Understanding and Determining Event Ticket Prices

Few things are harder than coming up with the price you should charge people for event tickets. You can display the price any way you want, but in the end, the consumer will decide if they buy, regardless of how you price.

Most ticketing systems, like Attendstar, allow you to display the ticket prices any way you want. The question is -- what are the pros and cons for coming up with the event ticket price? Then, you can decide how to display that price to the consumer.

The challenge is that there are so many factors that come into play with calculating and displaying ticket prices. Should you include fees in the price? Should you charge the same price to people who buy tickets online as you do to people who buy tickets offline? What if people buy tickets at the door? Do they pay the same price or will you offer early bird pricing to encourage people to buy as early as pricing (hint: I highly recommend this).

You can follow the link to learn more about pricing strategies and setting your base ticket price. Here, I want to focus on whether or not you should include fees in your ticket price.

Fees - To Include or Not To Include, That is the Question

Here is a list of options you could consider to set prices on a $20.00 ticket based on a 3% credit card fee:

Option 1

$20.00 ticket + $1.50 in ticket fees = $21.50 to consumer

Option 2

$20.00 ticket + $1.50 in ticket fees + $0.65 in credit card fees = $22.15 to consumer

Option 3

$20.00 ticket + $1.50 in ticket fees + $0.65 in credit card fees + $0.50 in sales taxes and any venue related fees = $22.65 to consumer

Option 4

$22.65 ticket with all fees built into ticket price. In other words, $22.65 is the only price the consumer knows.


Now, let's take a look at what usually happens when you choose each of these ticket price options:

Typical Outcomes When Using Options 1 - 3

  • You'll answer more phone calls with consumers asking where to buy tickets to avoid the fees.
  • You may need to print and ship hard copy tickets to outlets.
  • You'll need to make phone calls to ticket outlets each week and obtain ticket counts.
  • You must collect and balance money from outlets.
  • You will be unable to obtain consumers' email addresses for further marketing.
  • You'll need a plan if a consumer loses a ticket.
  • If a consumer is not on your social share marketing plan, then what?
  • If one ticket outlet runs out of tickets, that could start the rumor that the event is sold out. You need a plan to stop those false rumors.
  • Once the concert is over, there is no post event Survey opportunity to improve your future events.
  • Consumer frustration will happen. For example, when a family of three buys tickets expecting to pay a total of $60 and the actual amount they have to pay is higher.

Typical Outcomes When Using Option 4

  • The advertised price is the same as final price, so you avoid confusion and consumer frustration on price.
  • If a ticket buyer loses a ticket, the ticket can be resent to the buyer.
  • You get the ticket buyer's information, so he or she is now part of your online social marketing plan.
  • Post event surveys can be sent to accumulate invaluable information.
  • No outlet will run out of tickets, which stops the sold out rumor from starting.
  • You don't have to print any hard copy tickets.
  • You don't have to ship hard copy tickets.
  • You don't have to call stores each week for ticket counts.
  • You don't have to balance or collect money on the day of the show.
  • Consumers are happy that the advertised price is the actual price they pay.
  • You'll get fewer phone calls asking where people can buy tickets to avoid paying fees.

Which Ticket Price Do You Choose?

As an event manager, your biggest fear is not selling enough tickets. That is certainly a valid fear! You might hear things like, "This age group doesn't like to buy online," or "Not everyone has a computer or email address."  The reality is, there is always a way to get tickets from a family or friend; most of these people have flown on Southwest or shopped on Amazon. It's 2017 and people buy everything online these days, including tickets to events.

Here's another idea. Make your tickets at the outlets $22.65 (like in the above example) as a test to see what happens.

If you need help selling event tickets and setting ticket prices, give me a call (615-823-1164) or use the Contact Us Form.