Pay Pal: while you certainly can get a Pay Pal account and sell tickets that way, this bare-bones method also has its drawbacks. For a nominal fee, you can purchase a service that works with Pay Pal, and looks much more professional.
  • Constant Contact has just added an event marketing and ticketing option on to their services. This could be a great option for businesses already using CC for their email marketing.
  • In-venue ticketing: if you’re hiring a venue for your event, do they have ticketing options you can purchase?
  • Other companies: do you know of other companies or businesses that are doing ticketing? Would they subcontract their services to you?

Factors to consider when choosing ticketing services:

  • Financial (how much will it cost you, and what service fees to purchasers)
  • Technical (General admission only, or can they handle assigned seating? What about different price ranges or discounts?)
  • User experience (is it positive? And can you use it to build long-term audience relationships?)

What experiences have you had, both as a purchaser and a seller, of online ticketing services?

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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