Should your group be using online ticketing?

Alex Scott from Keele Concert Society talks about his experience with online ticketing and overcoming his hesitation with using it:

At first I was not convinced that Keele Concerts Society needed to sell tickets on a website, but as more and more people are buying things online, particularly the younger generation we are all so desperate to attract to our concerts, I thought we would try for one season and see how it went. I am so glad we did as it has proved a very valuable addition to our box office.

It is simple to use and very efficient. The initial set-up is slightly time consuming and entering all the information every season takes a while, but the benefits of the service far outweigh either of these points. So, if you want to increase your ticket sales, then sign up immediately and take advantage of what WeGotTickets has to offer. It is free to promoters and those buying tickets in this way pay an additional 10% of the ticket price for the service, which is very reasonable considering what other organisations charge for online booking.

Benefits of online ticketing

  • Selling tickets online means that you can beat the weather! Online ticketing means that tickets can be sold far in advance of the event. If the weather is less than desirable on the day of the event your audience is more likely to stay at home. This means that your door sales and audience numbers will fall. If your audience has their ticket in advance they are more likely to brave the rain, and even if they don’t your box office takings will take less of a hit because you will already have the money for the ticket.
  • Websites are a 24 hour public facing information tool. This means that your audience can buy tickets at their convenience any time, any day, any time of year and not be tied to box office opening hours.
  • Makes your box office more streamlined. Selling your event via online ticketing means there is minimal responsibility of personnel for their time preceding the event as all of the ticketing is handled online. This saves you time. This is a major advantage for voluntary music groups who often sell their own tickets and not through a venue with a pre-existing box office system or with paid staff.
  • Online ticketing reduces box office queues. Making box office waiting times as efficient and quick as possible gives a reassuring and good impression to your audience. With online ticketing your audience has already paid for the ticket so all that is required is a tick off a list, rather than a monetary transaction at the desk. Also, there is no searching for actual tickets. It is far easier to tick a name off the list than to organise and find paper tickets.
  • You can sell tickets globally. Well, you may not want to sell your tickets on the other side of the world, but there is certainly worth and advantage in selling to the next village, town, city, county or part of the UK. The easier it is to sell tickets to potential audiences further afield, the more likely they are to come to your event. Using your online tickets as part of your marketing for your event will help to increase box office sales.
  • It minimises your box office administration. Each ticketing site allows you to get a report on total amount income for each event, number of tickets sold, how many, at what price etc, which is always good for your treasurer when doing the books! The money from your event is also automatically transferred to your bank account after the event (different online ticketing sites may vary so please check payment procedures and transfers with them directly), so it saves you a trip to the bank or carrying around potentially large amounts of cash after an event.

Things to consider

  • Do our booking fees put off the audience from booking online? Booking fees are a standard practice with online ticketing. However, whilst the booking fee may mean that your audience does pay a little bit more, it is a standard practice and comparatively not a great amount and it usually does not affect the number of tickets sold. Ticketing websites commonly give you the option to include the booking fee within the price of the ticket you are selling, i.e. the booking fee is included within the price of the ticket so the buyer does not see the booking fee. If you wish to do this it is best to check how this is done with whichever site you are planning to use, as different sites do this differently. Making Music has paired up with ticketing websites WeGotTickets and Ticketsource which offer exclusive deals to Making Music members regarding the booking fees - see our Discounts in the Resource library for more information. 
  • What if an audience member has a question? It is true that online ticketing does not have that personal touch. However, if the event information is comprehensively filled in, the number of queries will be greatly reduced. Ticketing websites usually give you an option to link to your website (and vice versa) if you wanted to leave contact details if any queries arise.
  • What if I/an audience member doesn’t have access to the internet? It is worth considering giving the responsibility for the ticketing and box office to someone who does have internet access. If audience members do not have access to the internet you can use online ticketing alongside a traditional box office. This will expand the ticket buying options for your audience without marginalising those who prefer a human being.

FAQs

  • How do I know which ticketing website is best for my group? There are many online ticket sellers that can help you. WeGotTickets and Ticketsource are two that have special rates for Making Music Members, but there are others out there, including EventbriteViagogoEventbee and TicketWeb. The best way for you to find out which ticketing site is best for you is to register as a client and have a click around. This way you can get a feel for the site and see how to use it before an event is published. Read the sites own FAQs above, which will also help you to make an informed decision.
  • What are the main differences between Ticketsource and WeGotTickets? In terms of features, there is little difference between Ticketsource and WeGotTickets. There are however, differences in their functionality. WeGotTickets is very user friendly, intuitive and simple and can take a matter of minutes for an event to be completed. Ticketsource asks more questions about your event in the first instance. For example: if you wanted the booking fee to be absorbed into the ticket price, both WeGotTickets and Ticketsource can do this. The difference being you will have to contact WeGotTickets to let them know what you want and they arrange it for you. With Ticketsource the option is there in the first instance. We highly recommend that you register as a client on both sites and have a play to find out which one would be right for you.
  • Help! I have entered the wrong information/ My event has been cancelled/ I’m stuck with publishing an event etc… All online ticketing sites have their own support line for their clients and are very friendly. If at any point there is something that you need assistance with, or you don’t know how to do something you can contact them directly. Look for links on the site to ‘contact us’ or ‘support’ to get help.
  • Does it cost an event organiser anything? It does not cost an event organiser anything to register or publish events online. The cost of using the service is given to the audience who are booking the tickets. This is the booking fee.
  • When do I get the takings? Each site is slightly different, but takings are usually passed onto the client by bank transfer or direct debit after the event. Have a look at the sites’ FAQ to find out the individual procedure.

Alternative ways to sell tickets

Whilst online ticketing is fast becoming the most popular way to sell tickets there are a few other options which may be available to you.

It is possible for a venue to sell tickets on your behalf (if you are performing in the venue or not): It may be that you are using a venue which has its own box office which has a combination of box office staff and their own online ticketing where they will handle the box office and taking for you.

A word of caution: Venues often take a percentage of the overall box office takings for your event if you are using their box office, but quite often this is open to negotiation. Remember to read the small print!
 


We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.