Far from being simple topics, online event registration and ticketing play an essential role in the success (or failure!) of your event.Event organizers know that when attracting and winning over attendees, they need to consider both of these topics carefully and factor them into their event planning process.But here’s the thing, nailing online event registration and ticketing is not without its complications. Should event planners use an online platform and if so, which is best? Are they all the same? What features are offered by different platforms and are they worth the cost?Fortunately, we’ve got the answers to your questions!This Ultimate Guide to Online Event Registration and Ticketing will tell you everything you need to know about not only registration and ticketing but also how to choose a platform, how to price your event, and how to pull all of this information together to sell out your next event!
Before we get any deeper into this guide, we need to make sure that we all understand the terms being used. What exactly are online event registration and ticketing?
Online registration is any process in which users input their information to participate in an event or activity.Online registration typically involves an actual event -- physical or online, but it doesn’t have to have an event attached to it. Registration can be used for a mailing list sign-ups, for discount codes, or for special offers.Generally speaking, the information shared during online registration will include standard personal details like name and contact information. Depending on the registration form and the purpose, it may be necessary to include other details like date of birth and occupation.
Event ticketing is a lot like event registration except there is always an event attached to the process.As with registration, users will input basic information when purchasing their tickets. This will include, name, contact info, and any appropriate custom fields.Once the payment and/or registration is processed, users will receive a digital or physical ticket (sometimes both).
In this day and age, it just makes sense to move event registration and ticketing online. Given that so much of our daily lives is conducted online, why wouldn’t you also conduct your business online?Using paper registration forms and physical tickets can cause more complications than they are worth. Technology will not only make life easier for event management, but it will also improve the attendee experience.The benefits of online registration and ticketing include:
Now that you fully understand the what and the why of online event registration and ticketing, it’s time to look at the things you should consider when choosing a registration and ticketing platform.
As with most things in the online world, there is no shortage of registration and ticketing tools available to planners and organizers. But how do you know which are best, and more importantly, how do you know one is best for you?All tools have a purpose and some platforms will address some needs better than others.To make sure you find the ticketing and registration solution that is most appropriate for you, here are some questions you need to ask:What is the pricing structure?For most people, price is the first consideration when comparing two similar products. And price is likely where you will see the most variation.Typically, registration and ticketing platforms break down pricing using one (or a combination of) the following:
These pricing options may seem straightforward but the way providers implement and apply them can vary greatly.For example, some providers will charge a small flat fee (or none at all) but take a large percentage of the ticket sale amount. Other providers will charge a higher flat fee but not take a percentage at all.Once you fully understand a provider’s service fees and fee structure, you can then begin to determine whether or not the costs fit into your event budget.But before you move forward with any platform make sure you have all the information you need regarding credit card processing fees. Because the bulk of your transactions will be taking place online, the majority of sales will be charged to credit cards, incurring processing fees. Always ask about any associated credit card fees when assessing potential providers.
“Fee responsibility” refers to the party that will ultimately pay the online registration and/or ticketing fees charged by the provider.There are two ways this could go:
It is incredibly important to understand both of these options.In the first scenario, the host organization will cover all fees. While the individual fees may not seem like much, they can accumulate quickly and become a very significant cost.In the second scenario, the fees will be absorbed by event attendees when they purchase tickets or register to attend. Choosing this option means that the cost of the software tools will be next to free for you or the host organization.The ability to pass fees on to the buyer can be a significant advantage, particularly to small organizations or non-profits.Now that some of the cost considerations are out of the way, it’s time to consider some of the primary customizations and features you should be looking for in registration and ticketing software!
Flexibility is key when it comes to creating an event that suits both your organization’s brand and the needs of your audience.The ability to customize ticket types will help you tailor the ticketing software to your specific requirements.Common ticket types and ticket customizations include:
If you are even remotely considering offering ‘early bird’ tickets or tickets with different access levels, this will be a valuable function so be sure not to overlook this capability when selecting a platform.
One of the most important steps you can take to promote your event brand and get the most from your event marketing strategy is to create an event website.Selling people on your event involves carefully planned branding that not only speaks to a specific audience but details who you are and what you’re all about. Branding (when done properly) allows you to tell a story and to create connections.To make this process as easy for you as possible, look for a ticketing platform that allows you the right level of customization when building a registration or event page.In terms of webpage customization, here are some features to look for:
Any information you collect on your registrants is incredibly valuable.This data can help you track their donation habits but it also gives you their contact information so you can segment your attendee list and create communications and marketing strategies that speak directly to them. Keeping this audience deeply engaged with your brand increases the chances that they will participate in future events hosted by the brand.The audience data that is most important to you may not be even remotely relevant or significant to a different organization. So, to get what you need, you require customized information fields.Almost all registration and ticketing providers will collect the basics -- name and email address; which is great but you may require more.Some additional fields you need may include:
Anyone who has ever attended or hosted an event knows that event check-in can be a little hairy. Online registration and ticketing can help you streamline the check-in process -- assuming your provider has the right features. And if they do, you’ll be amazed at how painless check-in can actually be.Look for:
Depending on the type of event you are planning or hosting, it might be necessary to have an online registration software and/or ticketing platform that offers integration with other platforms and tools.For example, you might want an integration with your email management software or your specific payment processing app.There are two types of integrations that can be extremely useful to event planners who are working on fundraising events. These integrations can help you significantly boost your fundraising totals:
If a platform has strong customer support, you can breathe a little easier. Not only will you have the assistance you may need when setting up your event, but 24/7 support can also help you out during the event as well.Look for a provider that provides around-the-clock customer support through live chat or phone.
Now that you know what to look for an online event registration and ticketing platform, it’s time to put it to use.Before you open registration or start selling tickets online, you need to determine a pricing strategy.The right pricing strategy is essential for generating revenue, but how exactly do you find that *just right* strategy?The most common pricing strategies are:
While these may be common strategies, they are not optimal. Instead, try a strategy that includes both perceived value and accurate cost assumptions to find the correct price per ticket.The perceived value for your event will be the value that guests expect to receive from attending your event. The factors that help determine perceived value include amusement levels, entertainment, the good feelings that come from donating, and the pure joy of a night out with friends, family and/or community.Potential guests will not pay for tickets that are beyond the perceived value of their experience so be sure to think about this objectively We know this event may be the focus of your entire year, but it could hold less significance for guests.When it comes to evaluating costs, you will find they typically come in two forms -- fixed and variable.
If you can accurately estimate your costs, you can be much more efficient and profitable in your pricing.Once you have determined cost estimates and perceived value, you can lock in your pricing. The goal is to find the sweet spot that is higher than your costs but below your perceived value.
Here are a few tips that can help you optimize your pricing strategy:
You’ve chosen a registration software/online ticketing provider, you’ve set your ticket prices, and you’re in the final stretch! Now it’s time to get selling!
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is real. If you can creatively and effectively evoke FOMO in your audience, your event will go viral and in all likelihood, sell out.Some of the ways you can create FOMO is by creating ticket tiers (as covered above) and/or by displaying the number of tickets available and the number of tickets sold. This helps to create a sense of urgency in your guests’ purchase.The majority of ticketing platforms will allow you to monitor your sales numbers internally but the best providers will also include the option to display the number of tickets left for each ticket type. This number gives your audience a live count of the tickets remaining and can drive sales by prompting concern and fears of missing out completely if tickets aren’t purchased immediately.
Online event registration and online ticketing enable you to collect contact information from all guests -- past and present. This data can serve as a valuable tool in preparing for your next event.If you have organized successful past events, your prior guests will become your best advocates in promoting your current event.One effective approach in leveraging past attendees and supporters is to begin by inviting only your closest friends and family, and strongest supporters, to purchase tickets. Solidifying your ticket-buyer base with individuals that you know will attend your event can build momentum and create a sense of exclusivity. These initial sales will look good to any outside people visiting your ticketing page.It is also a good idea to create a Facebook Event. People who have purchased tickets can mark themselves as “Attending,” which will help generate FOMO and drive additional ticket sales.
When preparing to launch your event marketing campaign, don’t forget your event management staff, your event committee, and your volunteers.These groups of people are already fully on board with your event and feel strongly about it. Tap into their passion by asking them to promote your event among their personal networks. This can instigate momentum and create a little buzz. The result? A rush on early ticket sales!
Social media is a powerful way to promote events and sell tickets.A simple place to start is with a Facebook Event page. This page can act as a central hub, allowing you and your committee members to invite supporters to follow. As more people follow the page, your social footprint will grow increasing brand recognition and driving sales.Using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter is the perfect way to communicate updates to your audience and registered attendees. You can share teasers for your event, drive scarcity by announcing the number of tickets left, and even share current fundraising tallies!Social media channels are also a great way to manage your marketing campaign. These channels will allow you to run targeted ads (at a low cost!) helping you to reach the people who are likely to be most interested in attending your event. Your social media ads should include a strong call to action and images that support your brand and message.Some other criteria to consider when creating targeted ads include:
Obviously, you don’t want to give away too many tickets -- you need to protect those profits, but a ticket giveaway can be a cost-effective and engaging strategy for increasing ticket sales.Through a giveaway, you can motivate guests and potential ticket buyers to carry out a task, or series of tasks, in exchange for the chance to win a ticket to your event.Tasks can include:
These tasks not only encourage audience participation, but they also help increase your reach and brand awareness while creating a sense of fun and community through active participation.
Sure, promoting your event is a no-brainer, but have you actually taken the time to map out all of the different ways you can do this?To help get the juices flowing (and make life easier), we’ve put together a handy list of event marketing strategies and promotion ideas. From choosing a cool venue to selling tickets online, our list will help!-----Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of our online registration and event ticketing guide! You now have all the information you need to begin planning your next event. While the registration process and ticket sales can feel complicated and a little overwhelming at times, this guide, coupled with a platform like Accelevents, can help find the success you are after!
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