Sell More, Sooner – How to Use Ticket Presales

How to Use Ticket Presales

Last week, consumer advocate Nedra Rhone published some tips to help consumers get tickets to popular events. Rhone's list of tips are insider tactics used by the ticketing industry that she encourages the public to try for themselves  Of particular vote to venue owners is the emphasis on how to use presales.

Since Rhone is known for her consumer advocacy, she includes some rather alarmist language for the less than scrupulous use of so-called “holdbacks.” The intrepid Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter makes some valid statements on box office practices that do hurt the consumer, but ultimately she encourages ticket buyers to treat presales as a positive resource. From Rhone's ‘Score tickets to big events’:

Get in on the presale action! Holdbacks occur when artists, management, venues and ticketing companies pre-sell or reserve tickets to fan club members, VIPs, premium credit card holders and personal acquaintances...The upshot? Join the fan clubs of your favorite artists. Look for alerts from your credit card company regarding pre-sales. Get on the mailing lists of venues that host big events.

Rhone first exclamation (“Get in on the presale action!”) is a call to action for venue owners and event organizers, not just buyers.

If Rhone’s tips for the man-on-the-street are any indication, the ticket buying populous is aware of the practice of holdbacks. It may not be in the best interest of a venue owner, or a sales agent, to be labeled a market manipulator. Instead, the creative use of a pre-sale can be just as productive of a sales tool, and even more so, than shadowy holdbacks.

As Rhone tells her readers, a VIP or “early-bird” sale can do wonders for reducing ticket stock. One need only a catchy title to name the sale with. In fact, a series of consecutive pre-sales, each with their own unique name, can cause a huge chunk of inventory to be sold quite quickly.

When thinking of how to use ticket presales, consider the amount of tickets you would normally hold in reserve and divide that into three. The three blocks can be their own separate presales, rather than just one single event.

1. Presale for Previous Buyers

Using your mailing list of previous buyers, make use of one of the modern tools like MailChimp and send an exclusive offer to participate in the earliest of presales. The event can be in the same genre as was their last purchase, but that is not required. The presale ticket price for past buyers can be discounted, but more important is the exclusivity. You may be surprised how well a exclusive presale offer to established customers performs. Described how they qualify for the presale just because of their past purchase and the presale does not have to be for a discounted price at all ("secret sale - Shhhhh").

2. Presale for Friends of Friends

If the first presale didn't clear out the ticket allotment, you can run a second presale for so-called friends of friends. One of social media’s most powerful attributes is its amplification effect. At the very end of the first presale, within the confirmation email sent post-purchase, you can include the means for those buyers to share their presale purchase achievement with their friends.

The mechanical connection between your first presale buyers and their friends can be as loose or as strict as you feel necessary. The confirmation email can include a special code for the friends-of-friends to use, or you can skip the code and just rely on a window of time for the second presale (“Buy before noon tomorrow!”). ThunderTix offers several social sharing features to help you sell more tickets!

3. Presales for Earlybirds

After two rounds of presales, should you have any inventory left, you can run a third presale that is for the general public, but they need to act fast. The same window of opportunity you offered the friends-of-friends can be re-purposed, at a later date, for the earlybirds. The third presale opens up for a short period, just like the first two, but no special codes or referrals are required - just buy now, buy a lot!

EarlyBird presales can help you fill your coffers with ticket sales dollars as soon possible. Another way to get as much money into the box office as quickly as possible is to use a ticketing software that makes nightly deposits.

Not only does ThunderTix make nightly deposits of your ticket sales dollars, we have the tools to run multiple presales, each with a unique name and pricing. Plus, our custom email confirmations are tailor made to ignite the “perpetual dynamo” of social sales that reward your buyers and help sell more tickets, sooner. Selling tickets online is easy with ThunderTix!