With so much time to stop and think at the moment, you might be planning to have a look at how your amateur theatre group works. One thing that comes up time and time again is selling tickets online. Is this something you’re already doing? Or is it something you’re looking into? Either way, hopefully this blog will help spell out some of the things you’ll need and some of the companies who can help you make the most of it.
If you’re not yet considering selling tickets online, you definitely should be. Most groups who sell online increase their ticket sales, increase the amount of money coming in via tickets and significantly decrease the amount of admin strain on the ticketing team for the group.
What will I need to sell tickets online?
Here’s a handy checklist of everything you’ll need to sell your tickets online:
- A bank account – you’ll need somewhere to deposit the ticket earnings into digitally. It’s preferable to use a separate bank account for the group as a whole so that ticket finances don’t get mixed in with personal monies.
- A ticketing platform – this is a website which will be at the core of the way you sell your tickets online (see below for recommended examples)
- Payment processor – your payment processor will handle the card payments and make sure they get from the ticketing platform direct to your bank account. There are nominal fees for using these processors. I’d recommend Stripe or Paypal who offer industry leading payment processing services and integrate with most popular ticketing platforms.
- A website – while this is not an essential addition, ideally you’d need a website for your group (www.groupnamehere.co.uk) where you can direct people towards. You will then either embed or link to your ticketing platform from there.
Step 1 – Decide on your ticketing platform
There are lots of ticketing platforms out there to pick from. Each one has a variety of fees, and features for you to look at. Here’s my round up of three options I would consider:
This is a platform I’ve had personal experience of using and I can highly recommend it. The reason why I liked it so much, is that the pricing is simple and easy to understand. You can choose to pay on a per-ticket-sold basis, or with a variety of levels of set monthly payments. You can also ‘switch off’ your plan when you’re not selling tickets which can really save you money. Ticket Tailor has a very customisable box office which you can either link to directly, or embed into a website with basic HTML code.
Ticket tailor is the best platform I’ve come across for the balance between cost and features. Of course, you can download all your ticket data to interrogate it further if you need more information on your audience and purchasing statistics. The big feature which I’d say is missing is the ability to create a seating plan. So if you wanted to sell your tickets this way, it is best to either choose events which don’t have specified seating, or section up areas of the audience by ticket type. You can see a full list of their features here.
This is probably the most popular platform amongst amateur theatre groups and even some professional venues. It’s a fairly outdated system but it’s reliable and has a good level of customisation for groups of all sizes. They have a simple per-ticket pricing structure and a handy calculator tool on their website to help you work out how much it will cost.
One of ticket source’s big selling points is that it does have a seating plan feature. They also offer a variety of ticket delivery methods including wristbands and scanners for your venue team. You can see full details of the features here.
Ticket Pass is a platform that believes in ticketing being done differently. It’s an ethical ticketing platform and this is their main selling point. They offer free tickets for free events and a simple percentage based pricing structure which involves a booking fee that then gets split between the platform and good causes around the world that support people in need.
If you want to make a difference by picking this provider, you can see how it works and find out more about their pricing and features here.
NB – I would advise you not to setup an event using Eventbrite – this is because their fees tend to be quite expensive, and they are not set up as well for theatrical events as other providers.
Step 2 – Pick your payments provider
Your payments provider is how the money gets from the ticket booker’s card to your bank account. These providers integrate with your ticketing platforms creating a tunnel for that money to be received in your account. Here’s a couple of the most popular:
Stripe are a payments provider who pride themselves on great payments analytics and integrating with lots of popular platforms in all sectors of the online selling economy.
Paypal is the most popular payments provider in the world, with world leading technology. Most customers will be used to using PayPal for a variety of online platforms like Ebay and Asos.
Step 3 – Setup your event and start marketing your show
Once you’ve got your platforms setup, you can start to market your show. Embed the ticket selling module into your website using HTML code, or link directly to your ticketing provider to sell your tickets. Make sure you put the box office information on your poster (if you need a poster template, take a look at my professional templates here for your use) and share it everywhere with details of the show.