The holiday season typically inspires feelings of goodwill and a desire to give back to others. Sometimes, that goodwill can manifest itself in a desire to knit scarves for orphans, donate canned goods to a food pantry, or attend a $75-a-plate dinner served by men in swan costumes. As the holidays are also prime social time, many of us choose the latter approach for our holiday giving, meaning that event organizers large and small have a lot of work on their hands, and a fundamental factor in that work is ticketing, which entails a logistical firestorm of promotion, sales, distribution and validation. Unfortunately, services like Ticketmaster and Stubhub charge massive service charges to both organizers and attendees, and there are often very high minimums, prohibitive for smaller events, especially ones that hope to actually raise money. Fortunately, there are several services offering highly customizable ticketing options for a range of events, allowing organizers to focus less on the hassle of ticketing, and more on creating a great experience for a group of like-minded people.
Geared toward nonprofits, Ticketbud makes it easy and cheap for organizers to sell tickets without going through a major entity like Ticketmaster. Founded in Austin 2009, Ticketbud initially began as a small project to help a local charity sell tickets to an event. Its simple pricing structure (2% plus $0.99 per ticket) and straightforward interface make it easy for organizers to create an event, collect money, and sell and validate tickets. The service also offers an analytics dashboard for easy event management, so you can keep track of important figures like ticket sales and social sharing. Ticketbud is a great, low-cost, no-hassle option for any kind of event, from small, intimate shows to large gatherings.
This fall, ticketing service Eventbrite unveiled Eventbrite Neon, an app aimed at making event organizers’ lives easier. Neon allows organizers to use any iOS device as a “mobile box office”, meaning that you can sell tickets, track sales and check in customers within the app interface. In-app analytics help you keep track of all data to keep your event running smoothly. Eventbrite typically charges 2.5% plus $0.99 per ticket as a service fee, but as of posting, for a limited time, organizers using Eventbrite Neon can waive the service fee (while still paying 3% service charge for credit cards).
Ticketleap was founded in 2003 to help smaller events sell more tickets for less money. With Ticketleap, event organizers can create a custom event page for their event, encouraging social sharing across channels. Like the other services, Ticketleap offers mobile check-in services to streamline your event, and also offers something called “Selfie Ticket”, which means that the ticket holder downloads the Ticketleap app and takes a selfie, generating a “Selfie Ticket”, which the attendee uses to get in (in lieu of a boring, normal ticket). Ticketleap charges a service fee of 2% plus $1.00 per ticket.
Focused heavily on event discovery, Ticketfly offers strong social media integrations, allowing potential event goers to discover events and purchase tickets with their Facebook login credentials. Organizers can also sell tickets directly from their Facebook page, so attendees can purchase tickets without leaving the Facebook interface. Ticketfly also has a wide affiliate network that organizers can leverage to promote their event, giving them a broader pool of potential ticket buyers (which may not be hugely helpful for hyperlocal, specific events). The service also offers a host of analytics tools to help you track ticket sales, social shares and event website traffic. Pricing depends on ticket volume and isn’t listed on the Ticketfly website.
Of course, not all event organizers will require super detailed analytics or “Selfie Tickets” to run their event smoothly, but the great thing about all these services is that they operate on the principle that events are important because people and experiences matter. Events are an old-school form of engagement and connection that predate any kind of marketing metric. These services understand that, and are great, lightweight alternatives to Ticketmaster’s offerings.