Working with event ticketing suppliers

February 06, 2019

Excerpt from 'How to Wrestle an Octopus: an agency account manager's guide to pretty much everything'. Available now!

If you are responsible for planning an event, you may decide to enlist the services of an external ticketing supplier, which is especially helpful if allocated seating is involved, or if you have a large number of expected attendees. Ticketing agencies can provide:

  • Online booking and sales facility.
  • Ability to pre-select seating online/seating charts/reserved seating.
  • Multi-day and multi-level pricing.
  • Discount codes.
  • Branded tickets.
  • Ticket sales 24/7.
  • A range of ticket options such as early-bird pricing discount or incentive; pre-sales; pre-prints; complimentaries.
  • Social media shares.
  • Ticket delivery options (e-tickets/physical tickets).
  • Multiple payment options with secure payment processing.
  • Automatic email confirmations.
  • A door list to check off names.
  • A handheld scanner to electronically validate tickets.

Not all ticketing suppliers are created equal

Service levels will differ between suppliers, as will the fees charged. You may find one may be cheap and good for general admission (GA) tickets, but not so good for seated events. Another may be great for handling a range of seating options, but may not offer much in the way of marketing.

It pays to shop around and compare what you will get for your client’s money, and ask each agency what they will do for you. A ticketing agency can add value to the deal by including free marketing in their eDM and on their website.

Types of fees/charges

There are both INSIDE and OUTSIDE charges.

  • Inside charges. The amount your client will pay the ticketing agency (e.g. $2 for every ticket). The inside charge will fluctuate for each event, depending on the cost of each ticket and the number of tickets you anticipate you’ll sell. The fee will also differ depending on what additional services the ticketing agency will supply.
  • Outside charges. The fees which the attendees will pay (e.g. booking fee, delivery or ‘convenience’ fee, etc.).

Both ticket costs and transaction charges will affect purchasing decisions. You may be able to get the outside charge included in the ticket price so that it looks as though there is no transaction fee (which can be off-putting to some people).

Alternatively, you may choose to drop your ticket price and have the ticketing supplier increase their fee, of which the increase is then given back to you. The result is that the buyer thinks the entry fee is reasonable, and that the ticket company charges like a wounded bull, but the loyalty to your client, or their brand, is maintained.

Locked in

If you are dealing with a particular venue for your event, you should find out if they are locked in with a specific ticketing supplier; if so, you may be obligated to use their supplier exclusively. Obviously, this is in the venue’s best interest rather than your client’s. However, as they work on a contract pricing model, it may be possible for you to secure a cheaper deal than going directly to the supplier yourself.



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