Online ticketing is an important tool and worth considering as part of your event ticketing options. Online ticketing can help secure pre-bookings (peace of mind), allow customers to book 24/7 and also capture customer data, which will help develop audiences for future events.

Changing your audience buying behaviour does require time and should be tested over a number of events and if possible a number of years. To encourage online bookings you may like to use incentives such as offering discount online pricing vs door pricing, access to premium seating or merchandise upgrades (eg free CD with all online bookings).

There are a huge number of ticketing platforms from suppliers such as Tessitura, Seat Advisor and Enta, these are traditionally used by major venues with complex ticketing needs and a software licensing budget. There are also simple more cost effective alternatives perfect for smaller events looking for a simple solution.

Here’s two platforms we’ve tried. We created an event in each so you can also compare the customer experience as well.

Trybooking

Trybooking is the most cost effective ticketing platform we’ve come across and is often used by non-profits for this reason. Trybooking have recently updated the event build functionality so it’s more streamlined, however there are still some clunky parts. Some changes are not universal so you need to double check updates once your event is live. The system doesn’t automatically bring across key info such as the event date to the home page so you have to add some of this detail manually.

Trybooking allows for allocated seating, has group booking functionality (eg family ticket) and you can clone an event so you are not starting from scratch each time.

From the customer’s perspective (view our test event), booking a ticket is relatively easy although there is a bit of duplication with entering information. The event homepage is simple, clear and includes basic information.

What does it cost?

  • Service Fee 30 cents per ticket (customer pays)
  • Credit Card Fee 2.1% plus 50 cents per transaction (Seller pays)
  • No fees for free events

For example if you are selling 100 tickets at $20 you can expect to to receive the following income.

Per ticket: Attendee pay $20.90 / You receive $19.08
Total: Attendee pay $2,090 / You receive $1,908

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is more expensive than Trybooking however the investment does pay off. The event build is more intuitive with an easy to navigate platform, useful booking summaries and template questions which makes event builds faster and removes room for error. Eventbrite also offers a host of promotional tools such as Facebook publishing and email invitations and the ability to customise your event URL. Eventbrite has recently introduced reserved seating.

From the customer’s perspective (view our test event), the event page is clean with a contemporary design including all the key info plus a venue map on one page. Customers can duplicate their own details to speed up the booking process.

What does it cost?

  • You can choose to absorb ticketing fees or pass them on to the customer
  • Service Free 2.5% plus 99 cents per ticket
  • Payment processing fee 2%
  • No fees for free events

For example if you are selling 100 tickets at $20 you can expect to to receive the following income.

You absorb the fee
Per booking: Attendee pay $20 / You receive $18.11
Total: Attendee pay $2,000 / You receive $1,811

Customer absorbs the fees
Per ticket: Attendee pay $21.89 / You receive $20
Total: Attendee pay $2,189 / You receive $2,000

Both Trybooking and Eventbrite allow you to take bookings over the phone or in person and enter the booking through the dashboard. They both collect audience data and run event reports that can be exported it to excel.