Ten compelling reasons to sell ALL tickets online. Number 6 and 8 are particularly important.
Here, based on our experience, are compelling reasons why you should sell your tickets online. In the case of events, to sell all tickets online. In the case of visitor attractions, to actively encourage and incentivise online bookings.
#1 The simplicity of booking: Purchasing Tickets online is now second nature to almost everyone. It’s simple, stress-free, and it’s instant in the case of tickets. It’s how flights, cruises, and most hotels are booked, and lots more besides. Selling tickets online through a well-developed system is professional, visually pleasing, and builds trust with your targetted audience. We still get an occasional comment from visitor attractions and organisers that 'some of our customers are not technology-savvy’. In these exceptional cases, there is always someone who can make the booking on their behalf. Always selling your tickets online quickly tunes your customers into expecting you to do so for all events.
#2 Distribution reach 24/7: Once your tickets are online, they can be purchased by anyone, anywhere, instantly, 24/7. All you need to do is ensure you promote your event or attraction effectively – and get your message out there. Occasionally, we still see tickets being distributed offline through networks. It’s typically inefficient, time-consuming, creates a lot of unnecessary administrative work, and can have security implications if cash is being handled. It can also result in customer grievances, e.g. if someone misses out or feels they were not informed in time and so were not provided with the opportunity to book.
#3 It's democratic, and avoids ‘plea’ and ‘conflict’ phone calls: Selling your tickets online means everyone has an equal opportunity to book the event. It stops ‘plea calls’ coming in for tickets and removes the potential for conflict. Plus, if you do want to strategically advantage a certain group, e.g. ‘members’ or ‘facebook followers’ you can give them a 'first to book' opportunity by providing them with a link to the tickets in advance of them going on sale to the general public (we can provide the link).
#4 Saves time, hassle, and administration: Selling online means there is no need to accept phone call bookings or credit card payment by phone (and the associated security exposure in doing so). There is also no need to handle and record all the data or deal with allocation issues which can be time-consuming and may require call-backs or other customer engagement. Our online ticketing system resolves all this.
#5 Security (no cash): With online ticketing, there is no need for customers to carry cash or for money to be collected at the door, which can have security implications.
#6 IMPORTANTLY, online bookings are better for event preparation – no surprises: When you sell online, you know how bookings are going in real time. If bookings are slow, you will know you need to increase your promotion of the event. If it’s booking well, you’ll know exactly how many are planning to attend. In this way, you can appropriately staff for the event and will know the extent of the services you need to provide – from car parking to refreshments. You’ll even know the composition of the attendees which is very useful for certain events like, for instance, Santa or Easter Egg Hunts where you may need to know the number of children and toddlers to estimate the number of gifts or easter eggs required.
#7 Planning Blind (aka 'at the door' ticketing): ‘At the door' ticketing means you will have no idea what's going to happen until the doors open. Imagine that! You'll have no idea of the event attendance levels, or how to staff for it, or the services you need to provide for. You risk embarrassment and losses if very few attend and annoyance and anger if there are queues or crowding or if you have to turn people away.
#8 Buying Tickets Online is a commitment to attend or to visit: Customers are far more likely to attend if they have pre-purchased a ticket. If they don’t pre-purchase, because tickets are available at the door, then they can leave their decision to visit until the day of the event. If the weather is poor, or if there are other competing events or distractions, then they don’t need to turn up – they have no ticket, so they are not ‘invested’ in attending. This is true for events, and even more so for visitor attractions. We know that close to 80% of visitors never get to the attraction they were planning to visit – a factor of time, sometimes weather, and often get distracted by the opportunity to visit other attractions. If they pre-buy their tickets they are far more likely to visit.
#9 Mixed messages – 'buy tickets online OR at the door': We sometimes see this mixed message on posters! We don't think this is a good idea. It suggests to potential customers that the event is unlikely to book out (perhaps it's not a great event!) and that there is no urgency to book. Therefore, customers will be relaxed about booking and may wait until the day to decide because they are not 'invested' in attending. Then both points #7 and #8 above come into play! Instead, sell all your tickets online and, if they have not sold out, message on the day that some tickets are available at the door.
#10 You gather valuable insights and opt-in communication lists: With online booking, you can gather useful information that can inform future planning. You will get some understanding of the profile of those attending your events or visitor attraction - depending on the information asked and completed. You will know, for instance, the source market (country) of the booker. You will also see the mix of attendees, e.g. Adults, Seniors, Students, Children and Families. In addition, you will have a useful contact list for future events, provided you ask them if they would like to opt-in to hear from you about future events and only communicate with those who opt-in.
At My Top Tickets, we've learned a lot about ticketing because we work WITH event organisers and attractions. We are always happy to share our views with our clients.