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by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: August 3, 2016


Traditionally, tickets for events such as concerts, games and festivals were sold through kiosks in restaurants and malls. This involved headaches for all invested parties: For organizers and promotion companies, it meant employing costly staff to perform manual ticketing and reservations. For customers, it meant wasting time standing in long lines.

Ticketing software was developed to address these challenges. And ticketing software has advanced with the times into our digital age. Tickets can essentially be bought or sold across any connected platform or digital channel. Needless to say, all the options on the market can make it a challenge to select the best ticketing system for your needs.

That’s why we have created this guide for users to make informed decision and purchase the right solution for their business based on personalized need.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Ticketing Software?
Common Functionality of Ticketing Software
Benefits of Ticketing Software
Pricing: Commission vs. Fixed
Key Considerations

What Is Ticketing Software?

Ticketing software helps organizations promote events and sell tickets for events. Depending on the software offerings, you can sell tickets across various channels, including:

  • Online
  • Mobile app
  • Box office
  • Kiosk
  • Social

Event ticketing software systems that support multiple sales channels (which are most systems on the market) offer features that correspond with each channel. These same features are tied to a common back end so that prices automatically update across all channels and customer profiles are able to be looked up across all channels.

Specific sales channels aside, the most common event ticketing software capabilities include:

Online point of sale: Enables event managers to list tickets for events. Includes ability to offer various packages and pricing tiers for tickets. Many online point of sale (POS) systems enable customers to use multiple payment methods, including credit/debit cards, PayPal, Google Wallet, and other alternative payment options. Often tied to the online POS interface is a breakdown of the event’s seating chart. This helps customers determine where they want to be seat and find tickets to match those seats.

Customer management: Operates as the marketing component of your event ticketing system. Enables various marketing automations, such as email reminders for annual events and personalized notifications based on customer indicated settings (i.e. favorite band coming to town). Supports and manages customer profiles so that customers can designate preferences and save payment and contact/shipping information.

Reporting and analytics: Offers transparency into every recordable facet of event sales, and marketing campaigns. Articulates data analysis into easily understandable reports and dashboards. Automates the gathering and analysis of data so that event managers can easily setup and monitor performance against defined metrics.

Most of these ticketing systems also include employee management capabilities like time clocking for event employees. Given the employee heavy nature that many of the ticketing systems are employed in, these employee management features come in handy.

This software can be used for a broad range of event and destination types, including:

  • Musical performances
  • Speaking events
  • Non-profit events
  • Comedy and theatrical performances
  • Social meetups
  • Museums
  • Tours and trips
  • Parks and tourist attractions
  • Sporting leagues and events

Common Functionality of Ticketing Software

The following capabilities are common to most event ticketing systems:

Branding Offers tools that help users create ticketing websites with custom branding and theme templates. CSS customization also allows control over the website interface.
Ticketing Facilitates mobile and online ticket booking through credit card and PayPal payments. Includes tools for multi-event ticketing; recurring ticketing for daily, weekly and monthly events; and managing venue capacity. Many systems offer mobile apps, allowing buyers to receive barcodes or links to tickets on their mobile device and event staff to scan mobile tickets.
Reporting Allows users to run reports analyzing various metrics related to event performance, such as traffic, visitors, mobile usage, conversion rates and ticket revenue.
Promotion Allows users to share custom event websites and promote their events on social media networks or via email.

Benefits of Ticketing Software

There are many benefits of adopting ticketing software, including:

Potential for increased sales and revenue. Customers don’t need to visit offices or stand in line to book or cancel tickets—they can do so 24/7 from their computer or mobile device. You can also send discounts and promotional offers to your customers via email or social media. All this increases your potential for sales.

Prompt feedback. Companies can receive quick feedback on their services through custom ticketing websites and social media sharing, then implement it in order to build better relationships with customers. These tools also enable users to start discussions and create buzz around their events.

Reduced employee and infrastructure costs. Since there’s no need to set up offices or pay salaries for ticketing staff, organizations can recognize huge savings in capital and operational costs.

Pricing: Commission vs. Fixed

There are two main pricing models for ticketing solutions. Select the one that gives you the best return on your investment:

Commission-based pricing. Many vendors follow a variable pricing model, in which they charge users based on the number of tickets sold or as a certain percentage of the ticket value. Vendors may also charge a small fixed service fee on a monthly or annual basis. (Typically, they do not charge anything for free events.)

Fixed pricing. Some vendors follow a fixed pricing model in which they charge a fixed monthly fee for up to a certain number of bookings. If this number is exceeded, the vendor may charge an additional amount depending on the number of extra bookings.

Key Considerations

Here are some important points to keep in mind as you search for new event ticketing software:

Commission percentages. Companies that choose systems with commission pricing must measure the impact on revenue. Commission percentages may appear small, but add up to a huge amount over time if the total sales volume or per-ticket value is high. On the other hand, commission pricing may prove helpful if your business is new and you’re not sure about the revenue ticket sales may generate.

Supported payment options. Buyers must ensure their system supports multiple payment options. More options may lead to more conversions, especially if you are competing with other event management companies for the same events.

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