Should you sell tickets online?
Short answer: Yes! (Well, we're a little biased)...but seriously, the decision whether or not to sell tickets online comes down to a few basic parameters plus the special consideration of per-ticket fees. When you sell tickets online, you'll experience significant benefits both in terms of actual sales and increased efficiency.
- Event frequency
- Event location
- Event ticket sale methods
- Ticket fees
Below represents our decades of experience in helping folks just like you sell tickets online.
Event frequency: One time event or ongoing?
If your event is just a one time thing, and you have no plans to ever sell tickets online for another event, online ticket sales may not be a good fit (and that’s Ok). There is a small amount over overhead to online ticket sales (merchant account, website integration, etc.) that may be too much for a one-time neighborhood charity fundraiser.
If your event is is set to occur a couple of times in a year, but your estimated ticket volume is below ~1,000, there are several simple ticket services. These handy services don’t have any overhead, that let you sell tickets online in low volumes (other than per-ticket fees, but more on that later) for one-time events. The bare bones service may be just what you need since more robust services, like ThunderTix, could be overkill.
That said, if your event repeats more than a few times a year, and/or your estimated ticket total surpasses the ~1,000 mark, selling tickets online starts to become more of a necessity. The previously mentioned bare bones services, with their low overhead, will start to under serve you and your recurring event as time goes on. Multiple events will need more robust tools to help you manage the different dates, times, ticket prices, purchase tracking, and sending confirmation emails.
- A one-time event with less than 1,000 people means selling ticket online is not required.
- 2 or 3 events in a year with less than 1,000 tickets total consider one of the simple, bare bones ticket services.
- 3 or more events in a year or more than 1,000 total tickets to sell: Yes, you should sell tickets online (Preferably with us!)
With the event frequency and ticket total parameters addressed, the next consideration would be the location at which your event(s) will take place.
Event location: Permanent venue or different every time?
If you are planning to rent or temporarily lease a venue, online ticket sales can greatly reduce the amount of time and money you spend overall. Managing an event is a lot of work and the last thing you need to be doing is spending time online telephone or babysitting a FAX machine to sell tickets or accept RSVPs.
A common misconception about selling tickets online is that one must be the owner of a venue. One need not be a building owner, or even the official lessee, to sell tickets online. Proper ticketing services are happy to deal directly with event managers, be they the person renting a venue or not. ThunderTix prides itself on being a person-to-person service and have a long roster of busy event managers who are responsible for tickets sales only, not the venue itself.
The big advantage of selling tickets online for events that travel from place to place is that the ticketing service travels right along with you, be it from neighborhood to neighborhood or across the country. The best ticketing services are "in the cloud," and only require a laptop computer to get everything taken care of at each new venue.
Should you in fact be the venue owner and your facility is host to multiple events, the same cloud based ticketing software that helps the traveling event manager is also a way to lower costs and not have racks of computers inside the box office. Keeping and maintaining your own expensive computers to sell tickets online is an overhead costs that cloud based ticketing software eliminates since all the heavy lifting during times of high ticket demand is left to the ticketing service. Better still, the same ticketing software that help you sell tickets online will help you and get customers in the door and into their seats on the day of the event.
- Events that change location sell tickets online because the cloud ticketing moves with you.
- Events at a permanent location sell tickets online to lower costs and make use of box office management features.
Assuming you've made it this far, a couple more things to consider...
Ticket sale methods: Webpage, telephone reservation or a pdf?
You may already be selling tickets or accepting reservations using a static pdf form that your customers download and fill-out. A pdf form is a quick and dirty way to sell tickets “online” but in the long term pdf forms are inefficient for you (manual data entry) and an inconvenience for your paying customers. Assuming they even have access to a FAX machine, which is rapidly becoming an antique, a web page is now the pervasive expectation. But that tried and true pdf can serve as a template for your choice in online ticketing software, since the first task to sell tickets online is creating a new event. When using ThunderTix to sell tickets online, you will notice that we have use plain English throughout the event creation process and have avoided ticketing industry jargon. The fields in your current pdf form may very match the fields in our ticketing software, lessening what little learning curve there is.
As far as having people call on the telephone to buy tickets or make reservations, that is actually a big money loser. Office hours don’t match the buying behavior of the busy consumer. 24 hour a day online shopping has spoiled your would-be new customer and they’ll expect to be able to make an impulse buy at their convenience - not yours. And for those with a brick and mortar box office, the best ticketing software combines 24/7 online ticket sales with the ability for staff to perform telephone sales and support.
If your business or event already has a website or just a WordPress blog, selling tickets online is actually much easier than you think thanks to embed codes. Embeds codes are little pieces of computer code that you add to a webpage or blog post which enable you to sell ticket online with just a few mouse clicks. Best of all, ticketing software creates these embed codes for you and tracks all the sales in your account. Embeds codes are a standard feature for all ThunderTix accounts and are one of the most popular features of our service. Our embed codes allow you to display your events with our event calendar HTML, events listing, or events date search.
- Telephone and pdf forms are an inconvenience to ticket buyers, websites and blogs rule the day when it comes to selling tickets.
- Easy to use embed codes make selling tickets online as easy as a simple copy and paste.
Special consideration: Ticket fees (yuck)
Oh boy. Ticket fees. Everybody hates them.
Per-ticket fees are the bane of both venue owners and ticket buyers alike. Some ticketing software companies charge the venue owner a fee every time a ticket is sold. And it goes without saying how much consumers hate unreasonable tickets fees.
ThunderTix is famous in the ticketing industry for not charging per-ticket fees and offering a flexible subscription to our service. ThunderTix allows you to sell tickets online with no fees. Other ticketing services (both the bare bones kind and big formal ticketing software) charge you a fee for each and every ticket sold. Worse, some charge you and your customers a fee, ouch!
We do not apply any fees of our own during the purchase process, and you keep all of the fees that you care to add. If you are adding fees, create clear, easy-to-understand names for each fee, as these are exactly what is shown to the ticket buyer. You can call it “Service Charge” or “Online Ticketing Fee”, or even “Mandatory Donation”.
Even at low ticket volumes, if a ticketing service charges you per-ticket fees, that can quickly add-up and take a big bite out of your profits. But by offering a subscription based service, ThunderTix no fee policy can not only save you money, it can actually make your event more profitable.
We have a neat little online calculator that you can use to see just how much money ticketing services that charge fees hurt your bottom line. Check it out when you have the time and compare other ticketing services to ThunderTix.
Beyond per-ticket fees, there is something you should know about many ticketing services - long wait times for you to get your money. Some ticketing service hold your ticket sales dollars in their bank account for days and sometimes weeks, earning interest on your hard earn money.
But with ThunderTix you won’t have to wait until the day of the performance, or after the show, for your ticket sales dollars. As tickets are purchased, all ticketing dollars are directly deposited nightly into your own business bank account. Use the money as it comes in to promote and advertise the event or other events you may have upcoming. In addition to having immediate access to your ticket sales revenue, ThunderTix has partnered with preferred merchant account providers at rates well below those imposed by most ticketing providers.
- Everyone (venues and the public) hate per-tickets fees. Be wary of ticketing services that charge you fees.
- ThunderTix never charges you or your customers per-ticket fees and we give you total control over any fees you choose to charge.
...that's it! You now have the basic information you need to decide whether or not to sell tickets online.
Sell tickets online with ThunderTix
ThunderTix is an easy-to-use online ticket selling platform. You can sell event tickets online via your website, your blog or on a third party website – in any combination or all three at the same time – in addition to selling tickets over the phone and in-person. More places people can buy tickets = more ticket sales. And yes, online ticket sales are really that easy!
If you have questions, or are in a hurry to sell tickets online, you are welcome to contact us and we’ll take care of you right away. If you would like to learn more about ThunderTix, you are encouraged to read more about our features and pricing plans.
Outstanding customer support when you need it
We know that making the jump to selling tickets online can be a big step. Our customer support is there to help you make the transition to online ticket sales, improved box office management and higher profits. But don’t take our word for it, ask our beloved customers who are hard working business owners just like you!
We’ve been using ThunderTix for a few years now, and have been quite happy with it. I spent hours researching different ticketing options, and found ThunderTix to be the most versatile for the money. The staff is very responsive and helpful – we receive excellent support.
- Jennifer Estlin, Executive Producer Annoyance Theater