Choosing the best online ticketing service is critical to the success of your event. Whether you’re organizing a small event or a large, multi-day festival or air show, if you’re not using the best online ticketing service, you could lose ticket sales. That’s a risk you don’t want to take!
Therefore, before you select an online ticketing platform for your event, make sure you ask any provider you’re considering the following 12 questions. Not all ticketing providers are the same, and the biggest or most well-known brand doesn’t always equal the best.
1. What is the setup process and how long does it take?
First, if the ticketing provider charges a fee for you to get set up on their platform, walk away. There are too many options that require no setup fee for you to pay for setup! The best online ticketing service will offer a quick and easy setup process, so if you want, you can start selling tickets on the same day you sign up for an account.
Some online ticketing providers will set your event up for you if you ask them to. Just be careful to choose a provider that doesn’t charge additional fees to set your event up for you. For example, AttendStar will set your event up for you at no charge and tickets can be available for sale within just a few hours.
2. Do you offer training or setup help?
If you’re not technically savvy, then this is a critical question. You need to be confident that help will be available as you’re setting up your account, event, ticket sales page, ticket options, and more. What kind of online support documentation does the ticketing provider offer? Is it easy to quickly get answers to your questions about the system? Are there training videos on the provider’s website? Do they offer webinars to walk people through processes and answer questions?
What if you need more help? Does the provider offer online chat, email support, or telephone support? How quickly do they respond to your help requests? You should choose a ticketing provider who is available to help you when you need it.
3. Can I sell tickets offline?
If you want to be able to sell tickets online and offline, it’s very important that the online ticketing service you choose can help you sell through both channels. Using two different ticketing providers can be a logistical nightmare! Look for a ticketing provider like AttendStar that can not only sell tickets online for you but also print tickets for offline sales.
4. What types of tickets can I sell?
Ask each ticketing company what types of tickets you can sell through their system. For example, you might want to sell ticket bundles, upgraded tickets that include unique benefits, tickets with special discounts, tickets that include merchandise or add-ons like food or drink vouchers, buy one get one free tickets, and more. This is especially important if you want to sell reserved seating as not all ticketing companies sell reserved seat tickets. If your provider doesn’t allow you to sell all of the types of tickets you need, your sales and revenue could suffer.
5. How do I scan tickets at the door or gate?
For ticket scanning at the door or gate on the day of your event, the best online ticketing service will offer a mobile app for checking tickets at small events and high-speed scanners for large events. The mobile app should be free for you to use while expensive high-speed scanners will typically require a rental fee.
6. What do you charge and who pays for it?
Every online ticketing service needs to have a way to make money or they can’t stay in business. You need to ask how you’re charged and who pays for any charges related to your ticket sales, so you know how it could affect your income. Some ticketing providers charge a flat fee per ticket sold while others charge a percentage of the ticket price. Read the fine print on each provider’s website and ask their salesperson for details.
7. How do my customers buy from my ticket sales page?
Always check which types of payments the ticketing provider accepts from your ticket buyers. Make sure people can buy tickets by credit card. Another feature you should use that increases ticket sales is guest checkout from your ticket sales page. Therefore, make sure your ticketing provider offers guest checkout functionality.
With guest checkout, people don’t have to create an account to buy tickets from your ticket sales page. They just type in their email address, select their tickets, and pay. People who want to take the time to create an account should be allowed to do so, but for those people who want a quick and easy way to buy, include a guest checkout option.
8. How and when do I get paid?
If you can’t get paid quickly for the tickets you’ve sold, then you might not be able to cover the expenses required to hold your event. Ask every ticketing provider you consider using how often they pay you and how your payments will be sent to you. For example, if a provider only pays once per month, you’ll need to wait 30 days between payments. The ticketing provider could be holding a lot of your money that you could be using to pay vendors, invest in marketing, and so on.
Furthermore, if a ticketing provider pays you by check, you’ll need to wait for the check to be cut, delivered via mail, deposited into your bank account, and cleared by your bank before you can access it. Each of these steps adds days that could matter a lot when you have suppliers waiting to be paid by you.
9. What customer service is available to me and my buyers?
In addition to setup support, you also need to know that the online ticketing service you choose will offer you support while you’re tickets are on sale. What happens if there are problems with your ticket sales page? Can you contact the ticketing provider and get help to fix the problem? How quickly do they respond? The answers to these questions matter when you only have a short period of time to sell tickets!
Also, your online ticketing service should provide customer service support to your ticket buyers. What if a ticket buyer has trouble placing an order, wants to change the type of ticket they purchased, or needs to get a refund? Choose a ticketing provider who will handle those calls for you, so you don’t have to do it yourself.
Believe it or not, the time spent handling these customer service calls adds up quickly – particularly the closer your event date is. AttendStar has conducted multiple studies and found that the number of phone calls leading up to an event skyrockets during the week before the event. Between eight days and one day prior to an event, call volume for large outdoor events typically jumps by 1,000% to 3,000%. You should be using your time to organize the event, not to answer calls about ticketing issues.
10. Can I customize my ticket sales page?
A generic ticket sales page does nothing to help you sell more tickets to your event. Instead, you need a customized ticket sales page that makes people excited about your event and convinces them to buy tickets. Choose an online ticketing service that offers the 20 critical features of a great ticket sales page such as custom graphics, a frequently asked questions section, an area for social media links, an opt-in form, and more.
Your ticketing service should also provide sales features built into your ticket sales page and account like integrated email marketing, automated reminders, and so on. Finally, make sure your ticketing provider offers advanced reporting (see #11) so you can track your sales, and confirm that you can edit your ticket sales page at any time to improve your sales results.
11. What happens to my customers’ information?
The best online ticketing service offers secure ticket sales functions, so your customers’ data is always safe. Furthermore, pay close attention to how your ticketing provider uses the information your ticket buyers provide when they purchase tickets to your event.
Some ticketing services use your customers’ data for their own marketing and others share or sell it to their other ticketing customers or to third parties. Choose a ticketing service like AttendStar that keeps your customers’ information secure and never shares it with anyone or uses it for any kind of marketing purposes.
12. What kind of marketing help do you offer?
The best online ticketing service offers two kinds of marketing support to help you sell more tickets and organize a successful event: marketing features built into the ticketing platform and a team of marketing professionals to develop and implement event marketing programs for you.
For example, AttendStar offers a variety of email marketing features, such as Ticket Buyer Buzz and Remind Me, within its software. In addition, AttendStar makes it easy to track and run remarketing, online advertising, and retargeting campaigns, among other things. If you need help from marketing pros, AttendStar has a marketing team to help you boost your results with innovative marketing campaigns.
13. Can I send a post-event survey?
Post-event surveys are essential to help you hold better events in the future. The best online ticketing service makes it easy for you to quickly send a custom survey to all of your ticket buyers after your event. You can ask what they liked and didn’t like about your event, so you can make improvements for future events that you organize.
The results will be collected by the ticketing provider and made available for you directly within the ticketing platform. Make sure you can download the data in case you want to slice and dice the numbers!
14. What reporting do you offer?
Reporting is critical to your event’s success. You need to be able to track your sales over time, by day, by ticket type, by referral source, and more. The ticketing platform you choose should allow you to view your data in spreadsheets and charts, and you should be able to download your data, too. The platform should also make it easy for you to track and analyze key performance indicators such as traffic metrics, marketing metrics, and sales metrics.
The best online ticketing service offers more than just ticket sales data. Choose a provider that integrates your ticket sales data with your Google Analytics data, Google AdWords data, Facebook advertising data, AdRoll advertising data, and more. When you can integrate your data, you can see which of your marketing efforts drove the best results. Ultimately, this helps you improve your marketing budget and investments for future events.
15. How are you different from other ticketing companies?
Always end your conversation with every online ticketing service by asking how they’re different from other ticketing companies. Look for responses related to the actual software as well as customer service, technical, and marketing support.
Keep in mind, some ticketing providers go above and beyond simple ticket sales if you need additional support to maximize your event results. For example, AttendStar offers logistical support for parking, event entry, and more as well as an on-the-ground team at your event. These extra services aren’t offered by many ticketing companies but could make the difference in holding a successful event.
Your Next Steps to Find the Best Online Ticketing Service
There are many benefits to choosing the best online ticketing service, so don’t pick a ticketing provider because you know other event planners who use it or because you’ve heard of the company before. Instead, do your research and choose the best online ticketing service for you, your ticket buyers, and your event.
You have options, and with a bit of due diligence, you’ll be able to make the right decision. Remember, the success of your event depends on it!